IGF-USA 2015 Plenary – Connecting the Next Billion

IGF-USA 2015 Plenary – Connecting the Next Billion


>>MANU BHARDWAJ: Good afternoon and a welcome
to our IGF USA Plenary session on connecting the next billion. At the onset I want to thank
a few folks, the organizers, Marilyn Cade, Garland McCoy, and Judith Hellerstein, for organizing
both this session and for chairing these last few days the very diverse IGF USA multistakeholder working group that, as the Under Secretary mentioned, is discussing and formulating possible high level policy options on connectivity for the global IGF.
We have a very strong panel today for this discussion. Let me just begin with the gentleman
on my right. Kevin Martin, our former FCC Chairman, now at Facebook. To his right Sonia
Jorge, the executive director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet. A former U.S. Government
colleague of mine Jane Coffin, once at NTIA, and now at ISOC. And another former USG colleague,
Will Hudson, who is now at Google, and to his his right, Christopher Burns from USAID on the
Digital Development Team, who is doing a lot of the work that the Under Secretary described
in her remarks, and finally, very excited that we were able to have Madura from
Comcast join us to talk a lot about their work with digital literacy that’s been taking place.
To set the scene a bit for our panel, I wanted to start with a picture of two worlds, a connected
world and an unconnected world. Originally we had envisioned that this panel would take place in a different auditorium and we’d have the visual slides for you all, but essentially,
you know, with this picture I think this will still work.
In the connected world we have 3.16 billion users, 800 million Tweets a day, 127 billion
emails a day, 20 billion photos on Instagram, 300 hours of video uploaded to Youtube
every minute, 1.43 billion Facebook users. As the Under Secretary noted, in this world
all this exciting connectivity is bringing unprecedented access to education, medicine, information, and global markets. Then we have an unconnected world. Some statistics
show that, unbelievably, almost 60% of the world is without access to the Internet. If you
look at some of the maps that showcase this divide, it is quite stark the picture that
you have between where you see connectivity and where you don’t. And some statistics
show, and ITU-based statistics particularly show, that developed countries tend to have a 77% adoption rate and developing countries are lagging far behind at 31%. And actually when you look at these statistics there hasn’t been much of a, a close in the digital divide over time, which I think, is most distressing.
To help us make sense of all this, I now turn to our panelists for their impressions and
also for information on how their company, or their organization, is working to help
both the unconnected, that we’ve talked about, but also maybe the underconnected, those that
may be using the Internet only once a week, once a month. but that we could really see
much higher Internet user rates. And so let me just turn immediately to my right, Kevin,
Facebook leadership has done a terrific job to bringing attention to this issue and we
are grateful for that. Maybe you could give us a sense of the current activities that
are underway at Facebook.>>KEVIN MARTIN: So Facebook’s, you know, mission is to try to connect the world and share more information more easily. And so they think that solving
this digital divide problem is critical from a policy perspective, and for all of our use.
And so they, they think that there is really three root causes to it. There is some places that some folks have lack of infrastructure, but there is a significant number of people that cost is a barrier. And then there’s
also a significant number of people that the uh, don’t appreciate the underlying value, and the
proposition that the Internet can provide. And so that’s some combination of the cost that is provided, and not enough localized services that would draw their attention, And Facebook has made this part of its mission to try and solve this, so they are going to have a multifaceted approach to try and
address all three of those. And so they do have, through their connectivity labs, a variety of projects that are trying to look at ways in which they can use technological advances to connect people who have no infrastructure access today, and they were alluded to in the last panel in terms of, UAVs and drones as ways to extend access. And they’ve got some smaller projects where they’re trying to develop the opportunity to have access in some, some, in Heliopolis, it’s a poor suburb of Brazil, for example, where they are going to provide Internet access by traditional wireless technologies. To try to address some of the cost issues and see what the results are there. And then they’ve been very active in developing partnerships with carriers to try and address this value problem, as we just were talking about, in which they would, in which they provide a set, a suite of basic services
that address many of the areas that were talked about in the previous speakers and Ms. Novelli’s
speech about health and educational information and access to basic e-commerce, basic communications functionality. And so they’ve developed an internet.org platform that’s open to anyone who can meet the technical criteria to be able to provide those slimmed down services. To provide people with an opportunity to get an introduction to some of the online basic services are, as a way of trying to migrate people on to the full Internet usage after that. So they have tried to find ways to
address all three prongs of this problem.>>MANU BHARDWAJ: Thank you. Sonia, the Under
Secretary mentioned the 2014 report of the Alliance for the Affordable Internet and it
would be great to get your take on what you think we should be doing more of.
