The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> MODERATOR: If everyone would take their seats, we're going to start in one minute.
Welcome, everybody, to the panel, on flooring demand side drivers of Internet adoption. We're delighted to have you here. We would like to let you know a couple administrative matters. You should feel free to join at the table and if you have questions you can use these microphones. We will be all at this end of the room, so I would encourage you to sit towards this end of the room as well. The second thing this is part of a combination with the second panel following us which is all about data collection and that will be moderated by our colleagues. This is designed to be together. So even though this panel is scheduled written on the schedule to run from 10:45 to 11:45, we will run directly to noon and we will start the noon panel and immediately after that. But that will give us more time for discuss. I understand of course if you need to stand up and leave at 11:45, we understand that would be perfectly okay with the panelists. We will understand those logistical issues that you may need to deal with. We are deleted to be here.
My name is Christopher Yoo, I teach at the university of Pennsylvania and I'm the moderator for this session. We are involved in a project called 1 world connected which is the organization that pulled the panel together. We are exploring a wide variety of issues and looking at studying versus innovative approaches to connect people to the Internet. It's also in connection with the dynamic coalition by the same name. We have our own panel on Thursday we encourage you to participate in that. But just to set the stage for what we are ‑‑ why we are talking about demand side drivers, if you look traditionally regulators have focused on increasing investment and lowering prices, things that we often in the academy will talk about the supply side issues. Interestingly, if you do surveys of people who have not adopted the Internet, the availability and pricing are not the major issues that emerge. The ones that major issues emerge, and these are surveys that are done in developing countries from Brazil to India and China but interestingly it shows up in the developed world, it's consistently questioned such as they do not see the relevance of an Internet connection, they do not have the digital literacy skills they need, they lack the physical devices to connect and there's other problems that suggest that even if you made Internet universally available and very cheap, there would still be work to do. And that is what our panel is here to explore today. We have a very distinguished group of people.
Just to give you an example of the kinds of interventions that different companies and NGOs, non‑profit organizations and governments have done, this is one of the case studies that 1 World Connected is doing. We've identified over 200 interventions by different organizations and we're going to study, we're committed to studying all of them to the best of our ability. This is one I like very much. It's called India, with the support of Intel, learn easy steps. They're actually partnering with non‑governmental organizations to provide digital literacy training including one that's focusing on the disabled community. The punch line is they've actually reached 900,000 people through face‑to‑face training. And this is among the initiatives we've studied one of the largest and is actually really focusing on making the access work for the disabled communities as well, which is an important part of making the Internet accessible and work for everybody.
I will show you one more case study because I can't resist. In Uganda they actually have a solar powered mobile classroom built into the back of an all‑terrain vehicle. They travel around and train 5,000 people a year. So what you will hear talked about today is a very wide range of possible intervention. We have an expert panel uniquely well‑qualified to comment on the different aspects that, efforts that actors are making. I'm extremely proud of this panel because it's not always the case, even though it is the goal of the IGF, we have all of the stakeholder groups represented. This is exactly the kind of panel that the IGF was designed to encourage. If you would like to learn more about our initiative, the contact information is there. Our first speaker will be Paul Mitchell from Microsoft. We would be delighted to give the floor to you.
>> PAUL MITCHELL: Okay. Thank you.
So I thought I would talk first about a failure that we had and then how that sort of led to some reevaluation of what we tried to do. So we've recognized for some time that it's important to get people connected as early as possible, to give them digital skills, to prepare them for the future jobs. And so one effort we had many years ago was to create a state‑of‑the‑art compute lab in Losutu, which was at the time, as well‑equipped as anything you would have found in pal low al tow, California. It had state‑of‑the‑art white boards, projectors, computers for everybody and the entire thing was totally useless. And the reason it was useless was because we had failed at that time to take into account ‑‑ better? Is this better? Okay.
So we had failed at the time to take into account the entire ecosystem. And it turns out that the school had electricity provided by a diesel generator which we knew, but they had no budget to buy fuel for the generators. So once the lab was installed, it was basically a museum because they never turned it on. And so what we learned from that experiment was that it's not enough to just decide do you want to be charitable and put equipment in some place. You actually have to focus on the entire ecosystem. So several years later, after sort of internalizing the issues, we began a program in Africa called four Africa. And that started with pillars of innovation and access, sort of the primary pillars, two of the primary pillars for it. And that involved first of all, creating the connectivity, which involved in solving the problem with solar power for how connectivity was going to be powered, as well as getting back and the connections to schools.
