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FINISHED COPY

 

NINTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE

INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM 2014

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

"CONNECTING CONTINENTS FOR ENHANCED

MULTI‑STAKEHOLDER INTERNET GOVERNANCE"

 

04 SEPTEMBER 2014

15:45

WS 163

 

BUILDING ALLIANCES TO ENHANCE INTERNET AFFORDABILITY

 

 

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This is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings.  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. 

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>> SONIA JORGE:  Okay.  Can I ask all of you in the back to come closer since it is still a small crowd?  Yeah, a small crowd.  Exactly.  Do you all know each other or ‑‑ please do come closer so we feel a little more together.  Otherwise we probably should just sit here.  Hmmm?  Nnenna, you are also part of the ‑‑ come here please.  Okay.  We have a lot of people up here and not enough of you here, but hopefully some of you will come but I think we need to start otherwise we will be late.  It is ‑‑ yeah.  So if I may ask you to come down, that would be useful.  Be more intimate.  All right.  So first of all, welcome you all.  Welcome to all the panelists here to our panel.  For those of you who don't know me and us, my name is Sonia Jorge.  And I am the executive director of Alliance for Affordable Internet.  And we organised this panel with a particular focus, not only to bring together and share with you some of the work that we are doing as an alliance, but also to have an opportunity to share some of the experiences, opinions, and perspectives from our members and our partners in the work that we are doing and all of you are our partners in our work.  So I'll introduce the panel briefly.  And what we are going to do is actually a very simple open conversation, discussion about specific issues, not only about working together in a collaborative way but what are the specific ways in which we are working to reform policy and regulation in Developing Countries.  And so with that I'm just going to say everyone's names.  Perhaps I should ask you to say your name.  Your title and your organisation that you represent.  And then we'll start ‑‑ we will go straight in to an open discussion.  So may I ask you to start on that side? 

>> YACINE KHELLADI:  Good afternoon.  My name is Yacine Khelladi.  I just joined the team about a month ‑‑ two months ago for Latin America and Caribbean.

>> ROBERT PEPPER:  Robert Pepper at Cisco where I lead our global policy activities. 

>> PAUL MITCHELL:  Paul Mitchell.  Pretty much the same thing as Bob but from Microsoft.

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  Helani Galpaya, LIRNEasia's Chief Executive Officer. 

>> JENNIFER HAROON:  Jennifer Haroon.  I work on developing access business and policies for Google. 

>> VENANCIO MASSINGUE:  Venancio Massingue from Mozambique. 

>> JAQUELINE PATEGUANA:  Jaqueline Pateguana, Minister for Mozambique eGovernment and Infrastructure Communications Project. 

>> MIKE JENSEN:  I am Mike Jensen for Association for Progressive Communication NGO in the global south. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you all.  And so all of these panelists that you just heard their names and what they do, they are part of the Alliance for Affordable Internet.  And I'm very honoured to work with all of you, including Yacine and Nnenna who is also our African coordinator to push forward reform in Developing Countries.  I wanted to ask you all here in the audience by coming here today what do you expect to hear, what do you expect to learn from this panel.  Is there one particular urgent issue or any one particular urgent issue that you would like to hear us discuss?  I want to make sure we take an opportunity to address some of your expectations.  Anything you'd like to share with us?  Anyone?  Okay.  Very good.  So as I mention I wanted to have these panel as a very open discussion.  I am going to start by asking our panelists, ask questions on how we work and the focus of the alliances work.  Just to give you a little bit of a background not only we as A4AI do international advocacy work but we work in countries what we call country engagement, working directly with countries to influence the policy and regulatory processes but also providing research. 

In fact, Helani here on the panel is one of our members as she said a research institution in Asia.  And we have others in other regions.  We also work with private sectors and many NGOs doing work in the field.  And why that is important is because when we look at questions on policy and regulatory reform, there are many issues that we need to consider.  I am hoping that all of you can help us think and discuss issues and what are the ones that are of interest to you that we have already been engaging with. 

