This is the transcript of the Access and Diversity Main Session that took place on November 8 2012 at the Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was the first time in the entire history of the IGF that women and gender issues were addressed in a main session, with the presence of Jac sm Kee from APC Women´s Rights Programme
Seventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
6-9 November 2012, Baku, Azerbaijan
8 November 2012
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Seventh Meeting of the IGF, in Baku, Azerbaijan. 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 session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
CHAIR: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY: The Chair requests if people can come to the front because of the camera and the webcast so that if you are talking people can see you.
I also have one other request that if you are taking the microphone, could you please state your name and the organisation for the captioners. Thank you.
CHAIR: Thank you very much. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. We now resume the meeting and I open this morning session dealing with the access and diversity. My co moderators who will run the session for us, Mrs Karen Rose of the Internet Society and Mrs Ory Okolloh from Google Africa. Remote moderators are Mrs Claudia Selli and Mrs Raquel Gatto, ICOC Appraisal.
Issues of access and diversity have been discussed at each of the six IGF meetings. We have had discussions about essential infrastructures such as internet exchange points and the deployment of fibre optic cable.
Last year in Nairobi, I understand the main issue was about the mobile internet. This year we will focus on social and economic development and we have seven experts to provide comment and the ideas for our discussions.
The goal of the session is to have a broad discussion with all of you in the audience. Please be ready to take the microphone and pose your questions or give short replies based on your own experience, I emphasise short reply, please.
Our moderators will take us through a number of the questions. You can find a list in the programme, in your paper.
For Azerbaijan, I would like to emphasise the importance of the role of government in creating a favourable enabling environment. The President has begun initiative to support private sector ownership, innovation and scientific research, notably through the State Foundation for Information Technologies Development.
We have seen the country’s ICT sector double in the past three years. Income from the sector in 2011 was approximately USD 1.7 billion, like the rest of the world, the mobile sector been very dynamic, both 3G and 4G.
Azerbaijan is the member of the Trans Asian Superinformation Highway (TASIM), an important regional initiative whose purpose is to lay a transnational fibre optic cable and line covering the Eurasian countries, mainly from Western Europe to Eastern Asia.
This type of initiative is important to landlocked countries. Government with and supporting the private sector and resource community has been important to the growth of the ICT sector.
We will now hear from the moderators who will further set the scene for this afternoon’s(sic) dialogue. Let’s think about the barriers to access and use, also opportunities. We should be positive and take away positive messages from increasing access and diversity.
As I mentioned before, the session will be moderated by the Mrs Karen Rose and Mrs Ory Okolloh, with remote participation facilitated by Claudia Selli and Mrs Raquel Getto.
So over to you, ladies and gentlemen. Mrs Karen, here you are.
KAREN ROSE: Thank you Mrs Chairwoman and good morning, everyone. My name is Karen Rose and I’m Senior Director of Strategic Development and Business Planning at the Internet Society.
On behalf of the IGF organisers and the Multi stakeholder Advisory Committee, I would like to welcome to you to this main session on access and diversity.
I would argue that the issue of access and diversity and the topics we will be discussing in this session are some of the most important of the entire IGF because without access and diversity few of the other internet governance issues we discuss in this forum have any practical impact.
As noted, in keeping with the theme of the 7th IGF, we will explore access and diversity from a perspective of economic, human and social development. In order to do so, we are going to seek to go beyond what is often a binary proposition of discussing disparities between those who have access and those who do not.
This is sometimes too simple of a context. Rather we will be looking at internet access and diversity as more of a value proposition and the issues that need to be addressed in order to transform the unconnected into empowered users, users into internet creators and internet creators, into the innovators that will fuel the economic transformation and international development we seek.
We have been asked to explore five topics today. We will start with infrastructure, move to mobile and innovation, go to human empowerment, then free flow of information and multilingualism.
We are very fortunate to be joined today by some of the world’s most foremost thinkers in the area.
Before I turn over to co moderator to get us started I would just like to offer a word a bit on our limitations. As has been noted we have been asked to tackle an enormous topic today and many critical sub topics.
We have asked the panelists to keep their remarks concise and I would now ask the same of everyone here as they consider the interventions and comments on the panel.
With that I would like to turn it over to my co moderator Ory Okolloh to get us started.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, before we get started I would just like to introduce the panelists with their names and titles. If you could just raise your hand so the audience knows who I am referring to although I guess they can see the names as well.
We are privileged to have, as Karen said, a great group of speakers on the panel. First off you have Dr Bitange Ndemo who is the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of information and Communication in Kenya.
We also have Dr Tarek Kamel, Senior Adviser to the President of ICANN and former minister of ICT in Egypt.
We have Mr Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General for UNESCO’s communication and information sector.
Miss Jac sm Kee, Womens Rights Advocacy Coordinator, who is also Womens Network Supporting Programme, APC.
Mr Peter Major, he is a coordinator of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disabilities, also known as DCAD.
Mr Cecil McCain, who is Director Post Internet Communications, Jamaica.
Ms Jacquelynn or Jackie Ruff right next to me, who is the VP for International Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs with Horizon and Mr Satish Babu who is the director of the International for Free and Open Source Software in India.