We started with a town in outside of Nairobi, about 30,000 people there as a population. They're firmly in the lowest billion population of the planet, so our thinking was if we could do something there that would work, then in theory it could be replicated in other parts of the world. So fast forward, that project has been running now for three and a half years, just about. And it's been very successful. We now have several hundred hot spots in the community, 2,000‑some‑odd of the population are paying $3 a month for basically unlimited Internet access which is fast enough for them to watch high definition streaming video if they choose. It's in the schools, there's a 2‑point grade improvement seen across all areas for the students of the schools. So that's all very positive.
And there's sort of a burgeoning economy now centered around the local cyber cafe, which also offers charging for mobile devices for the population as part of their subscribe for broad band. We worked on, working with this teachers to actually integrate ICT into the ‑‑ using ICT into the curriculum for all subjects, so it's not just computing and using modern devices and tablets and mobile devices. All very positive. That was all enabled.
Connectivity and access. So first the interdevelopment American bank, a $22 million project called a Panama online program that's trying to make efforts to make government services available online that really will benefit citizens living in poverty.
And finally, the one that I thought I would highlight is a $13 million world bank IFC project called India think and learn, where they're really trying to provide mobile‑based educational content for primary and secondary students. Wow. This is a real impressive set of projects and also there's a huge potential for them to do more. Currently what I've learned through this effort at most of the major banks, they only devote about 1% to 2% of their infrastructure butts et cetera for their ICT projects.
We in the United States have been encouraging them to do a whole lot more. We were able to secure a commitment to see transformative increases in lending for both demand and supply side projects from all the banks, including the World Bank. And we're working with them to try to cat lies a doubling of private funding through 2020. Through the global connective initiative, many of them are demand side, we will be publishing a report next month that will provide a detailed assessment of financing and projects on the demand and supply side that the U.S. government is in almost.
We're proud to say that since the launch of the initiative we've announced over $2 billion of programs, both financing and grants.
I will pause there. I'm looking forward to the discussion today. We have a lot of work to do together and it's so great that we have critical industry partners here and also NGO partners that can really talk more about their work that they're doing on the ground. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you Paul and thank you to the U.S. government for its leadership here. I think your insight of bringing all the groups together is critical. There's so much work to do that we can only solve this problem in the spirit of the IGF if we work in a truly multistakeholder manner cooperating together.
Also thank you for pointing out the need for data. When we have institutions to decide what to invest in, particularly the internation finance community of different kinds, they need to know not just what works but what the incremental value of investing an additional dollar is and that is why we're committed to gathering data to give the foundation for those kinds of decisions to be made in a positive manner.
Our next speaker will be Ellen Blackler from the Walt Disney Company. Manu has already hinted at local content. Disney has been a leader in terms of understanding the importance of developing this side of the demand side drivers for adoption.
>> ELLEN BLACKLER: Thank you. I'm Ellen Blackler with Disney. I'm going to talk a little about locally relevant content, which is in our view a critical aspect of the ecosystem that will drive Internet adoption.
We came to this a couple of years ago when we started to really delve into some of the questions that Manu and Paul have talked about, which is understanding the piece of the puzzle which is where ‑‑ trying to understand what that is and it's not insignificant can't. Around the globe 30% to 50% of the people in developed countries and 55% to 75% of the people in emerging markets that have access to the Internet do not use it. So it's a big chunk of a situation that we can try to address here.
For example, in Brazil 63% of people with access to the Internet don't use it. So we start to look at why that is and there's starting to be studies emerging why that is. What is very surprising is that affordability is not the most often cited reason. It's in fact the third cited reason for people who have access. They say that they don't see that it's relevant to them. They don't know how to use it. And then third comes in affordability. So I think that's kind of a shocking result to those of us who have worked in this field and spent a lot of time thinking about infrastructure and affordability to find out that we had maybe missed this other piece. So we started to look at that and think about what is it that drives people to adopt the Internet and the answer is not a surprise when you think about it. It's locally relevant content. They need to have something to do with this connection that works for them.
And so we started to work on what is it that drives a local content community. And to think about what is it that people want to do when they're on the Internet. And we started to look at in the entertainment space because that's what we do at Walt Disney, at understand both how people are using our content and how people, what other kinds of content people want to see. And of course there's a lot of issues about language. We at Disney invest ‑‑ we have channels all over the world and we invest a lot in a lot of money in making our content locally relevant through language and investing in local content that could be put on the channels and also put on the TV. So that's one model where a large company like us can be investing in the localization of the content so that it meets local users' needs. But we also looked at what could we do and what could be done to build up a creative economy in local regions.