I was wondering if we could start by ‑‑ if I could start by asking Helani and Paul and Venancio, a member from each of the constituencies that we work if you could share some of the experiences in your regions on the countries that we work with through your organisations on how policy has addressed some of the challenges that we as an organisation as an alliance have already identified and also have identified with our local partners in the countries.  And so some of you know that some of the challenges have been around spectrum policy.  Some of the challenges are around infrastructure sharing issues and effectiveness of regulatory systems, research, the quality of research, et cetera.  But perhaps we could hear first from Helani from a research perspective what are some of the questions, what are some of the challenges but also what do you see as some of the interesting experiences that you could share with us to learn from. 

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  Thanks.  I mean the challenges from the ‑‑ if you just look at broadband adoption are obvious when we go ask people do you use the Internet, when 24% of the poor people in India tell us they haven't heard of the Internet and around 60% tell us that yes, I have heard of the Internet but I don't use it and very low numbers actually use it among poor people, there is a problem.  India having 1 point something billion people.  This is a large population.  The situation is better slightly or worse slightly in the other countries that I work in. 

The biggest trend that we have seen is the entry of the Government in to the provision of broadband quite actively unlike before.  All the countries had gone through liberalization with the exception of Myanmar which is currently in process.  They have had quite competitive mobile markets I would say compared to South Africa with very high levels of competition, low HHIs and yet prices have come down in some of our countries like Sri Lanka under $5 and under 5% of monthly income.  Of course, there are others where it is 5 to 10% of monthly income.  The others where it is over 10% of monthly income.  Affordability varies but very, very small amounts of people in our region are actually online.  And in light of this the reaction is the trend for Government to come in and create national broadband plans and second to Government to get in to the funding of the rollout of broadband plans.  And they have had varying levels of success. 

So we've had Malaysia, one of the richer countries in our region who went directly in to a public/private partnership with the dominate operator without really going in for any kind of competitive procurement or negotiating with any other operators.  On the plus side it has had great success.  It has met all its rollout targets as of now.  On the negative side I think there is a whole lot of money left on the table that could have been better used.  They didn't look to the market for anything.  They cut a deal and the back room conversations there were other deals that were better economically for the Government to be cut.  So, you know, it is a plus and a minus. 

Then you have countries like Australia which seem to be currently in limbo which has set up the great regulatory and policy framework for good competition in broadband and Government investment, but then there has been a new review under the new Government and it has sort of been slowly rolled out.  The speed has certainly slowed.  We have countries like Indonesia and India.  The Government is using universal funds and various other forms of financing with very ‑‑ let's say great levels of detail which we worry about.  Allowing the incumbent to even the backbone that's being newly rolled out granted through a new entity and allowing the backhaul and axis network to be provided by the same person.  Seriously damaging competition. 

So there is a whole range of things going on in Asia when we look at what's happening in broadband.  And the one thing that they I suppose haven't addressed is actually perhaps should have been done before they jumped in to broadband plans is to remove the existing bottlenecks like access to international gateways and high international lease line prices.  So we haven't explored those options so far.  So we have tried to jump in to policy solutions with heavy Government participation. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  You already touched upon many of the issues that we definitely want to discuss today, not just broadband plans and the ability of broadband plans to provide the right vision and guidance in the countries but also how do they translate in terms of practical implementation and also the necessary regulations that need to be in place when needed to facilitate the growth of the sector.  Perhaps Paul, you can give us your perspective not only on some of the items that Helani already mentioned but to what extent that you feel are trends that you also see from your experience and what are some that you may see from a different perspective, but most importantly as Microsoft as the private sector what are some of the good practices on the policy side that you have seen being applied in some countries that we can learn from and start thinking about to deal with some of these challenges that Helani mentioned? 

>> PAUL MITCHELL:  Okay.  Maybe it is useful to back up just a little bit and explain what Microsoft is trying to do in this space.  We originally approached the access space from a research perspective in spectro and the idea was that we're sort of in a MobileFirst, cloud first world where more and more things will come online and they will come on wirelessly.  Whether fiber backhaul, et cetera, we need to find smarter ways to use the spectrum and that includes a wide range of technologies including smarter antenna technology, cognitive radios, the ability to dynamically frequency shift.  The ability to have tiered levels of service, tiered users on a first piece of spectrum.  First, second, third, et cetera.  We have done lots of research in to how some of those technologies would work.  And we wanted to put them to the test.  And the great thing about large parts of the world and we will just take Africa because there is a billion people in Africa and about 7% of the population is actually covered by a wireless sort of canopy.  So there is plenty of opportunity.  And there's also difficult economics with today's mainstream technology and the question is what could we do. 