>>SONIA JORGE: So for those of you who do not know the Alliance, we are a global coalition
of public/private civil society organizations that have come together to really work on
reforming policy and regulatory frameworks in developing countries so that we have the kinds of conditions that the Under Secretary mentioned, that will allow for affordable access, and
affordable adoption and use of the Internet to be a reality in developing countries. And
so because we focus very much on policy and regulation, as one of the critical areas,
that we see needs to be worked on to facilitate things like the technology that Kevin was
just mentioning that Facebook and many other technology companies that work with us are
developing, it’s very important that not only those technologies are made possible, and many
a lot of innovation is made possible in developing countries but we definitely want to ensure
that the kind of investment, for example, that is taking place in developing countries
is one that’s optimized, is one that is not just focusing on expanding infrastructure
for the sake of expanding infrastructure. but to think about expanding infrastructure
in such a way that the 80% of Nigerians that live under the poverty line actually would be able to afford the type of Internet services that can be made available to them, if that infrastructure
was there to provide those services. So we work on really pushing for policy and
regulatory reform that not only focuses on definitely investing in infrastructure and
expanding as it was highlighted earlier, but in new ways, in ways that are focusing on
reducing the overall costs. We also work on areas such as spectrum policy so that in many
countries where spectrum has been very limited, especially for broadband that not only becomes
more available but most importantly again because we focus on affordability and the
cost equation that is available at much reduced prices. So that countries do not think that
spectrum is yet another way to simply increase the amount of resources in a country’s coffers,
but it is really a way of defining public policy to bring about the kind of access and
the kind of views that we would like to see their citizens have benefit from and have
access to. So when we think about a spectrum we very
much work with Governments and other stakeholders in countries so that, for example, unlicensed spectrum can be utilized, so that other forms of spectrum licenses can be experimented with,
so that many new entrepreneurs can have the ability to bring about new options of access,
especially to rural areas where many of those that live under the poverty are located. So
we really look at a spectrum of issues, those are just two examples. But the key point that
I would like to make, and also to link to what Manu started the panel with, is the really incredible
statistics on what we see the Internet and the online world to be today,The reality
for us at A4AI is that we are trying to make change, and to impact change that will bring
about the many billions that are not on line yet. This is a very interesting, exciting
world where the majority of the people of the world, two thirds of the world’s population cannot benefit from, and that’s what we are trying to have an impact on and change through
policy and regulatory reform.>>MANU BHARDWAJ: Jane, you do an incredible
amount of work on ISOC on this issue. It would be great to get your take on everything.>>JANE COFFIN: Thank you very much for having us here today. We really are a keen supporter
of local, regional and the mother IGF, if you can call it that. I am going to speak
about some very practical projects that we have been working on. One is in Bolivia, landlocked
country, one of two in South America. Colleagues of mine from our regional bureau
are working with other partners like Packet Clearing House, Cisco, the Government of Bolivia,
and local Internet service providers, come together in what we call a sustainable layered
approach, engagement after engagement after engagement, where we’ve had to come in do things
like tell them that Raspberry Pi’s are not spy devices, where we’re trying to measure
the network. We are trying to take a glimpse of what’s happening in Bolivia, building
Internet Exchange Points, working with the Government to understand why a neutral bottom up
IXP, local governance is important for cheaper, better faster traffic, and also for local
traffic exchange, versus just over a border where long haul costs are much more expensive.
The second project that we will talk about is the Wireless for Communities project. It is a project
that weve been working on in a rural Indian villages, high mountain villages. There’s
one specific example that I will highlight in a region called Telonia. There’s a, it’s called the
Barefoot University, connecting two campuses, over 500 people, 250 villages. Everything
from cyber cafes, women empowerment issues, and rural electrification projects for solar.
So I know this is a favorite topic of Garland’s, I wanted to bring it up today. But this is something where we’re looking at small, scalable projects. We do hope to take these to a much higher
level in other parts of the world, but what we’re talking about are areas where we have
seen progress. We know where small projects are working. And we’re training local people
to train each other. This is another key aspect where that sustainability is critical.
The other project that I’ll mention is something very important and dear to us, on peering and interconnection. We helped create something called the African
Peering and Interconnection Forum. And if my colleague Karen Rose is in the room, a huge shout out to Karen Rose and our local African team. This was something we started about seven to eight years ago, first just bringing people
together to see where the technical experts where they were in the country, how many existed,
did they have local Internet Exchange Points, or not, and how we can help them. And I will note
that we don’t just jump in and say we’re here to help. We work with local people to
see whether or not they want us to come in and do what we do, which is to try and train
them more. So the African Peering and Interconnection
Forum is an event that is held every year. We bring fellows, we provide fellowships and bring people from over 21 Internet Exchange Points in rural
remote parts and urban parts of Africa to help provide connectivity. This is bottom up
technical expertise. People who are learning together. We help provide funding for that
event, but we bring them together to try to create more connectivity. Over time, some
experts, that we have been working with, have learned how to scale up their networks. I know
this may sound like small, a small change on the megabits to gigabit side, but we’re looking
at 80 megabits in one Internet Exchange Point in Malawi going up to 800. What does that
mean? It means that they’re attracting local content delivery. Networks are attracting
international content delivery networks. It means there are more people who have access and
we have found that there is a lot of latent demand. So there’s a lot of great work that’s going on. Small projects, which can be scaled up. So we try to come in at a sustainable, local, regional level, and do what we can to bring that to other regions where they would like
us to come, and do the work we do.>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So Will, it’s always great
when we see a company take innovative approaches to really extend the benefits of connectivity. You