With that I will get right to the opening question.
We will start off with addressing around the issue of access, you know, underlying access infrastructure and the question is how, with the growing increased demand for bandwidth and for lowest cost of internet access and with the revenue shifts affecting investment in broadband infrastructure and access networks, how we deal with this issue or what I would like to call, “Who pays for all of this”? How we meet the growing demand, as I said, for fast access, quick speed, lower prices, both on the mobile side and on the broadband side.
If I can start off with you Dr Ndemo, can you share your experiences perhaps from Kenyan and from Africa in terms of what is the thinking around this question?
BITANGE NDEMO: Thank you, Ory. Until four years ago, Kenya did not have sufficient broadband and what we did was to work with the private sector through public/private partnerships to lay the fibre optics that landed on the coast of Kenya.
Then internally we have worked very closely again with the private sector to develop the terrestrial fibre and now we are working on the last mile.
We have paid attention to those in the rural areas by creating a value proposition for creating ICT, ICT’s in the rural areas, and soon we are hopefully going to cover the whole country.
We have subsidised the broadband to universities through the local [name inaudible]. The national research and education network was fully funded, to provide broadband to universities and we are hoping to get to high schools and Primary Schools throughout the country.
The government plays a very key role in terms of creating access to broadband, to a large extent. Thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, and I will turn over next to Mr McCain. I think we have heard a lot of the role of government and Kenya has been known for driving this model of public/private partnerships.
Can you share your experience on the same and maybe speak to also what are the policy measures we can be taken to drive or to address the question of investment infrastructure?
CECIL McCAIN: Thank you very much. Like the experience in Kenya, Jamaica had a similar experience. When we liberalised the telecommunication sector in early 2000 there was a revolutionary change to the entire telecommunications sector, led by investments in voice.
The licensing regime allowed for the increased international bandwidth into Jamaica. With that came significant investments in terms of international bandwidth in Jamaica.
These investments, however, unfortunately did not translate into increased internet usage. In fact, the subscription rates for, for internet is below 10 per cent in Jamaica and that has been the challenge.
We see like Kenya, we realise that the government does need to play a role and as a result, through the Universal Service Fund we have brought the internet, we are bringing internet access through most communities to schools, libraries, post offices and thereby enabling the communities through which this backbone passed to have access to the internet.
We recognise however that the investments however need to be demand driven and that recognises as a major difficulties that governments have to deal with. How do you get demand? How do you create demand? Is it simply a case of, you know, providing how do you provide access to those in need, do you give them free connections? Do you give them discounted access or do you create services such that demand will be driven by need or perceived need?
I believe that the answer to increasing investment in broadband lies in us understanding the delicate balance between supply and demand and how do you stimulate investments which would generate adequate demand for broadband.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, and I will turn over to Jackie now I think and that has set quite the framework in addressing what I think remains the pressing question of both backhaul and last mile and demand and what can be done based on your experience, what are the trends in the industry in terms of the question in terms of how to invest infrastructure and how to address the question demand.
JACQUELIE RUFF: Thank you, let me first I am hearing an echo, I guess it is okay let me first describe Horizon Communications and the perspective we bring to this.
We are, in the United States, a very big provider of mobile services, fibre in the home, every type of infrastructure that you could think of, we also have a global network of undersea cables and we also provide enterprise services, cloud services around the world.
So I am bringing those perspectives as well as that of following trends generally and I think the previous speakers really set the foundation very nicely. I want to talk about what are some of the regulatory and public policy frameworks that we find to be conducive to getting private investment as part of that public/private partnership that was described.
So a few categories, one Dr Ndemo talked about and our moderator also talked about which is that if you want investment in one part of the chain of the infrastructure, it is very important to also have the other parts of that infrastructure be robust.
So that would be your international connectivity; your backhaul; your internet connection like ISP’s and then your last mile. So looking at those who maybe part of the private capital; the question then would be, are there barriers to that private sector type of investment? For example, foreign ownership limits or requirements if we are talking about certain services like cloud services. Are there requirements that actually stand in the way of certain types of services like a requirement to have all of your facilities in country rather than some being done through a cloud. Those kinds of things or technical requirements to use a certain technology or have import duties on hardware and software.
That is the examination of whether there are barriers, then are there incentives that could be adopted like tax policy; or the use of Universal Service Funds as was mentioned before; access to rights of way?
Are there pro competition policies? Is the spectrum policy pro competitive? Are the licensing policies flexible, as was mentioned in Jamaica? Is there a level playing field for various types of providers.
Another important factor, if you look at trends, is there a national plan, really putting all of the pieces together? And some of the most successful countries such as Korea have always had national plans that bring together agencies.
I also would just say, touch for a moment on the demand and creating that and I agree with the previous speakers that we really need to look at both of those, those questions. We find even in the U.S, we do not have as many people using broadband as is available and the surveys show that one of the primary factors is that they don’t think it is meaningful for them. It is not affordability even in our low income areas, and I recently saw a survey in Brazil that came up with exactly the same question. What is the service going to do for my life? Therefore I think we should talk during this panel about things like e health, e government, e education, distance learning; I know there is a lot of that in Africa for example. The more we can do that type of demand, I think the more we will close the gap between availability which is increasing and the actual usage.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you and if I can turn over to you, Satish, just, do you have any response to some of the remarks from the panel, as particularly I think on this question, it is I think we are moving towards a theme where it is infrastructure alone is not enough to ensure access. Can you perhaps share some of your thoughts on what, in response, on what we can do to overcome, to overcome this when we talk about access?