The first one we ‑‑ the first project we put together was in Kenya and it is instructed because when you look at a project like that, you are really doing the equivalent of building the entire airline industry at the same time.  If you were to start the entire airline industry, there is a lot that has to come together to do that.  So we chose a part of Kenya that had no electricity just for starters and it basically didn't have any of the baseline infrastructure, was not a good candidate for any of the legacy technology, but it had all of the needs which can you bring ICT in to the education space.  Can you bring it in to health care.  Can you connect Government offices, the government there but Government with no access to, you know, to be able to connect with capital. 

And ‑‑ but in addition to, you know, understanding the needs of the population then we have to figure out how do we put the technical infrastructure together in a way that is sustainable.  Can we find people an entity or multiple entities to be the ISP, to build the network, to operate the network.  Can we build or cause to be built applications that are appropriate for that particular location.  And so we were really trying to pull all of these pieces together and effectively we did.  And we already heard about the Government issue and, of course, to start this project the most important thing was to get the support of the Government and the actual involvement of the Government, investment by the Government not by money but in sort of intellectual capital and in terms of trying to get behind what the project was trying to do.  Now we are roughly a year and a half in to that particular project being up and running.  It is now connected.  Many schools, the Government offices, health care facilities, Red Cross, et cetera, and it is built in to ‑‑ the computer labs are now built in to the curriculum of the schools and that's all working very well. 

There is a test and measurement programme that we are running along with a couple of economists to try over the next couple of years figure out just what did that do.  It is important from a policy perspective that we were ‑‑ we had to address policy needs from a Government's perspective in several fronts.  Communications policy, spectrum policy, education policy, health policy, general economics, and in the process of doing this, we found lots of areas working with the Governments where it wasn't clear where in the Government was the right place, who has the responsibility for this thing that nobody has been doing.  And finding a way to actually work with ‑‑ work with them, work with the local people who being the ISP, local industry to actually get backhauls.  And Kenya, Kenya Light & Power actually has fiber across the transition powers and that's where the connection was made.  And a variety of technologies put in to play including some TV wide spaces which required some other investment, not money, but in terms of willingness to try something new on the part of the Kenya regulator.  We have ten such projects now around the world and they have all basically followed the same kind of template where you try to pull all of the local pieces together including the application development, et cetera.  So far to good. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  For those of you who just arrived we are the Alliance for Affordable Internet.  What we are sharing today through an open discussion what are the kinds of policies and regulatory decisions that have helped and those who have why.  We can learn from each other examples, not just good practices but learning from our members and panelists through our experience what are some of the concrete ways we can move forward to address affordability and bring more affordable Internet to the Developing Countries through the process of regulatory reform. 

One thing I would like to come back what you just mentioned, Paul, and others I know can address that, is when you ‑‑ you already touched upon not only different sectors, you know, how one project actually is very complex in bringing together not just the infrastructure, the different sectors, Government, policy and regulation and how all of them came together as a large puzzle that is working kind of trying to fit the pieces together in an interesting way that actually works and shows results and impact.  What I would like to also explore later on, hopefully we will have time, to what extent were some policies or regulations in place at all that facilitated some of the work that you are intending to do in some of the countries and what was not in place which was the biggest challenge to address.  We will get back to that. 

Before we do that, Venancio, I wanted to ask you to share with us some of your experience in Mozambique.  I know we don't have a whole lot of time.  I must press on you to be as brief as we can to have as much discussion.  I apologize.  You are not only working with us as the alliance, as the coordinator in Mozambique but you are also the Minister of Science and technology in Mozambique up until recently.  And you were a visionary and a person who not only brought and developed a lot of the ICT world in Mozambique but also developed the first policy in the country.  One that is badly needed to be updated.  So tell us about the previous experience, what are the gaps now and what are the things that need to be done to move forward. 

>> VENANCIO MASSINGUE:  Thank you very much, Sonia.  Several times you use I was, I was and then in one of I was you said there was a visionary. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  You are a visionary. 