may have two examples, both with Project Link, and Pproject Loon, but we really look forward
to kind of your views on what Google is doing.>>WILL HUDSON: This is heavier than I thought
it would be. So again thanks for having us and thanks you all for sitting here on a Thursday
afternoon when it’s beautiful outside. To talk about this really important topic, what I
would like to do, is talk a little bit about what Google is doing and sort of pivot from that a little
bit. You know, most people here know that Google’s mission from the beginning, you know,
that sort of refrain, of making the world’s information universally accessible and useful. In order
to do that, right, and we do it in a variety of ways through products like search, or maps, or whatever. And other companies are engaged in similar endeavors with their own products. The users have to
actually have access to that data, right? And it needs to be the right data. It needs
to be useful and relevant to them where they are. And so, you know, Google’s done a lot
of work in this space, but we’re not, we’re far from the only ones as you’ve heard already, and
will hear as we go down the line, and I think the watchword for us, has always been sort of the importance of being innovative and being flexible in your approach. Sort of understanding what
the local users, and community, needs and then figuring out a way to get that to them. So, as Manu mentioned, with Project Link, it was an endeavor that we started a couple of years ago in Kampala, where we looked, we looked at sort of several layers of the access stack there, and on the one hand, there’s been tremendous growth in undersea cables connecting many parts of the African
continent, and in Kampala there has been a lot of working building out mobile networks
in the cities. But what hadn’t happened was sort of a, you know, major urban broadband
network that would allow those two things to talk to one another. So what happened is
that you had a fast connection coming in to the shore, the capability for a fast connection in the city, but nothing to connect the two to let the users really use the Internet as it
was meant to be. And so Link is essentially that project. It is an urban fiber network in Kampala,
that importantly it isn’t for Google to use. We’re not, we are not an ISP there. We’re not providing connectivity. What we are doing, to end users. what we are doing is providing shared infrastructure so that ISPs and mobile providers in that community can use that network to provide their own services.
And what I think, you know, to go from that I think what I would just underscore, and then I will let other people talk, which will be more interesting, is sort of, an approach like that worked there. There might be different problems in a different environment and that’s why when
you see the work that Google is doing it’s, you know, it’s, there is stuff like Link, as
Manu mentioned, there’s Project Loon, which is essentially trying to provide Internet access through balloons flying through the air, which the engineering aspects of that are, are far beyond
me. But what I will say, is that it underscores this need to think outside the box, try and meet
users where they are, and deal with the geography that you have, rather than getting too wrapped
up around delivering, delivering the Internet in a certain way. And at the back end, of course, is the
sort of, once people have the Internet what do they do with it, and is it, is it something that
changes their lives like it’s changed all of ours, which is why we are all here, right? And for that you need locally relevant content. And you need the people that understand the Internet,
understand how to take, you know, how to use it, how to interact with it. That’s what
I know, we will hear from, later, in terms of digital literacy products, but I think it
is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that this isn’t just about access,
or sort of, connecting people. It is also about making sure that they understand, and have an appreciation,
and the skills, to do something innovative with it themselves, right? With all this innovation to get it there, let’s let them continue to innovate once they have it, and I think that’s
what we really need to be focused on the sort of life cycle of bridging this gap.
>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So, back at the department. as we have been thinking about our connectivity
initiative, we’ve been a very close partnership and refinement with our friends at AID, and
it is great to have Christopher Burns here with the digital development team, and we really
look forward to your thought, thoughts Chris, both on the concept of unconnected, but this concept of under-connected folks that maybe are only using the Internet once a week, once a month.
How does the Digital Development team look at this, and what are some of your projects
that you are focusing on?>>CHRISTOPHER BURNS: Great. Thanks Manu, and thanks also to everyone for being here this afternoon. I am not going to pretend to speak on behalf of all of USAID. There is certainly a lot of stuff going on around the world. I’m not even going to capture the breadth of what our team is doing, though we do deliver a week-long training on Digital
Development for USAID officials around the world. But as a starting point, just for the purposes
of this conversation, most our work is really grounded in the goal of achieving an inclusive
digital economy. And not to overstate what is very obvious that just doesn’t happen
on it’s own, it doesn’t happen overnight. It means a lot of different things to a lot
of people, and though the title of this conversation is Connecting the Next Billion, you also heard Will tee up, and others down the line re-enforce, you can’t just go with connectivity,
nor can you start with the products and services that people are using. What does it take so
that the most underserved, the most remote, the poorest of the poor, can interact in this
digital economy in a way that’s going to enhance their livelihoods and meet their wants and
needs? So there’s a connectivity element. There’s an affordability piece. Locally relevant content is hugely important. Digital literacy, Digital skills building. The gender gap that
exists with respect to mobile phone and Internet access and ownership. These are all access
pieces that are part of the puzzle, but to go even a little bit further, there is also a
huge component to this that’s reliant on the digital financial services, the mobile money
offerings, the e-payment systems, the opportunities to spend, save, transact in a way that drives
financial inclusion to those who really haven’t had it before. And then a third component,
that we really focus on, is the use of real-time data systems that allow us to collect information
in the field, do rich back-end analysis, and then provide that information again in different
varieties so that folks on the ground can use it, to inform what they’re doing, to adapt
their efforts, if needed, and to impact the lives for those who we really care about.
That’s the structure. The stake that we’ve laid in the ground
and where we’ve come in, our team, is to say, what we’re going to look at is where there
are market gaps and/or market failures, that not enough people are doing things about.
Where can we steer public sector resources, and align private sector support, in areas
that, where the business case doesn’t exist, or the incentives aren’t there for the private sector
to go at it alone. We largely do that through public-private partnerships.