SATISH BABU: Thank you Ory. First of all we see there are two aspects to the question; that is infrastructure and there are the other factors that promote the use of infrastructure and drive demand.
On the infrastructure, from what I can hear, the various panelists, the points that have been made relate to the 4 aspects of the infrastructure, the backhaul, the last file the international and now the cloud. Now we do not necessarily have coherence among the policies that led to all this (inaudible) so the cloud is very new and the national policies do not not yet encompass all these 4 in the matter of, in a coherent manner. So I think that is one area we have to look at.
The other area relates to the other, the demand side of services for example, social innovation and the all the other e health and government and so on and SMEs and I believe the SMEs have a major role to play and we need to ensure that small businesses can also survive. Of course, the larger business perspectives for example, pro competitive regulation has already been mentioned and those of course they are not new and we continue to go for those kind of regulations, thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, I think another we have heard from the panel in the interests of time, I move over to Stuart, if you can provide, speak from the front, provide your input from the workshop where, where this issue was discussed, if you can make your intervention now. Thank you.
STUART HAMILTON: Thank you very much. My name is Stuart Hamilton, I am reporting back from workshop 1.30 which was on what policy makers want and how libraries and other community services can deliver in terms of public access to the internet. This was organised by IFLA, my organisation; electronic information for libraries and ISOC.
We had a full room; a very engaged discussion; remote participation and a panel made up of very diverse multi stakeholders to address this issue. We know that there are over 2 billion now online, but of course not all of them have public, have access to the internet in their own homes. So public access to the internet is an extremely important thing.
Our policy makers on the panel, which included representatives from Romania and from Bhutan, but we also touched on Ghana and Poland and many other countries. Talked about how they were exploring public access solutions to meet community needs and we discussed the policy makers want solutions that take advantage of existing infrastructure and expertise and also have the flexibility to partner with the private sector. So the workshop focused on libraries and how they can fit into this role.
The experience of our participants was that libraries are very well suited to this. They know their community; they understand their needs and they are able to tie their services not only to these needs but also to national policies and community policies for development and for access to information.
Libraries offer expertise and counselling; physical space; skills and training development; and access to some other things which you are not just going to get through mobile technology. Very often when people are looking for jobs they need to print out CV’s, they need to access printed documents and libraries offer these facilities.
We talked very much about the examples in the workshop about how the libraries are providing access to information on jobs; health information; services for women and children.
So in the interests of keeping this short, there is a full report on the IFLA website at www.ifla.org and the conversation will continue this afternoon in Room 7 at 2:30 when the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access Through Libraries meets for the first time. Thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thanks Stuart and for keeping it brief and comprehensive.
Did you have, so, I think before we take questions from the floor, I would like to allow for, are there any questions remotely from the remote participants? No questions, ok. I think we will open the questions up to the questions from the floor, if you can please.
Your name and organisation you are representing. Thank you.
SUBI CHATURVEDI: Hi, good morning my name is Subi Chaturvedi and I represent the academic and the civil society community from India. It is an important region, so to say, because we are discussing the issue of access and diversity and I couldn’t agree more with Karen that this is one of the most important sessions we can look at on the question and I am, I think I think it is extremely important that when we look at this region because when we are talking about enabling environments and that is the focus of this team. We are we are looking at an eco sphere that looks at facilitating infrastructure which can take us through not just being infrastructure to a point where it can facilitate penetration and broadband. I would like to start by giving you very briefly some of the numbers that we are looking at.
On the question of diversity, India has over 18 languages that are recognised in it’s Constitution. This is a rupee note that has about 15 scripts which are written out of respect for diversity. We have interesting levels of literacy, so there is literacy, no literacy and there is key pad literacy and that is where I am coming from. In terms of interventions and where we are at, there are about 700 million active mobile users, about 125 million users on the internet. There is a USO fund which looks at every user, every mobile telephone user in India contributing about 5 per cent of their charges on to the USO fund, which is the Universal Service Obligation, and just coming to two key points.
We have had a fantastic story as far as Telecom is concerned. This is one of the key revolutions of the unifying factors of this very diverse nation; other than railways, movies and cricket. And this has happened because we have a system that is worked locally; that is nimble footed; that has been able to do at least 3 national revisions unlike the system at the ITU which is, which last saw revisions 24 years ago and what might key point here is, when we are looking at access, we are looking at countries which are very diverse. So I believe a solution, a blanket solution which is being proposed at the moment that one size fits all, cannot be a solution because there are clearly models that have worked. I will just take about two seconds more, Ory, and I will end there.
I think it is a very important thing because we are having this conversation at the IGF and it is a bottoms up approach. We cannot look at facilitating access through a top down approach, especially at a platform where none of us are going to be there in the room, in the some of the most key decision making sessions.