And you start to see that like all these other pieces of the puzzle, it is in itself an ecosystem. And what are the pieces of that ecosystem that drive a robust local content creative industry. And they are things that you hear a lot about here at the IGF so I will list them and you can find the other sessions that delve into them a little more deeply. First, free expression is critical, both creative expression and political expression. We're going to hear a lot this week about the need for having a free expression environment, but also a lot of thinking about what that means with respect to other people's rights. Free expression is typically not without limit. That other people's rights have to be protected in the free expression. We talked ‑‑ there will be sessions this week about extremism and hate speech and these are difficult issues and also about protecting the rights of artists through intellectual property protection. So there's kind of this whole ‑‑ and of course government surveillance is also part of this whole mix of issues about free expression.
There's also a lot of issues about building a robust e‑commerce ecosystem. And this goes to consumer protections, this goes to payment systems. To build a sustainable content creation community where people are creating content and being able to build a business off of that, you need ways for people to purchase content. You need again protections of intellectual property. You need protections for consumers so that when they make a purchase online they know what they're getting and they have recourse if they haven't gotten what they paid for. Those are all things that need to be developed so the content creators have a sustainable business model. There's kind of a host of issues about that that there are also sessions about here at the IGF.
I'll talk just a little bit about some of the things we've done at Disney to try to get at pieces of this. And I guess following Paul's example and starting with the lesson learned, I think what we have learned is that whenever you work in this complex ecosystem, you have to be very clear about your understanding of the problem and what piece of it you're trying to address and make sure that it is the piece that needs to be addressed. And I'll just give a couple of examples of areas where we've worked. In Latin‑America we have done a lot of work with an NGO called Chico's net addressing this question of digital skills, both technical skills and also digital literacy skills. And we did that because we determined that in it was acting as a barrier, both parents' concerns about their children's safety and people's ‑‑ parents and teachers lack of clarity about what they should be teaching was acting as a gator to young people going online when here at the Disney Company.
Here at the Disney Company we like young people going online and accessing our fabulous content. So we developed with this NGO partner, they really developed with our support, a curriculum that teaches teachers and parents and kids kind of all the set of skills you need to navigate, to take advantage of all the opportunities online and navigating those risks as well. So that program includes a school‑based curriculum for teachers to feel confident that they can tell the kids what they need to go to go online to give parents the same kinds of confidence and to give the kids kind of an understanding of the guard rails that they can use online that will help them find the quality content that they want to see and Nevada gate any risks associated with that.
So that's an example of we really worked with the elementary school children. We recognized that that's where they're going online first. That it's kind of wait too late if you're waiting until they're teenagers. And by getting them focused on what we call the citizenship area, how to be a good friend online, how to be ‑‑ what to do if you see something disturbing online, it gives them the skills they need to graduate then to a more socially networked environment later.
Another example, shifting gears entirely was we looked at the content creation question and we got involved, I think Stuart is here. And you can go to a session later in the week, workshop 9 on Thursday, and hear from Stuart directly. Perhaps later he can weigh in. But we, Stuart is from Trigger Fish Animation, which is a country in Africa, an animation company in Africa and they had identified that one of the barriers they had to create a lot of great African content was not the financing for the protection of shows that had been developed, but was for support for script development much earlier in the process. And I think one of the things that is surprising to learn when you work in the fast‑moving technical world is it really takes a long time to develop quality and entertainment. 18 months, two years, to get a script from a writer's idea to something that is ready to be produced.
And so to work in this area, you need to be making a long‑term commitment. It's not as simple as running a simple, one simple grant project that you need to have kind of a lot of support for these entrepreneurs working in this space. And so with Trigger Fish, we participated in supporting them a little bit, they ran a story contest throughout Africa, got something like 1,200 or 1,300 applications, picked some winners and are now working with those winners to develop their stories to the point where they hopefully will be professionally produced and financed and sold to professional entertainment platforms. And Stuart can talk a little bit more about that. But really understanding that the, to make a difference in this space you have to understand the whole ecosystem and find the place that's the barrier and try to address that barrier.