The Alliance for Affordable Internet is one, and most of the folks here at this table,
the organizations, are members of that alliance. Another one is the Better Link
Cash Alliance that we, that we also created to transition huge payment streams from cash to electronic, noting that there are huge accountability, and transparency, and efficiency gains to be made,
but also the network effects of pushing a lot of money from Governments, donors, multinational
corporations, through mobile money and other e-payments will drive down the cost of those
products so that the poorest of the poor can use them. We’ve been supporting GSMA,
for a number of years, to close the mobile phone gender gap, and providing the new business cases and new products for mobile network operators to provide for women and their families.
And then two other examples I’ll just touch on that are newer in life, one is what is
called a mobile hub that we’ve been working with a number of other bilateral and private
donors including DFID, and Gates, and Swedish SIDA, to figure out how we address
the fragmentation that is in the mobiles for the development sector, and to work efficiencies
into our conversations with mobile network operators, private sector actors on the ground, governments who want to use mobile and digital technologies to meet their socio-economic
objectives in countries. So that’s an effort that’s coming online that’s
really looking at how you aggregate demand, and how you aggregate approach that lessens the burden that we’re seeing from NGOs and implementing partners on the ground. And then
finally another new one that’s coming in to play, is, in direct response to the Ebola crisis, in the Ebola affected countries in West Africa, of pulling together public and private sector
resources so that we can extend the connectivity and network in those countries, and to design
data systems that are interoperable and will collect health information, where volunteers and health experts on the ground and governments can actually be more effective, so that if this crisis
happens again, we can provide more support to them. And then putting in place the digital financial services, so that health workers and others can get paid on time. We have seen
that, part of the reason that the Ebola crisis was so huge, was this inability to interact
and just effectively communicate. So we’re working through a Partnership for a Digital West Africa
to address that, as well. That’s a few examples as well. Thanks.
>>MANU BHARDWAJ: Madura, in our conversations I think what’s really struck you is just the
Internet adoption rates, and the difference in terms of developed countries at 77% as
of 2013, and developing countries still lagging behind at 31%. And Comcast has done a lot
in the digital literacy front, in ways to try to get that adoption rate up, and I wonder
if you could spend a few minutes to talk about your perspective.
>>MADURA WIJEWARDENA: Sure. Thanks Manu, for inviting me and Comcast, and I’m delighted to be here. So I, as sort of Manu suggested, I am going to speak about Comcast’s domestic U.S. based
Internet adoption program. And I think, although you can never kind of replicate, take things
from a developed industrial economy, and then take it to a developing country, but I think there
are some insights that, that we could glean from our experience here. Especially because some of the low-income neighborhoods that, that we’re working in, there might be some similarities. Obviously not, it could
never be a, sort of, a clear transfer of ideas but there might be some ideas and insights. So, for us at Comcast, sort of the central adoption effort is built around what is called Internet
Essentials. It’s a wraparound, multifaceted program, which I think Kevin mentioned, and everyone else has mentioned, its multifacetted nature is the key. And it’s targeted at low
income households, families with school age children who happen to be on the free or reduced
lunch program. So, it is open to any of those families across our footprint. And the, just recently,
the NAACP referred to this program as the nation’s largest experiment in reducing the digital
divide. And it has been running for just over four years now. And, as of February 2015, we
had connected more than 450,000 families and that’s roughly 1.8 million low income Americans.
And before I, first of all, let me describe what the program is. So, it has, as the point about
being multifaceted, it addresses its design to address, and I will go later on about how it was designed, but it was designed to address the specific drivers of non-adoption that research has
consistently found. And so, one of them is the low cost access price. It is $9.95 price
point. That’s it. But then those who have joined the program also have access to a low cost computer at
149 dollars. It’s not, Comcast is not in the business of selling computers, but we’ve
integrated that into our program because we believe it is important to touch that driver too. And then the final and the most, the final point, it has a very, very extensive and a full suite of free online print and in person training, not just in digital literac,y but
the full spectrum of issues that goes in to relevance. So we have done that. The digital
literacy programs are designed in partnership with local community based organizations, such as we have a huge partnership with the Khan Academy to drive some of these training modules.
And then they are delivered through communitybased organizations. We have thousands of local
partners who actually deliver these digital literacy programs, along with the low cost
access, and the low cost computer. So it’s, it’s really kind of brings together, it’s, you know, we look at it in terms, in sort of four angles. And one is that we have to, it’s an innovative approach, because we are doing
things that we hadn’t done before. Number two, it’s very rigorous in terms of analytics and research,
which I will go in to later. And it is flexible. we have changed the designs many, many times. And, and then, finally, it’s community based because all of these things are delivered through small
and large community based organizations. So, in terms of design, it was designed basically
based on the findings of the U.S. National Broadband Plan which, for the first time, identified sort
of this, through you know, very rigorous research and quantitative methods, the drivers of non-adoption which are relevant, which is the most important. I think it comes in at about 44, you know 50, it is close to 50% cost, and access to a computer and digital literacy, and so on. So we designed this program based on the research that was done by the National Broadband Plan to make sure we had touched each and every one of those elements. And then, what we have done is, throughout the program, we have actually gone and done sort of major research projects. So just last year we adopted John Horrigan, who some of you might know. He’s the preeminent researcher in broadband adoption. He used to be the Head of Research at the National Broadband Plan, and he’s now at the Pew, Pew Research. He, through our tech R&D fund, which funds engineering, and sort of over-the horizon innovative research, he was funded by the tech Comcast R&D fund, to kind of go in to the Internet Essentials program and really take a longitudinal look at people
who had not adopted broadband, had adopted broadband through Comcast Internet Essentials,
and how they, you know, what prompted them to adopt broadband, and how they evolved into, into engaged users, and sort of two findings, he tells me that this is the first time a longitudinal study had been done.