So that is my submission, if we can look at more domestic, more local solutions and look at solutions which have actually worked and not try and reinvent the wheel. I think we owe it to our generations to come and this is a resource that is very, very crucial and important to all of us. Thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, thank you, thank you for your intervention. If you could have, I will take maybe 2 more questions, 2 or 3 more questions at the same time? If you could go and speak at the microphone? Is there anyone else with a question? Or intervention? Okay, right, can we start there since you are already at the mike.
NAVEEN TANDON: Good morning, my name is Naveen Tandon and I represent the Internet Providers Association. Just, not in the form of a question but just an observation and for the information and for everybody in the house, I would like to mention that infrastructures certainly is quite important and critical for the growth of access and diversity in a country. Here I would like to inform that India has specially taken a remarkable step in the formulation of a broadband plan and they have already tied up almost 4 million dollars which will be spent over the next 2 years to provide connectivity to almost 250,000 villages. On the policy front there have been major initiatives taken already. The National Telecom Policy of 2012 talks about growth avenues and they have been impressive growth targets for the broadband and the plan to achieve almost 600 million by 2020 and 175 million by 2017. The policy document does talks about the enabling framework for cloud; international connectivity and some pro, regulatory policy which will certainly help grow the Telecom sector. So we can have diversity; we can have talk about e governance content but unless until we have the required infrastructure in place, the required highway is not in place; then it is very difficult to provide connectivity to especially who are there in the rural areas who really don’t understand what the internet means unless they actually see it. Thank you very much.
ORY OKOLLOH: These, these documents online for people who might want to take a look.
NAVEEN TANDON: Oh yes, and after the meeting is over, I can certainly share these documents, I can share my card and accordingly share those documents with you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Ok, fantastic. Thank you.
FATIMA CAMBRONERO: Hello, my name is Fatima Cambromero, I am ISOC Ambassador but I will speak in my personal capacity.
The question is, there has been tremendous growth in international undersea cable capacity around the world including in Africa. Where are the solution that will help bring with this capacity from the coast and major cities and into the area. Thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, if I can ask Dr Ndemo to speak and share his experience, because we are, that is something we are actually working on, if any other panelists would like to respond as well.
BITANGE NDEMO: I want to add on what I said with respect to the experience in Kenya. Initially we focused on the demand side of the broadband and what we are working now is, we worked on the supply side of broadband and we are now focussing on the demand side by doing a lot more to make sure that those who are not connected are indeed connected to especially in the rural areas. As you know in Africa most rural areas take much longer but we have invested in terms of creating rural digital centres which will be used mostly with the education and access to many other services.
At the same time we have got them into local application development and this is the fastest growing area now and some of the applications are targeting the rural populations. Most of you probably know Kenya has been the lead with respect to mobile money and also we are coming up with other applications targeting the health care sector, the agricultural sector. We, responding to my colleague here from Jamaica, and as Jackie said, there is a way of creating demand for the supply that is increasing. Indeed in Kenya we say, that actually, what at some point people saw in the movie Field of Dreams, we say, they said “build it and they will come”. We are very happy with the uptake of broadband in Kenya and it didn’t not just happen; it is the government specifically worked on the demand side and by digitising, providing some of the services that I have said, then you actually get the balance you need and then ensure that everybody participates in the realm of the ICT.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you, Janis? You had an intervention?
JANIS KARKLINS: Yes, thank you. I would like to strengthen this point on very clear link between infrastructure and content. It is little bit chicken and egg problem. You cannot have infrastructure without having also a content, because if there is no use of infrastructure; there is no return on investment; there is no possibility of reinvesting these funds which have been received by offering services. And of course you can not provide services if you do not have infrastructure.
From other point, we need also to understand that there should be right policies because, the study which UNESCO, OECD and ISOC did last year proved that there is a very, direct and positive correlation between the volume of local content which is kept on local internet infrastructure, which includes also local ISP’s and the access price with local internet users are paying. More local content you have; if you have right policy and if you have ISP; the quality of service will be better and the access price will be lower; bit paradoxical, but that is what happens.
We did it with the assumption, two assumptions which are proven to be correct that the majority of consumption of locally is consumption of local content.
And another assumption which we made was that the local traffic always is cheaper than international traffic. So, therefore, I think we need to speak about both simultaneously investment and infrastructure and also stimulation of production of local content.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you. If one last intervention I think, Peter you wanted to say?
PETER MAJOR: Thank you, I just want to follow up on what Mr Karklins said and I want to react to the comments of the Indian lady about the local initiatives. Being on the Dynamic Coalition of Disability, we have a very good UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities which has been signed by 154 countries of the 193.
However if you look at the bottlenecks of the implementation it is mostly the local initiatives and basically, that the heart at the matter. The local initiatives are to be really forced so that to be encouraged. Thank you.
ORY OKOLLOH: And the last, last, you have the honours of making the last intervention; it has been a great session.
CECIL McCAIN: Thank you, I believe that indeed one of the challenges is that the balance between supply and demand and most governments focus on the supply side.