But it can't be done in isolation. You need to then, with these story winners, they're going now have a great idea, but they have to have access to the financing and the expertise that will help them bring that all the way to it can be on TV platform that will then because it's such a great, compelling story, about African teenagers who are saving the world from disaster, can motivate people to buy that broad band subscription. So I'll end there.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Ellen for being on a very important part.
[ Applause ] that was under appreciated lately and Disney has been a leader in calling this to the attention of the entirely community.
Our next speaker is Sonia Jorge part of the alliance for affordable Internet has been doing fantastic work in the space helping connect more of the world. Sonia
>> SONIA JORGE: Thank you, Chris. Thank you, everyone. I want to start by highlighting a thought that Nancy Hopkins just shared with us in a previous session that I unfortunately had to leave earlier to get here. She said that for us to envision an Internet of women, we have to deal with so many issues to achieve gender equality at so many levels. We are far from making sure that so many of you have raised issues et cetera, and that's all very good.
But I want to highlight the importance of thinking of this from a context perspective, especially women deployed in ‑‑ to ensure that those possibilities that the content that you developing, and supporting to develop, the access and services that Microsoft is bringing to many communities, remote communities, not only are there for some, but are there nor the majority. And are there with a purpose. With a purpose that is not just about accessing a one‑way piece of communication, but very much a way, an opportunity for people to exercise their agency, to exercise innovation, to become creators of knowledge and to participate in an Internet world where we all can exercise our rights and our freedoms in a free and open way. So without repeating some of the things that you mentioned, I would say, and the reason why I'm highlighting specifically the gender element of the inequalities around demand, is because our research at the web foundation at our womens rights online project is very clear to show that even when you put all the pieces in place, 50% ‑‑ women are 50% less likely to use the Internet than men. And this cuts across many different geographies. In some less than others.
But the main barriers to access, affordability does remain an important issue. It's not number one in many geographies for sure, but no‑how and skills and education are definitely a key element. In fact many of our partners here on the table, especially research institutions who are doing fantastic work in the field have shown time and time again how these specific barriers need to be addressed, not just in Asia, ICT Africa our own work and your work too Chris at the university. So what I would like to say today and share with all of you, let's not repeat the story that we already know. We know that digital skills are partner. We know that education is important. We know that STEM, especially STEM, let's think about arts and creativity into the STEM fields are critical. But what is it we are doing to change that picture of not just access, but the abilities and the opportunities that access can bring.
And so what I wanted to share with all of you is a bit more about the work that we are doing, which is how do we try to bring all of these knowledge, all of these findings, lessons from many of our multiple projects, and putting them in practice in our work at ‑‑ we work in a multistakeholder model. We establish national coalitions in the countries that we select to support. And we are working on quite a few countries now so I'll share with you the work we're doing in one of the three countries. In mean Myanmar, the Dominican Republic and Liberia.
So in Myanmar, we've actually just came back from Yagoon about two weeks ago and some of the members of our team are here, including Alan is a partner who was there in our gender workshop. What we are doing in Myanmar is we have an opportunity to influence the policy framework at a very interesting place. Because Myanmar is a country that just opened up recently. There's a lost change taking place. But there's also a lot of uncertainty. A lot of lack of knowledge. Not enough information, not enough data. What we wanted to do, what is it that we can do to raise these issues to a different level and start integrating some of these lessons into actual policy decisions. And so one opportunity, a very important window of opportunity is that Myanmar, in collaboration with the World Bank, is now establishing the universal access strategy and the universal service fund.
For many of you who have been working in the field for a long time, you know it's one of the opportunities that many countries have to fund innovative projects in addition to infrastructure investment, et cetera. So we are working in Myanmar with our local coalition and multistakeholders to inform and to be able to bring about the knowledge that we have about these issues. So that for example the universal service fund in Myanmar, once established and put into practice, will, for example, support and finance in very small communities rural entrepreneurs that can start content development business system in their own communities to not only develop relevant content locally, and this is not just entertainment content.
Obviously we're focusing on content around people's rights, women's rights, reproductive health, healthy shoes, education, agriculture, what have you. And of course also entertainment if that's what people choose to have. But to have these ‑‑ to fund the kinds of content that hopefully people in Myanmar demand. So that's one way in which we want to not only support the creation, but also ensuring that and ideally they talk together and they work closely together to achieve the goals of digital skills and education in the country.
We managed to raise only ICT policy to the political level by making sure that it was one of the key elements of each presidential candidate's agenda during the election a few months ago, but with that it really pushed them to actually have to propose solutions to address the gaps that existed in the country, including the digital gender gap, et cetera.