And the two key findings he found that, to encourage people to adopt broadband, sort of the social relationships both within their communities, but also the relationships they have with institutions
like schools, government agencies, are a big driver in dealing with the relevance issue.
So that’s the first point. And then the second point he found, which is really enabled by the longitudinal study was that, he found that those people, through Comcast Internet Essentials,
who had actually taken up the training that was available to everyone. He found in, just about every instance, double-digit improvement in the way that the Internet was used. For
example, there was a double digit percentage point difference between those had taken
up training through Comcast Internet Essentials and those who hadn’t, in the extent to which they used it to start a business, or the extent to which they used it to start online banking,
the extent to which they used it to apply for a job. So there was, the training piece is not only important to kind of impacting on relevance but it’s actually very important, to use John’s term, for digital engagement, so that, so that the Internet is used for its maximum capacity, potential. So, that’s what we do. And basically our guiding principle has been that this is
a very complicated and complex problem that is driven by many drivers. And so we need
multifaceted solutions. They need to be flexible, which, and as a company it kind of makes it easier
for us, because we can change things in different regions, different areas, depending on what
we find. And that finally, all of this must be designed and delivered with community based partners. So we take a very community organizing principle to what we do. And, you know, even with that it’s, it’s not an easy job. it’s very complicated and tough and it takes
time, but I think what the results are showing and the numbers are showing.
>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So, Cheryl, let me just go back to you. As an IGF MAG member, you were involved
in the discussions and the thought that went into picking Connecting the Next Billion
as intersessional work for the IGF. Can you provide us more context on what they are hoping
for in Brazil?>>CHERYL MILLER: Sure. Thank you. And just for those of you who in the room don’t know, I know we use a lot of acronyms, the MAG stands
for the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the Internet Governance Forum. And it’s a group of about 56 people, give or take. Men and women from across the world that represent different
companies, different governments, different civil society organizations, different fields
of academia. And we meet several times a year and we are responsible for helping to coordinate
the IGF every year. There is really a lot that goes in to that. For many of you, I see
many familiar faces in the room. And there are some MAG members in the room as well.
Each year we put out a call for workshop proposals and we select these workshops, which are part
of the IGF. We coordinate main sessions and the major project that we have taken on and
this is something that we have tried to get started for several years now has been Intersessional
work. So the idea is to have some work that’s ongoing in between each IGF. So that is it
is not just a one-time event that happens once a year, but there is ongoing work on
a lot of these really important issues that we are talking about here today.
So the theme that we wound up agreeing to within the MAG is, Policy Options for Connecting
the Next Billion. And I think as you heard from, what’s been an amazing presentation I
think, of what so many different groups and companies, and governments, are trying to do
in terms of addressing the many different issues related to this, we thought that the
theme was going to be big enough that many people would be able to contribute. It was
global in nature, and as part of selecting it one of the things that we looked at was
the Tunis Agenda, and we really tried to match up, with respect to the Tunis Agenda, key parameters
for selecting the theme itself that would be supportive in terms of the IGF’s overall global
mission, and in terms of being able to produce something in Brazil that will be useful for
many people that come to IGF. They can take home and learn from the different experiences.
And so there is a call for open proposals right now. It’s on the IGF website. And there
is more information on it there. I would encourage everyone to please take a look at it. And
the great thing about the IGF is anyone and everyone can participate. And my company,
Verizon Communications, we have always really had huge value from this, because we are able
to learn so much from different governments, from different organizations around the world.
Things that are important to people, things that our company is, things that our company
is doing really well, things that we need to work on, for example, we are really
trying to do a lot of work right now with the disability community, and other populations that have
different types of barriers and challenges to connectivity. Because there are the challenges
that we all know and talk about with respect to investment, infrastructure, et cetera.
But then there are some really unique challenges and globally among different countries the
challenges are even more unique, because every country is different, on their different cultural
things to consider, and their different, the geography is different, et cetera. And so, we are
hoping in Brazil to really, first of all, we are hoping to receive a lot of inputs.
So, and as I said, anyone can produce inputs. We’re hoping that you guys will go online and you will participate. We need as many good thoughts and ideas and understanding of what’s worked for people,
and things that need to be worked on as well. And so this is also, coming off of last year’s
IGF, we launched some Best Practice sessions, and those were quite successful. The MAG
did a really good job in trying to identify some key areas that the community could do some
work on. So, one example was online child protection, and that’s an area that a lot
of different governments and groups and companies have been trying to do good work in, and to
continue to try to do good work in. And so I’ll stop there. I don’t know if folks
will have questions. I really hope you guys will just participate.