When the government of Jamaica started to focus on the demand side; we found that we needed to deal with a number of issues. Literacy as was found in India; content, and access to financing of SMEs who the, one for the major driving forces to putting content online. And we found that you know, it is in addressing these issues that you would address an issue of sustainable demand. Most countries often pay for internet bandwidth for persons but this is not sustainable demand, we have to generate sustainable demand so that the industry itself can grow. I believe that is what we need to focus on in terms of ensuring that there is a growth of internet usage within our countries.
ORY OKOLLOH: Thank you very much and with that, I will hand over for the next session to Karen.
KAREN ROSE: Thanks so much Ory and I think this next session is a great follow on from what we have been discussing. We noted in that panel, that in order for infrastructure and for demand to be there, there needs to be content and there needs to be a relevancy for getting that connection.
In this session we will talk about mobile and innovation in particular. And the framing question here is: What does it take to create opportunities and for entrepreneurs; for youth and other developing country stakeholders to participate in mobile innovation and mobile development?
Where are the linkages with local content? What more needs to be done to promote those opportunities from becoming just a mobile phone user; to a mobile data innovator and to start off I would like to turn to Dr Kamel.
TAREK KAMEL: Thank you Karen for giving me this opportunity and before I talk about mobile and innovation, I wanted to share some statistics with the audience, about the overall mobile and internet evolution. According to the ITU numbers, we have over 6 billion mobile users worldwide; 1.5 billion fixed phone users. We have according to the ICANN statistics, over 3 billion IPP; we have 4 (sic) addressees and 200 million domain names and we have over 1 billion mobile users that are using the internet. Or more or less according to that numbers.
In 2015 we are expecting to have 3.5 (sic) mobile users using the internet. One of the fastest growing rates worldwide and the fastest growing industries worldwide.
So if we want to reflect that on the developing countries very specifically and I am going to pick up Africa as an example, ICANN has been recently doing a strategy for Africa or developing a strategy for Africa together with the African Union and the African community and there has been a number of interesting observations that I would like to share with the panel.
The African mobile penetration is to 100% which is more or less the world average. We have around 750 to 800 million mobile African users.
The number of internet users however in Africa are around 150 million, which is something like around 15 to 20% of the overall population and around the 6.5% of the global internet, global internet users. However the number of growth of the mobile internet users in Africa is double digit and is exceeding 40% which is one of the highest growth rates worldwide. In addition to that we have a number of observations. Janis Karklins has mentioned one of them that are clearly consumer shifts in Africa. The mobile internet has exceeded the fixed internet by far. We have for the first time as well that the user is generating his own content and in addition to that; that the growing traffic in data has, and video has exceeded for the first time the growing rates in traffic in and in voice. What does this mean? That we are now being confronted with a new platform of mobile connectivity in Africa that is enabling the economy and this is enabling social economic growth.
But we need to take it to the next level. It is not only just basic connectivity and it is not just basic access. We need to take it to the next level that it really fosters innovation and contributes to the overall GDP growth in the Africa nations. There are wonderful examples for applications in e commerce, in Africa and Kenya and in other parts of Africa but I would like to tackle a very important issues which is related to the development of the logical infrastructure on top of this physical infrastructure. We talked about content but between the layers of content and the physical infrastructure we have a missing layer which is enabling of the domain name industry. This is where we want to focus within the next couple of years, specifically to empower young entrepreneurs and to empower innovation and to empower incubators and the establishment of incubators for start ups to enable the domain name industry, because it is one of the driver for content development as has been mentioned. We need to build on the success that we have witnessed in the African continent and in any parts and in other parts of the world from a developing countries perspective and the develop the next layer really that enables entrepreneurship and enables innovation and I think we have a wonderful opportunity to do that in Africa and outside Africa.
The next billion internet users are definitely coming from the developing countries and it is estimated that within the next 20 years we will add another 4 to 5 billion internet users; probably most of them coming from the developing countries.
The population in our part of the world is a young population and 60 per cent of the population are under the age of 30 years which gives another opportunity for innovation and for driving innovation for us. I think we need to be working together on a road map for building on the success that happened in the mobile industry, specifically in Africa and in the developing countries adding the next layer that would foster content development and specifically multi lingual content development, realise that mobile internet advances economy through innovation and it provides a wonderful global launchpad for ideas that will really generate tomorrow’s great economic opportunities
MS ROSE: Dr Kamel, I think that is
DR KAMEL: with the power of creative thought and risk taking and never innovation has really had a fertile field to grow like it has now through the mobile industry simply because it ubiquitous and it is borderless so we have a wonderful opportunity really to mesh the young population in the world in a new innovative form using the new innovative platform that really enables the risk taking young entrepreneurs from all over the world to come together and we need to provide them with the opportunities and not to marginalise them from the developing countries. Thank you.
MS ROSE: Thank you Dr Kamel. I think your comment were a wonderful segue to Dr Ndemo.
De Ndemo, Kenya has been put forward, lauded, focused on, for the innovation it has had particularly in the mobile area, the development of iHubs, the development of the industry of mobile applications for youth, for entrepreneurs.
I am wondering if you could tell a little bit about what is going on in Kenya and what the government is doing and what the government is thinking about promoting opportunities for entrepreneurs and youth with mobile technology.