  (Laughter).

>> SONIA JORGE:  You are still a visionary. 

>> VENANCIO MASSINGUE:  One big problem that we have noticed is that we pretend, we working on IT, in particular Internet we pretend to give the impression that we insist and the Government insists.  As a consequence sometimes we have intentions on what you want to do because we don't have enough room or space because the Government is not listening to you.  What I have learned and maybe I will share the first step is we have to understand is that we are a changing agent.  We are really ‑‑ we are missionaries also.  We are special people.  We have a vision.  So for some of us who are religious you know what is the meaning of being, to being someone who has to sell or transmit a message to others.  This is very serious but it is very important.  So what I have learned and what I did was to spend a lot of time doing interaction with the Government officials starting from the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, governors, trying to have the same languages as them.  Second I did small things to demonstrate how powerful and important was technology.  This did help a lot.  You know, one of the things you will not believe was to develop a small decision support system for the President and I said you just track ‑‑ when you give permission to a Minister to travel you just travel ‑‑ you just keep track of when you're going and coming back and give report, et cetera, and this was very interesting because I link this to Internet and the e‑mail.  And I made a statement that the Internet was something very important, very ‑‑ it is power.  Internet is power.  So if you link this words with what you want to do, then it is very likely that you will succeed. 

This did help us a lot to establish national ICT policy and we created a movement and a strategy.  We followed some of the recommendations.  One is that you need champions.  You need to make a link between the government programmes and the Internet development.  We tried as much as possible to do this.  And the policy was easy to develop.  Now where we are struggling is we have a national policy but you needed to have the sectorial policy.  So maybe something we did not do very well was to leave the sectorial policy to the sectors but not the same movement as the overall policy.  For instance, the broadband issues and the telecommunication issues we leave for the specific ministry to deal with this.  The content will leave with the specific ministry to develop.  And it is showing the pace, the speed in which the sectorial development takes place and the building Consensus among the different partners is taking more time and the results are slow ongoing.  Why A4AI connected with us is that we believe on the alliance and coalition. 

We believe that designing the sectorial issues, dealing with sectorial issues but using some examples what has gone on in the rest of the world using the experience that exists within the alliance then it is a plus.  I stop here. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  Thank you.  So this is a perfect segway to ask you Jaqueline, who you are the current advisor to the Minister of Communication and Transport in Mozambique.  Very proud to be working with you and supporting the process of policy reform in Mozambique.  What are your most important challenges?  I know we have had some of those discussions in Mozambique but share with us some of those, but most importantly I think it would be nice to hear from you to what extent is the Government in its current plans bringing ‑‑ having a better way of coordinating some of these aspects that Venancio and I think Paul also alluded to which is bringing a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together?  It is not about broadband access.  That's an important piece, how can we make it clearly important and clearly beneficial to all the other potential users. 

>> JAQUELINE PATEGUANA:  Well, some ‑‑ the first part of the question was pressing issues I guess for the Government and for the country.  I think I would start by saying affordability is an issue for us, Internet affordability.  And I say this because when I arrived here the first message I received was from my mobile operator that it would cost me about $10 per megabit for Internet access which is seven times more expensive than a minute of phone call to my home country.  So you might say that that has to do with roaming agreements.  It is expensive for everyone, but at the same time you have to realise that even within country Internet costs about $60 a month, fixed Internet and this is in a country where GDP per capita is $550.  It is expensive.  We have ‑‑ we have the challenge of having to somehow bring the prices down.  And we have been working towards that from Venancio's time with the ICT strategy with liberalizing the telecommunications sector.  And we have passed legislation on infrastructure sharing.  Although that particular piece of legislation was not well adhered by the operators, and consequently we had to introduce a third mobile operator that helped to reduce a little bit of the costs.  And so I would think that looking forward one of our focus areas is to build on partnerships that will help us educate, create capacity within our market and that's with the operators, with the users on how effectively they can use telecommunication and specific Internet services to better live and to increase or develop our country I think.  That's what we are trying to do through partnerships, through capacity building.  Those are focus areas for us as a Government to see. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Do you think that some of the coordination work is also helping, those partnerships are helping that potential coordination that we've alluded to? 