>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So, on that note we will go one more round with our panelists, and
here the question is just what is the one, based on all the work that you do, all over the world,
if there was a document that was developed by the IGF USA folks, and there is a working
group that’s looking at this, what is the one recommendation that you would want to see
there?>>KEVIN MARTIN: I think if there was one
thing that will make a big difference it is the idea of making sure that people are having
an opportunity to appreciate the underlying value, whether I talk about it in terms of
value, other people talked about relevance or digital engagement, I think that that encompasses
that group, encompasses both affordable access, and that’s in smaller, smaller packages, and data. And it also encompasses data that is more slimmed down so they can get access to it and
try it. And I think that, that component is the single biggest thing that you can probably do in a short
term to make a big stride for one of the groups, for the group of people that just, they are
in extreme poverty, it’s very difficult how you are going to find a solution to them.
And the ones who are living in extremely remote areas without any access to infrastructure,
those have to be a longer term solution. So the one, the group of people that I think you could
make the biggest impact with in the shortest amount of time.>>SONIA JORGE: I am sure we will have a nice conversation later, about that. I’ll challenge you to say that, actually the next billion is very important, and it’s really important
to bring online, but the real challenge are those who are much farther away from us, being able to connect with. And it was really nice to hear the Under Secretary mentioning our
report’s results, but one of the findings of our report is most disturbing, but of course most important, is the fact that very clearly again the research is showing that those hardest
hit, or that are very far from being able to afford, and being able to enjoy connectivity,
are the poor, are women, and are the rural dwellers of the world, especially in the developing
countries. And so, if anything, I would challenge the IGF, and those involved in the IGF Forums,
and policymakers across the world, to think more creatively and innovatively. Not just
in terms of policy and regulation, from a new perspective, thinking about policy and
regulation from an incentive perspective, and not so much from the traditional way that
we’ve seen over the years, which yes, it supports, or attempts to support, progress.
But I think at the same time, for the most part, what we see, especially in many countries where
we work, is that the lack of policy and the lack of appropriate regulations is stifling
the kind of expansion and the kind of development that we’d like to see taking place, to
facilitate the kind of growth that then would lead to many more options, not just to those
next billion, which we see that one way or another might be closely approachable from
market or commercially viable solutions, but really focusing on those that commercially
viable solutions have not been able to meet the needs. And I think, Chris mentioned that, I mean even the Comcast example very much in the U.S., focuses on those communities,
and those are really the citizens of developing countries that we are not only most concerned
with, but would like to see more innovative solutions addressing their needs.
Simply because it is hardest to reach, it doesn’t mean that we cannot do things now.
And the proof is that a lot of the actions that many of the A4AI country coalitions are
already taking are, we hope, not only to see the impact very soon, but are really showing
that, when working in this environment that is a multistakeholder environment, which is
what we do and how we operate when we work through our coalitions, but by bringing the
many voices of the different stakeholders into the process of defining and thinking
out ways in which policy and regulation can address these issues, many new ideas come
to the table. Ideas that many that have been doing this kind of work for a long time have
not thought of. So it is very important that the process remains open, remains multistakeholder,
so new ideas and new innovations come to the table, but most importantly that those innovations
think creatively to address access issues, obviously around affordability as well, but access, adoption and use issues. For those last billions that we are not exactly focusing, but from an A4AI perspective we see
really should be the focus. And so I challenge all of us to think in that way, and not just
on the next billion.>>JANE COFFIN: I think I will focus on the
following for a document that you might put forward or a draft or something to talk about,
which is building or rebuilding trust. This is something we talk about quite often. And
it’s something I’ve seen and I like to often call this the human trust networks.
If you don’t have the people on the ground and the people coming in to do the work, and that trust between, whether it’s the Internet Society, or it’s A4AI and your partners, you have to have that trust. It’s the collaborative security model we’re looking at at the Internet Society, collaborative sustainable development, collaborative policymaking, and collaborative governance. It all involves partnerships. No one group does it, no group does it alone. But just, it’s building trust. And
some of it’s been lost, and we have to rebuild it, some of it we know how to gain, but we do
have to think about that as a key thing, and also, we are from developed worlds, and when we do go in to work with partners around the world, there’s a different tone, there’s a different
way, there’s a different manner with which you do what you do, and it’s to listen, I think. So, rebuilding that trust and listening, I would say.>>WILL HUDSON: So we have already heard a focus on creativity and innovation and, sort of, a focus on some sort of understanding where it is we’re going. And now trust. So I’m in a position
of coming up with something else. Because those things are obviously great. I mean I think, I think the thing that for me would put it all together is sort of this very relentless focus on the users
and the people that we are trying to reach, right. Sort of understanding, and not thinking
at it from them and working back, right? What will make, you know, what’s needed, how can you
get it there, thinking creatively about how you get it there. Again, not being stuck in
a box. Having the trust in a community to actually get there. But this sort of really, really focusing on the end users. And to do that, you know you need things beyond sort of talking points and platitudes, right? You need data, and you need to understand the precise nature of the problem. And, really, the problem is that you are trying to fix. I mean the sign is exactly right. When we
look at the last billion, right, we are looking at a community that’s going to be extraordinarily