DR NDEMO: Thank you. I will go straight to the answer. The secret in Kenya is that the government has provided open government data which has enabled the youth to create many applications that are coming up.
We are beginning to incubate some of this new start ups, we are looking while away to find investors to come and partner with these young start ups and to grow them and then we are creating an eco system that would ensure that we continuously get into innovation.
The secret for any government to succeed you must provide the ingredients for innovation. That is data. That is how we are able to get into, like, agriculture where we are trying to digitise data; healthcare where we are digitising data there to create the applications; the financial sector; the government itself.
There is no secret. It is just open the data, the youth will do the rest. That is what Kenya is doing. Thank you.
MS ROSE: Thanks, Dr Ndemo. I would like to turn to Mr Babu. Your area is in open source, open platforms.
How does open source and open platform technology merge with mobile to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and the growth of content.
MR BABU: Thank you. First of all, the digital opportunity that the mobile platforms represent open up a very large area especially for micro enterprises and micro entrepreneurs because the people that you are talking about are at the grassroots, at the edge.
What is really opening up is a mobile marketplace, a market place that is at the grass roots. It about local content, it is about local language content as well.
One of the factors that has put in shil to implement the development of such a large market place with micro enterprises is open source.
As we see today, the most innovative, some of the largest numbers of innovation as well the innovations with the maximum outreach is actually happening on the open platforms. Currently, as an example, Android is leading the fray.
We have an extraordinarily kind of mind boggling number of innovations that are happening and mostly by the young people. Since it is open zone, since there are no barriers, since the platforms are open, since there is a community that offers support for the development process, since there is also a group of people that we can borrow ideas from, this whole ideation process, the refinement of ideas, the open source paradigm actually makes all these processes much more simple and more viable.
In particular, the technologies used are open source. There are no barriers either of price or of licensing that prevent you from experimenting. Innovation happens through experimentation, so from that perspective I think open source is definitely one of the very major contributing factors to the emerging digital opportunities and the market place itself. Thank you.
MS ROSE: Thanks, with that I am wondering if, Jackie Ruff, you have any thoughts or comments base on what has been said by our panelists.
MS RUFF: Sure. I would like to tie together two trends that we have been discussing here. One is the huge expansion of mobile high speed internet because we really are in a new phase where there is a technology, LTE, long term evolution that it is called, that is being adopted around the world and allows for very high speed high quality mobile broadband and obviously in the developing world that is going to be the future.
You combine that with what was mentioned earlier on, Cloud services, you’ve got the high speed right here on your desk, in your lap, whatever, and then you have the ability to have the content and many of the functionalities elsewhere so you don’t have to have, if you’re a small business, that huge set of hardware in your own office. A lot of things can happen elsewhere.
I think that this is key to innovation for so many of the different groups that we’ve talked about because you can immediately get innovative services that are available in a way they’ve never been before and then use those services to further create innovation.
The final thought on all of that is to ask the question what is the policy environment? Now, on Cloud services there are a lot of things that are new about them but in many ways they are similar to global services that we have had all along.
We need to make a careful look at do we need new rules? Maybe some but maybe not very many, in order to allow this innovative combination to really flourish and look at that very, very carefully. There is a lot of thinking being discussed even here at this conference so we’re in the midst of all this. Thank you.
MS ROSE: We will open the floor up to questions in a moment but I would like to ask Cecil McCain if you can provide observations on the issue from your part of the world.
MR MCCAIN: Thank you very much, Karen. Certainly the experience of Kenya is notable. In the Caribbean certainly this has been a challenge. We have had internet penetrations of over 100 per cent for the last five years throughout the Caribbean, yet the mobile use in terms of data has been very slow.
Certainly access to open data and applications, open source applications, would certainly help to drive the development of innovation within that context.
One of the challenges of course being in the western part of the world is that Cloud services which are available in our part of the world does come with a cost and so it is difficult for the youth to invest in terms of doing experimentation to create services, to create applications through Cloud services. Similarly, for small businesses it is difficult because there is a cost component which would not normally have been there so we would have to look at the cost context to determine how can we find that balance in terms to make it cost effective to put your services on line, to access your services on line, to access your information on line.
Certainly we are going to need to develop on the open content aspect of things and we believe throughout the Caribbean as recently there has been a lot of apps development competitions which are driving not just the youth but persons from within the communities to develop local content, local applications, local services to be delivered over the internet but, more importantly, over mobile phones and I believe that is where we need to focus our attention in terms of driving development of innovation and mobile services. We need to focus on that aspect of things. Thank you.
MS ROSE: I would like to open the floor to questions and while people are coming up, Janis, you wanted to respond.
MR KARKLINS: Actually I wanted to add one dimension in this discussion and suggest that mobile technology and I am not speaking exclusively about mobile phones but also I mean all mobile devices has a great potential in delivery of education services.
In UNESCO we are now working, first of all, to understand how mobile technologies could be better used in the education process to understand and stimulate the use for mobile technologies in education.
We also think that mobile technologies could be a very good tool to address literacy issues. Unfortunately, still today we have about 10 per cent of the population in the world, around 775 million, which are illiterate. 46 per cent of them are women and girls who live in areas sub Saharan Africa and Asia.