And lastly, Liberia we now have an opportunity by supporting the government with their development of their new ICT policy for the country. To integrate a lot of these lessons into a brand new policy that could then become a model. We can talk more about it. I'm being given the time bell. So thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Well, thank you. And thank you for sharing with us the important work AFI is doing around the world. It's very partner. Our next speaker is Alejandro Pisanty. I'm very delighted to have a member from our host country. And he brings real world experience of what's happening here in Mexico. Alejandro?
>> ALEJANDRO PISANTY: Thank you, Chris. I think you grossly overestimate me. But I'm not going to make an extra effort to prove my point.
I can still say welcome to Mexico. If I can take 30 seconds. I can also tell you that I've had even today, which is the second and for many the third day you're in Mexico and Guadalajara, some conversations which I want to ‑‑ whose results I want to convey to you all which is be mindful of the altitude. We are 1,500 meters high. If you come from Europe, you know that 1,500 meters, that's 5,000 feet above sea level, you only have ski stations. There are no cities. So if your legs fail you after running up a flight of stairs, you don't have a cancer of the spine. Just short of breath because it's very high and you don't have that much oxygen. So take extra water. Take extra time for the stairs. By tomorrow you should be feeling normal. Just sorry. This keeps happening.
So thank you Chris for allowing me, creating the opportunity to join this very, very distinguished panel. I really appreciate what it means. I will ‑‑ I have prepared a few comments and I'll try to stick to them. Although the last point I announced to you in the shared document is agreement and disagreement with the previous speakers but I will get to that at the end.
There are powerful demand drivers that are not content. I saw during the presentations that you made previously, the previous speakers but this was planned disagreements. A lot of emphasis on content and I think that we are missing a point when we focus only on content as the additional demand driver, other than I must be connected. Yes, local content is very important. We may differ with Disney, for example, with Ellen about the importance of intellectual property protection for the start of people creating content. Many people will create something that we should call content, that they are not careful. They don't worry about intellectual property protection because they are only putting out their own opinions. I mean, using social media to communicate, bilateral communications, messaging instead of publishing is extremely important.
I mentioned in another meeting yesterday, a single message which was delivered by SMS and could now be delivered with what's app or any other messaging application can have a value of thousands of dollars. If it's a message and this is a real case for Mexico. You have someone asking by messaging, someone from the countryside asking someone in the city what is the price of tomatoes. What are they paying for tomatoes in Mexico City, and in Guadalajara. And the guy who gets the answer or the girl who gets the answer, it was actually a girl, she knows where to send the pickup truck to sell those tomatoes. Because the family has just picked them up the last day. So that's one peso message or a free message if you are doing it with an IP application that's worth thousands.
So I think that a lot of the use cases, let's say a lot of work should focus on the use cases and see how to make them grow just beyond the consumption of content or the creation of stable fixed content. And I mean it's 20 years ago I think that we were discussing whether access was king or content was king. I thought we have ‑‑ I mean, we haven't gone past this stage but we should look at value add. What's the value added by every connection and be very granular. The fact that we have a high percentage of people who have access to the Internet and don't use it, or our city induced prejudice that what they want is to watch a movie may not be warranted. It may be true for someone in the same home. So we should look at more detailed use cases to drive better policy.
And of course I applaud the great initiatives that have been described here. But maybe they can be complemented as you get more granular, more close to the ground and to the final user by this analysis.
I would like to very anecdotally tell you about a couple of cases that are very lieu contractive, they are very general. One of them is a student of mine in the National University of Mexico in the school of chemistry. This is a very stylish young girl from a lower middle class family. And she helps sustain her studies and family with e commerce. Her model for e‑commerce is not a.m. zone. She has not set up a huge store in the cloud and long delivery chain. She goes and buys like 40 skirts and blouses that she thinks will be the most stylish from an intermediary in downtown Mexico City and holds them at home and announces the products in a social media page. And gets her delivery model is the subway. So she delivers things at the gates of the subway stations for their clients, gets paid in cash there. Of course the tax authority is not seeing a lot of this. But if you wanted to explain e‑commerce in the most bare bones model, it will be ordinary taking, catalog inventory ordering and delivery for $0.25 of a U.S. dollar a day for delivery costs. She pays the ticket in the morning and stops in 20 stations and there you are. So we have to look at these young people's creativity. What they are doing, how they can improve the experience and what ‑‑ how is this large initiatives get granular when you get to the ground.