difficult to reach compared to some of the problems we are talking about now. So we need to understand what we’re doing, not just why we’re doing it. I think everyone agrees that this is a nobler model. Followed by, I think, that we need to understand the very precise and rigorous way what it is we’re doing. And I mean, we’ve heard, sort of, about the value of that and the insights that you can get by focusing on understanding your users. In this case, they are not users yet, right? We
need to, need to reach them and help them get on this wonderful thing that we are all here to talk
about. So, that’s it.>>CHRISTOPHER BURNS: So I’ll build on Will’s
point, but come at it from a different angle, and to do so I am going to turn to Indonesia. The last couple of years, we have been working with the Indonesian Government through
our Global Broadband Innovations program to craft and get launched their new National
Broadband Plan that came out last September. And they did a really interesting thing, they
did several interesting things there. One, they tied their National Broadband Plan to
a relaunch of their universal service funds. And, traditionally, the universal service funds have been for extending telecommunications into underserved or remote areas. More recently
they have been expanded to include the delivery of broadband into those same areas, and even
more, more recently, with Indonesia as an example, and a few others to this day, they’ve gone
a step further and said, let’s not look at the supply side of the equation. Let’s really look at the demand side so that these users can be a part of these services, and specifically they said, we know that what really concerns Indonesians, and prevents them from interacting
online and using these tools, are consumer awareness, locally relevant content, and digital
literacy, themes you’ve heard in the past hour. So, they tied their universal service
funds to the Ministries of Health and Ministries of Education for starters, to say, where we’re going to look is in communities where these ministries are already involved, and
are working on activities that have a content play to it, that have an opportunity to build
digital literacy into what they are already doing, and really to enhance the role that
demand side of the equation really has in this context. So my recommendation there, to
the extent that universal service funds are a part of these conversations, is to look more
to that side of things. Thanks.>>MADURA WIJEWARDENA: Thank you. So I think,
I mean I agree with, 100% with everything that’s been said. I think my only contribution would
be, based on our company’s experience, is that, you know, to have a real deep appreciation,
not so much, it is not even intellectual appreciation, but a real visceral appreciation that there
are to turnkey solutions to solve this problem. And I think, you know, top down sort of prescriptive solutions, or ideas, especially coming from sort of, shall I say, capital cities around the globe, from large institutions, sometimes don’t connect with the realities. I think that avoiding
turnkey solutions, and to again touch on what everyone has said, to have wraparound solutions. And it’s a word that I, before, I came to Comcast from the National Urban League, which is the largest, one of the largest direct service providers and it’s a historic civil rights organization
in this country, and it’s a word that the National Urban League uses to describe what
it does, wraparound services, I think that’s what ‘s needed. And the wrapping that’s needed would depend, will depend on what communities you are working with, what countries you are in, and so on. So, our view, and, you know, from doing this at Comcast, and now it’s four years now, and it’s, it’s now an indefinite part of our company, it’s something that, it’s not something that, that we have done before, it’s that we have learned and grown in humility as a result of it, because we’ve learnt that, when we first started, I can, I can give examples of how we have changed things based on what we have learned from people on the ground. So I think that, avoiding turnkey solutions, avoiding notions that if you do this, then this will happen, is probably the, a useful thing to have. And also, keeping at it. I think, focusing on, you know, this is not sort of, you know, avoiding sort of the press release,
and then let’s move on to the next thing. Avoiding that and keeping at it is something
that’s also useful, because, and keep at it and change incrementally as you learn. We’ve stopped to, sort of, the education focus on low, on families with kids on the school lunch
program, whether free or reduced. And we’ve kind of stayed at that so we learn from this experience.
I think, sometimes, these programs tend to be sort of driven by, sort of, the press release cycle. I think that’s another one to avoid and that’s something that we have tried to do, but I
think avoid turnkey solutions and grow in humility, and keep at it I think would be a
useful thing.>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So we have about five minutes for questions. And we do have a visitor here, from abroad, Arsene. I don’t know if you’d like to try to make an intervention now, this would be the perfect time and welcome others if they have questions to come to the mikes. We have approximately five, six minutes left. Go ahead.
>>Thank you. My name is Arsene Tungali and I’m a blogger and activist from the Democratic Republic
of Congo. A few months ago I received a call from a desperate friend called Ben, who had
an issue. He told me he received a message from a stranger asking him 50 U.S. dollars
to be sent the following day. If not so, he would publicly publish pornographic pictures and video on his Facebook profile. My friend, Ben, is a public and a religious person, and such a thing is the worst that can happen to his Facebook profile. And, as
you can imagine, as he didn’t send the money, his profile was full of those instant images
the following day. This is just an example of issues, of issues I am dealing with in my daily life back home, helping young people protect their online privacy. Educating children on online
safety tips, and how to respond to such threats. I am also bringing out their voices to decision
making meetings, to talking about making efforts or creating frameworks to connect the next
billion, I think it is important to talk about online security, and make an emphasis on developing countries. Online security education has failed in my
country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, making the work that I’m doing with no resources extremely important. I would like to share with you four levels of education in my country.
And I think it’s the same for most of the African countries. And it is sad to notice
that all of them has failed making things difficult for new Internet users, especially
children. The first level is the family level, and you will notice that this level has failed.