These are areas where fixed internet infrastructure is not present and mobile technology could be used to reach out those women and girls and illiterate people and provide them basic literacy training.
UNESCO launched last year the mobile phone literacy programme for empowering women and girls.
Annually we are holding the mobile literacy week at UNESCO and next year it will take place a week before the Business Review Conference in Paris. It will be mid February 2013. Thank you.
MS ROSE: I think we have a question from our remote participants.
RAQUEL GATTO: Thank you, Karen. In fact, we have the lead discussion, remote discussion, Ermanno Pietrosemoli who wants to share by voice his comments.
ERMANNO PIETROSEMOLI: Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
MS ROSE: Yes.
ERMANNO PIETROSEMOLI: Yes, I am interested in the topic about access. Despite all the advances that have been made in providing fibre optic (inaudible) of Africa and other continents as well, there is still a lack of penetration throughout the area and in many instances the rate of return is just not there to pick the provider for the services in (inaudible) areas, in rural areas.
I think that there is room for alternative technologies that are much more cost effective and that can be the (inaudible) organisation in a local communities and in this I want to call attention to the fact that there have been instances of this low cost wireless communication, data communication, not just for voice but to support the kind of services for education and health (inaudible) in rural area. If you want to develop those areas in part with (inaudible) have already these kind of services.
MS ROSE: Thank you.
ERMANNO PIETROSEMOLI: I think there is an opportunity
MS ROSE: Thank you for the comment. Do you have more on your comment?
ERMANNO PIETROSEMOLI: Yes. I would also like to talk about the possibility of using a spectrum that is currently useful actually for looking for different systems that can be also used for the way we (inaudible) other areas in which those channels are not really being used. So these are the two things I want to talk about and call attention about that are ways to provide connectivity in (inaudible) in these populated areas, thank you.
MS ROSE: Thank you very much. We have a question another question from the floor and we will ask our panellists to respond to what they have heard.
Go ahead, please.
NATALIA ENCISO: My name is Natalia Enciso. I am ISOC Ambassador and I am speaking from my capacity. In many developing countries the primary means of access is mobile phones. For example, in Paraguay the mobile penetration is higher than internet penetration but should we accept internet access from mobile phone sufficient? Should developing countries be demanding more? Thank you.
MS ROSE: Okay, one more question and then we will turn back to our panellists for responses.
MS ARIDA: Okay, it is more of a reflection my name is Christine Arida and I am from the National Telecom Regulator in Egypt and I also represent the Arab IGF Secretariat.
I would like to welcome the comments that were made by Dr Tarek Kamel regarding the development of the domain name industry in developing countries and I just want to make a reflection that this was actually thoroughly discussed in our Arab IGF meeting last month and participants to the Arab IGF meeting have expressed a call to all international partners, such as ICANN and others, to actually work hand in hand with the community in the Arab region to develop this industry as actually a catalyst for developing the content industry. Thank you.
MS ROSE: Thank you so much, we would like to keep this part of the Panel focussed on mobile in particular. We had a lot of really interesting comments. They ranged from regulatory issues and possible technical issues about using unused spectrum, using mobile to get to rural and remote communities, as well one of the key question of, you know, is mobile access enough?
In the previous section the report out from the libraries workshop noted that sometimes you need to print, sometimes you need a computer. Should we be satisfied with just mobile phone access for data, so I will turn to Dr Kamel briefly, please. Thank you.
MR KAMEL: Thank you. Just two reflections about the comments from the floor as well as from the remote participation. The question from Paraguay asking whether we would be satisfied with mobile access for internet utilisation. I think the answer is probably yes.
As it has been mentioned before in the Panel, the technology is getting very advanced. LTE is providing today the mobile users with high speed access. We have to have the right policies from a spectrum allocation point of view in order really to make sure that the evolution of mobile internet happens on a wider scale, specifically in sub Saharan Africa and many part of the developing countries.
Honestly, we don’t have another choice because starting to lay fibres and starting to lay extensive infrastructure is going to be very difficult.
The second reflection that I want to talk about from the remote participation: return on investment for the infrastructure. Yes, indeed the developing countries are having a challenge, a global challenge, for the return on investment on broadband connectivity whether mobile or fixed. As it has been mentioned in the last segment of our conversation.
It is becoming a global policy issue that the world really is addressing those days and this can only happen via fostering investment in value added services and content services and trying really to foster innovation in this direction. That is the only solution.
MS ROSE: Thanks.
DR NDEMO: Thank you, I want to respond to the question on use of new technologies to cover areas, especially in Africa where we have not been able to cover.
There is a point I want to make that it is not that Africans cannot afford broadband, even in the rural areas. What has been lacking is local content that is relevant to their needs and government has a role to play in this.
People need services in government and they are not able to access them. They spend so much money to go accessing these services. Some of them can actually be offered through on line services.
This is where government in Africa must begin to automate, put most of the records into digital format. You would be able to get sufficient demand, sufficient demand to enable the kind of returns where we are talking we.