There's a myth of digital natives that I think all of you are initiatives have already run into this, so I won't get into a lot of detail. But to assume that young people will be highly wired and digitally competent, you have already mentioned, Sonia among others, digital skills. There we have to work a lot more. The fact that we see people who have already left universities who don't have their most basic Google search skills, and they went through Boulean logic and the teacher didn't bother to tell them that these same propositions can be used in search, so it can be completely useless knowledge in their minds instead of being the practical applications. We have to work on these things. It's very hard to create this general program so we need to provide a lot of examples repeatedly. Apps in the classrooms are driving demand.
If we make known to universities and schools for example that HTML5 has arrived, even if it's not a perfect solution from a professional point of view and there's objections to everything, but the fact that your students can now pick the app independently of what phone they have, and it works the same way for all of them, means that poor students at the university or high schools and junior highs can go home, practicing on simulations of biological, physical or social phenomena in the subway, share them at home completely attracts people. This will do against the 35% that Ellen mentioned of people who have access to the Internet but don't know what to do with it.
So I would just like to throw like more anecdotal kinds of cases to aid in the analysis of how to bring these things up.
And finally agreement and disagreement with previous speakers, I have already mentioned a bit. But there's one note I want to make to something Sonia said which is universal service funds. The trouble I see with universe qualify service funds repeatedly is the size of the universal service fund is extremely small. It's a percentage, it's like a 1% of the billing or of the even less than 1% of the billing of the large ISPs, it usually applies to the incumbent or dominant player, not necessarily goes to all players in the market. It's a compensation mechanism. So you end up with a rather small purse. And then there has to be a mechanism to allocate those funds that can easily become very political who decides which 50 villages in a country get connected. So I stopped having a great hope on USFs and I should also mention I see them disappearing in Mexico. It has perceived to be used more effectively and more fairly than the traditional USFs. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you, Alejandro. I think your comments are a powerful reminder, just as we began this panel by saying there's a demand side as well as a supply side. There are multiple parts of the demand side as well. While I welcome disagreement on a panel, it's possibly don't think Ellen would disagree with you that e‑commerce is an important part of it, education is an important part of it in addition to content and we need all different parts to this. So I look forward to exploring this further in the conversation that we have coming before us. Our final speaker is Robert Pepper from Facebook. We're delighted to have their important perspective here today.
>> ROBERT PEPPER: Again. 1 world connected is a great program because of data matters and the work that you're doing is just with everybody is great.
So I want to, you know, go back and pick up on some of the things that Ellen said, which is we've all been talking about the demand side variables. So it's, you know, and we know that. So one of the things that Facebook has done as part of or activities with the connectivity lab and connecting people, there's a lot of work we're doing on the access technology supply side, that's for a different session. And then there are the things that we're doing trying to help people discover the Internet, get on the Internet, use the Internet and benefit from the Internet. Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected. That means everybody has to be on. So there's the discovery process. How do people discover the Internet, learn about the Internet, benefit from it. And that's where we developed one of the demand side applications called Free Basics. So Free Basics is really designed to address the awareness barrier about using the Internet. There's a lot of discussion about Free Basics and I have frankly found a lack of really good understanding of what it is. So let me take a moment to describe that.
Number one, it's a partnership with mobile operators. To provide free access to locally relevant services such as communications tools, health sites, job sites, education information, always including services for women and families designed for children. There's some great examples and it goes to Sonia, the issue of the gender gap. We had a session yesterday tied back to all day ‑‑ it was a half‑day session with global connect and the lack of the gap in gender use is really important in why there are no more people connected to the Net and there's a whole range of reasons.
It's a free service of basic services that shows people the value and the relevance of connectivity and then it brings them online faster. Now, it's actually working. It is providing an on‑ramp to full Internet access. And in fact we currently have Free Basics is launched in over 50 countries and municipalities, there are over 70 partners and it's growing weekly with additional projects and partners. African, middle east, Asia Pacific, Latin‑America, in this region, countries that have free basic services partnering with mobile operators include in the Caribbean, Aruba, bar bay dose, but also in Colombia, Bolivia, Guatemala, here in Mexico and it keeps growing. There are quite a number of application and services in Free Basics, over a thousand different applications in services worldwide. On average in each country where Free Basics is launched there are at least a hundred services available on free basic platforms. And it is working.