Online security education has failed, because our parents are not digitally literate. The
second level, where we get an education in my country, for instance, we receive education
from church, and the problem there as well is, those church leaders do not consider talking
about Internet issues in church services because they think this is not important. The third
way of, way we learn in my country is, is through school. And the problem is, there is nothing in our
educational program that is related to online security, or Internet, or information and communication
technologies, which makes things more harder to those students who finish school with no
knowledge about how they can deal with Internet issues.
And so the last way of learning is what we call the streets learning. And you can imagine
there is where you receive the worst of education because everyone will tell you their own ways, there is nothing that is accurate, and there is nothing that can help young people be safe while they are accessing their online services. I wanted to share this with you so that whenever you plan activities, or whenever you plan projects, to develop in African countries
like my country, please think of those four ways of doing it. Thank you.
(Applause.)>>KEVIN MARTIN: So, obviously, as we’re trying to end up finding way to connect the next billion or the last, which ever it is we’re focused
on, we have to find ways to address the safety concerns that you’ve raised. Facebook has an active
communities standards program which would, you know, be in violation of, and we work with local communities to make sure they reflect the local community standards and their values too, so, but obviously that involves an increase, both to digital literacy and safety. That has to be a component.>>This is, it’s Garland McCoy with Technology Education Institute. I just wanted to throw something out, that I hope everybody would find of value, but I think as we, (unintelligible), in effect harvested the low hanging fruit, and we now really are challenged by, by whether it’s again, the unserved or the underserved that
we might, and also given the fact that the Internet as an ecosystem has really matured now to a critical infrastructure, we might consider, and again this is said with a lot
of love to everyone here over ten plus years of working in this, that that we look at some fresh faces, some fresh company partners in this. This is no longer just us here, the
ICTs. We look at trading companies, finance companies. We look at other partners that
are, that realize the critical aspects of the Internet for their business, they’re GE, or they’re a hospitality company, or UPS, or whatever, HDL. And so having them as partners with us, having some fresh troops, fresh perspectives, as we start drilling down into this very hard, final,
you know, low hanging fruit that we need to work on, that might be something that we consider, adding to our ranks. So I just throw that out there for consideration as well. Thanks.
>>MADURA WIJEWARDENA: If I could, actually that’s a great point. The research project that I mentioned that Dr. John Horrigan did, and one, one of the big findings actually was, that these sort of non-tech communications media type institutions like,especially the banks and government agencies that, he found that, that those people who had sort of interactions, or who had some kind of input from those non-tech communications companies, through training and other things, I know there are several banks that do that here in the U.S., actually did end up having a sort of much easier onramp onto the Internet. And one of the recommendations was that, that these other folks also take an active role in, especially
on the literacy front, because, because a lot of the times that people come in to contact, a lot
of companies that people come in to contact through online are not tech and communications
companies. And that would be a good thing to do that. And they would bring different
perspectives than, you know, than we would.>>SONIA JORGE: Just a quick point, also to answer some of the things that you mentioned. We at A4AI do, through the work we do with
our coalitions in countries, one of the exercises that we’ve done that has been really useful, and an eye opener to everyone, and including all the stakeholders in the country, is an exercise in trying to
define what is the Web people want in the specific country. A4AI, we are hosted, and
our secretariat sits, within the Web Foundation and our colleagues have a project that is
called the Web We Want campaign, and in defining that, what you realize is that you allow people to envision ways, in not only about how they want to have access, but how they want to use, how do
they want to enjoy, how do they want to benefit from access to the web. And that has allowed
some very interesting ways of thinking about actually policy, and including regulation, and other legal instruments to address issues around privacy and security, but even on issues of access as well. Because the realities of how people interact with technology, interact
with the Web, interact with information are very different, even within one country. So
I didn’t mention the countries that we are talking about. I hope you will be curious
enough to go to our website and check all the work we are doing in many different countries,
including our research that is trying to uncover a lot of these nuances. But in Nigeria,
a country that we are working very closely with many stakeholders, and have a very active national coalition, it’s similar to the U.S. in that they have a federal system, with many different states. And I can tell you that, in every single state in Nigeria, we see completely different realities, when it comes not only to access and infrastructure, and the kind of issues that we were talking
about earlier, but even the kinds of things that you were talking about, how do people
learn, how do people interact with knowledge, how do people interact with information, is
very different, and it is, you know, very important to us, to have this multistakeholder process because it’s critical to inform us on how we can then integrate all of their voices
and their concerns, and it’s not easy. It’s not an easy process to go about, because
even within the countries, there are many different voices that dominate the dialogue. But one
of the wonderful things about an open multistakeholder approach, through a coalition as the ones that we have in the countries, is that a lot more of those voices are now coming out, and we are creating a platform where they not only are coming out, but they also are louder and they are becoming much more influential in the recommendations at the policy level, that are made, than they’ve ever been before. And I’m certainly proud of that, but we have to work
very hard to make sure those are included.>>MANU BHARDWAJ: So, just want to conclude with, you know, how gratified we were to see the level of interest in this panel. And so grateful that
we have representatives from some of the Americas’ best telecom companies, Internet companies, and representatives outside of industry are here, really excited about sharing their knowledge and helping the IGF, IGF USA really kind of try to deliver a concrete policy option. So thanks to everyone for joining
this panel, and I think it was a really worthwhile discussion. So thanks. [Applause]

Danny Hutson

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