We cannot be talking about the returns without creating the demand and accessing internet through mobile, I would say it is not sufficient. If you see what we are doing in Kenya, even where we want to cover with LTE you must have backhaul through fibre optics to most of the base stations so that you can have the robustness in the last mile.
Then the neighbouring countries, especially the land locked countries, we don’t see any borders, especially the East African broadband network, which goes into other countries. These are some of the arrangements that can be made but, more important, we must focus on creating content that is relevant to the people.
There will be resources because rural people spend millions of dollars trying to access government services.
The other point I want to, the last point I want to add here that we have been talking to software providers to change their business models especially those that have ARPs, we are asking them use the Cloud so that SMEs can afford accessing this kind of software and offer the service that are necessary.
This has paid very well. These are some of the techniques we must use. We must constantly work on the demand side as we have done with supply side of broadband. Thank you.
MS ROSE: I know Satish wants to make an intervention as well as Cecil but very, very briefly, one last comment pretty brief, please, from the floor and we will take that with the last two panellist responses.
MR AJWANI: Thank you, Rose, my name is Naresh Ajwani. I am President of CCAOI. While I appreciate Mr Karklins referring about illiteracy as a challenge I wonder how phones can help because I personally feel for illiteracy you need an assistance and assistance cannot be facilitated through the phones. It can be only through a public internet cross.
Somewhere we all understand and acknowledge that some kind of an intervention is taking place where even the libraries are closing down and public internet crosses are closing down and we really cannot reach to that kind of a segment at the bottom of (inaudible) without the help of public (inaudible) costs .
My request would be if the panellists can really make me understand what are the plans in that regard. Thank you.
MS ROSE: Cecil, go ahead. Why don’t you take that.
MR MCCAIN: In a way, the comment I was going to be making, the comment just made takes me directly onto it which is one of the things that governments must do is that they must create a regulator framework and foster development of appropriate data sharing and authentification platforms which will foster innovation in mobile technology.
Yes, you have to go to libraries to print as it is but it does not mean that you cannot transfer information securely over mobile services and so these are some of the types of things that we need to focus on in ensuring that our peoples, our citizens, are able to seamlessly transact business in a secure environment, minimal need to access additional resources such as printing services, et cetera, because you can actually spend money on line, you can actually exchange money on line using mobile phone, et cetera, et cetera.
We need to ensure that the governments themselves need to ensure that that regulatory framework is in place and that there are investments as well to foster the data sharing platforms that are going to facilitate and ensure that when the libraries close down people can still exchange information using mobile services without having to go and print things.
MR BABU: Thank you, I have two quick points. The first is about the point raised by the remote participant about local networking. This is obviously quite useful in places where the terrain is very distributed but there is another use for this which is very important and I think it should be flagged and this is for the use in disaster situations when the conventional mobile communication towers have failed or broken down.
These are very simple and easy to kind of set up and to kind of use so these are clearly used for disaster situations.
The second is regarding entry devices, network entry devices, the debate is on mobile phones but the definition of a mobile phone is a bit broader than just a hand phone. A mobile device is anything, for example, a pad. A pad is something far more useful approaching in terms of computational power to a laptop or even better than that probably. It can be used in a variety of situations, ranging from a fishing boat to a back country farm where the laptop cannot be used.
If in a micro credit group 15 women are sitting under a tree and they are having a meeting. You cannot use a desktop machine there but a pad is quite appropriate for that context. What I am saying is the entry devices of the network are changing and we have to take note of the fact we are not talking only about hand phones but a variety of other devices that are coming in.
MS ROSE: Thanks for that. I think that brings us into a nice segue to our next section, which is on empowerment. In the mobile and innovation are we touched on issues of e education, e health, government services, how to bring things to people in the rural and remote areas and I will turn it over to Ory to take us through the human empowerment section.
MS OKOLLOH: Thanks, Karen. I have taken bit of privilege as moderator to change the question around a little bit.
I think the theme was around how women can be empowered and as a woman in tech who has had a pretty successful run in the last five to six years in technology, it is an area that is very dear to me. Certainly, I’ve found technology to be very empowering for me as a woman and particularly an African woman. I don’t think I could have had the career I have had in any other field except for technology.
I would like us to address this question from a broader view from how can whether the opportunities, because there are opportunities, in terms of making internet access more inclusive and how can communities I think we will address language later on just would like to focus on women and on the disabled in this particular session.
One is around there are opportunities, you think about things, technologies like Siri and voice search and all of that that address perhaps people with challenges and you think about things like mobile money and the role it can play for women and small owned businesses which are usually run by women.
There are opportunity on the one hand but there are challenges in terms of their participation, in terms of being harassed on line. I would like to tackle those two: what are the opportunity for being more inclusive and what are the challenges, what are the barriers around making the internet more diverse.
Jac, if I might start with you first.
JAC SM KEE: I think going back to the initial framing of the question it also mentioned empowerment. I think when we talk about empowerment what we really mean is how can access to the internet help women realise the full range of their rights how can it help them really exercise the broad range of their rights and why talk about women.
I think earlier I’m really appreciative of Janis to bring up the gap, you know, the issue around literacy and the issue around two thirds of the world population of illiterate adults are made up of women. I think literacy is as big issue in terms of access to the internet in the first place and acce