I want to just call out some really great work by Ross and Leighton. She and colleagues have actually looked at what happens when people have access to Free Basics and whether or not ‑‑ and do they use it? What happens, do they actually sort of move on to other the full Internet services. Is this really an on ramp. And Roslyn recently with her colleague published a summary of research in a publication called intermediate published by the international institute of communications and Roslyn is here and I'm sure would be happy to talk about that.
So the question always comes up, because the world is never without controversy, do you prebasic violate net neutrality. Actually, no. It does not. Net neutrality and universal connectivity absolutely have to coexist. It's the people who are not connecting or be introduced to Internet and services. Facebook I think as you know is a strong supporter of net neutrality. And there's no inconsistency in supporting the principles of net neutrality of no blocking, no throttling. And yet still be able to have a zero rated service.
By the way, there's a lot of misinformation in the debate about whether zero rated services violate net neutrality and they're actually two different things. Both in Europe and in the U.S. at the FCC, even with their net neutrality regulation, they have not a priority in advance prohibited zero rated services. They said they would evaluate them on a case‑by‑case basis. So free basic does not block, does not throttle any other services and it does not create fast lanes. In fact, it's the opposite. How does it work? In working with the operator, it's actually a skinny data service. It is designed to be a low data rate. Because many of the people who are being introduced to the Internet have mobile phones. They don't have access to broad band. It's not going to be a smart phone. It may be a feature phone if they're lucky. So it needs to be a skinny data service. It's actually the reverse of a fast lane. I won't say it's a slow lane, but it's a skinny lane. So number one.
Free Basics is nonexclusive. Any operator can participate. As I mentioned we have over 50 projects and over 60 operators. In a number of places there are multiple operators. It's nonexclusive.
Number two, the terms of how it works are published. They're transparent. There are very clear participation guidelines for both the operators, as well as the developers, the content providers, the application providers, as well as very clear privacy policies. So, for example, because there's a skinny lane, there's no high resolution photographs. There's no video. And that includes any Facebook application. No video, no high resolution photos.
Second. So that's the transparent.
Third. It's open to any developer. Any developer can participate as long as the service meets the technical guidelines, which are published. And finally people ‑‑ I've heard different things. The fact is it's free. Facebook does not pay the operators. The operators do not pay Facebook. No money changes hands. And developers are not charged for the service. It's all free. And as I said, it's actually working and it's getting people online introduced to the Internet and again, there's research that supports that and I just I'll defer to Roslyn who is the expert on the research that she's done. Thanks, Chris.
>> MODERATOR: Thank you. Thank you to all the panelists for stimulating what should be a fascinating issue. You've taken what's a maturation of the debate over obstacles to getting online. We used to ignore the demand side now this panel is prove that it's important but now we're understanding that it's much richer than that. It's not just locally relevant content but also services of all different kinds. There's not just digital literacy but there's many different programs, ways to effectuate that, we're learning more and more about what works and what works where. Gender issues, disability access. Some projects we're doing on revenue access which is sadly an important issue today. And now even opportunities for funding which is another excellent possibility and as Alejandro pointed out, even the universal service funds have their own challenges but even if they were completely spent in the most effective way, we still need to have a broader range of sources if we're really going to connect the next billion, and that's why I'm so grateful to the partnerships we see emerging today. As I said, we will go more or less continuously. We will not run all the way to noon.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello. I'm from India and I represent CAOI which is the mobile operators. So very interesting to listen to Facebook and see what happened in India. The point of the discussion is we always talk about demand and supply. When I did 101 economics is that intersection point of demand and supply 245 cleared the market. So yeah we talk about demand and supply and what we invariably find in our countries is there's always one or the other happening, either the network is reached and wondering what happened, somebody made the decision, or the network hasn't reached and by gosh when the network reaches, you don't have to worry about content. People know already. So the point I'm asking the question I've asked is that can we have data and can we have actual examples where these types of anomalies, while we're waiting, and fundamentally the issue goes to it's the private operators that are doing it. It is not government. When we're talking about connecting this. So we have to pause very carefully. So I absolutely agree with Mr. Alejandro ‑‑ India a classic example USO fund. So the question is again how do we make sure that in this anomaly period, what is private operators doing to be able to get to this anomaly situation that we deal with. Thank you.
>> MODERATOR: I know Sonia you wanted to say something. Pepper, would you like to respond?
>> SONIA JORGE: I hope Pepper doesn't mind but I wanted to put a plug in. Since much of the work on policy issues we've done recently including so much with many of our members' inputs, AFRI just published a few weeks ago and I urge you all to look at policy guidelines for the regulation of mobility plans including zero rated services so that might shed some light in how we think different countries, different policy makers and regulators can approach this issue. Not just from a user's perspective, taking into account specially what users want, which based on our research, what they want is access to an open Internet, with no restrictions of any kind. But also understanding that there are different stages of development. So regulatory approaches may defer in different countries in different geographies. So I urge you to look at what we've published, I think it's really interesting and it very much goes to the question that you were mentioning based on your experience in India.
>> ROBERT PEPPER: I believe we've worked together for a long time, I absolutely agree with you. And again, the A4AI work also addresses this. Because it is about making sure that there is not ‑‑ the regulatory constraints that prevent operators from number one, experimenting with new services were very early in terms of what some of the service models were going to be. But also don't prevent applications and partnerships and new business models based upon theoretical problems, as opposed to actual ones. The fact is we have very, very successful Free Basics applications and uses in all of your neighbors. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, et cetera. And they are very successful for the mobile operators. Introducing people to basic Internet services. And then once they see those, they want more and they're migrating to full access, paid access in terms of what we would think of as Internet mobile Internet access. So it may be that looking at where there are successes, there are lessons learned.
>> MODERATOR: I've been told I have time for one more question and I see both Alison and Michael showing some interest. I'll let the two of you fight it out.
>> It's a comment and also a question. Building on some of the things that Ellen said and the work that I was doing at ISOC was really to start focusing on creating a local entrepreneurially environment for creating apps, which would create jobs and also content in the right language and locally relevant. And one of the things that you did mention was the payment and the monetization and this is a big challenge that it's very hard, especially international payments. It's hard to write an app and upload it and sell it. It just won't work in most African countries. You want just upload it into Google and sell it around the world. Which means you also can't raise money from crowd funding, you can't do pay pal and a lot of things. So as you said, this is getting very, very rich so it's a comment that we have to address a lot of little things to get this right and also question if anyone has looked into that and how to build up a local creative economy that can monetize itself.
>> MODERATOR: Sonia?
>> SONIA JORGE: I just wanted to add one more thing because your question also leads to the issue of funding and having resources to create that. One of the reasons why despite some of the disappointments around universal service funds that you mentioned, Alejandro, is the fact that they exist. And this should be use effectively instead of going to waste. And it's not a question of not using or being against, but they could be used, for example, to support such local economies of content development and even experimentation in different business models that could do that sort of thing, amongst many others. So that's one thing.
The other thing I wanted to mention, which is a side plug that some of us are working on now in the context, the umbrella of the initiatives of global connect is we are chairing a working group, a multistakeholder working group on multilateral development banks investment strategies and one of the things that we are trying to focus on is how can the MDBs also think differently about their investments getting away from pure infrastructure issues, but thinking about all the other things that the early this year mentioned is the complements that are mentioned to sustain that ecosystem. How can we go beyond. And as I've been saying to the colleagues, is doing infrastructure plus plus plus but what can we do with all those pluses and not just focus on one.
>> MODERATOR: Manu?
>> MANU: I just wanted to make a brief observation. So the IoT state of broad band report has come out and it's told us that last year approximately 4.3 billion more people came online. One of the things that worries me and calls to action that we have all the stakeholders and everybody here with connectivity what can we actually do and how can we take advantage of all the high level attention, all the passionate support, to really accelerate and really accelerate adoption. Because we really aren't making the progress that we all want to see. And part of that I think is going to be thinking outside the box on how we can support industry‑driven efforts. How can we encourage more competition investment policies that will make sense. How can we bring new actors like the technical community, the multilateral development banks and really think about connectivity as a key element for every country's growth and strategy.
I'm saying this because a lot of this is going to be cat lied by stakeholders. We can of course to play a role. We are looking to everybody here in playing a leadership role and identify the path forward so we see measurable progress and take advantage of all of the interest and excitement we have today around this issue.
>> MODERATOR: I think that's an excellent note we have to end on with apologies to those who didn't get their questions in. I think it's a signal in the growth of the community and the debate around the issues of the IGF, the fact that it's a ecosystem that we need to nurture all parts of simultaneously. Please join me in thanking the panelists for an excellent presentation.
[ Applause ]
And please don't go anywhere. We will start the next panel at noon just in a few minutes.
(Session concluded at 11:57)