>> JAQUELINE PATEGUANA:  Yes.  Definitely think so.  I mean one of the parts that I forgot to say with the work that we are doing with Alliance for Affordable Internet we have seen a lot more the actors with the sector come together and open to express their views.  Previously as a Government organised event there could be a little bit of anxiety on expressing what the issues were, but through the first Forum that we have had through the Alliance for Affordable Internet we have identified three key areas that for our sector and market are important and those include infrastructure sharing and investment in infrastructure, second, third.

>> SONIA JORGE:  We can go on to those later. 

>> JAQUELINE PATEGUANA:  We will go on to those.  The plan for the coming months and years through this alliance is to work on those specifically, create some regulations or reform some regulations that will help us get to where we need to be. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Great.  Thank you thank you.  So Yacine, you are new to A4AI but not new to any of these issues.  You are our Latin America coordinator and you are also very familiar with the challenges in Latin America obviously, including the country that you live, the Dominican Republic that we hope to also engage with very soon.  So you ‑‑ we've heard about some of the challenges in Asia and we've heard about some of the challenges in Africa through the example of Mozambique.  Give us some examples from Latin America, and hopefully some of you from Latin America here in the room you can share some of the ones that you have in your regions and countries.  What are some that you see are taking place that are pressing for us as an alliance to tackle? 

>> YACINE KHELLADI:  What I have seen in the last couple of months that I have been working with the research and starting to build the alliance Networks in the region, all the range of challenges are present at different levels.  It is really every country is unique and every country you will find priorities, I mean challenges that are different from other countries.  So the idea of having a national focus and work with national coalition.  I think in Mexico you have a new law and everything, but then implementation, the separation of the regulator with the enforcement of regulation that was a big issue before and now is going to be solved but there are still a lot of issues in terms of new entrance in the market of competition, allowing let's say healthy competition and things like that. 

In Haiti there still are very far away with the ‑‑ you laugh.  That is 1987.  Yeah, the Telecom Law is 1987 and one of the big challenges that the Government has its own budget and telecom is the one of the main providers for income for national budget.  So they are very ‑‑ and regulator is really more playing the role of income generation for Government than really regulating or helping, developing new technologies or even bringing the cost down or developing the infrastructure which is very badly needed in Haiti in particular.  In the Dominican Republic I think one of the main challenges is that everyone understands what are the challenge of the others.  The Government is not ‑‑ is trying to do its best but he has the free trade agreement and less revenue.  So you have taxes.  So you have to convince him some way that if lower taxes on this will enable more business to grow, will it then generate more income through taxes down the road.  But it is difficult to ‑‑ so you have really that idea of getting to the people together, the telecom, the regulators, the academics and the researchers, the users and the potential users of broadband and demonstrating with hard facts and hard data and the potential impact of reducing this cost.  And then you have manual solutions that we have mentioned already here sharing infrastructure, a new view of licensing, new view ‑‑ new ways of managing spectrum.  And so we have a big menu of solutions.  What we have really, the challenge is to everyone sitting together and understands the problem of others and creating this common basic Consensus or collective vision let's say, this multi‑stakeholder approach and that could help that way. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  If you have any questions while we are discussing, please raise your hand and we are happy to, you know, bring your questions to the panel as we have the discussion before I completely open to all of you.  But feel free to raise your hand, excuse me.  Pepper, you have a lot of experience.  All of these issues are not new to you.  I think in addition to the experience in the countries that Cisco works you also have a lot of experience with research and analysis, really looking closely at what has worked and what has not and what are the things that have a highest impact.  Share with us some of that and especially I think it would be useful for us to hear a little about about your research around how important it is to have very comprehensive broadband plans, and what does it mean to have a comprehensive broadband plan.  Because one of the questions that we struggle as we work in several countries is that the concept of what a broadband plan is, and Helani, you mentioned that earlier, the difference between the different countries, it is very meaningful and its that completely different impacts. 

>> ROBERT PEPPER:  So thank you.  Yes, so one of the ‑‑ we have been talking about broadband plans for quite some time.  And, you know, Paul and I sit on the UN Broadband Commission and one of the things that we have been advocating there for I guess it is three or four years now is that every country should have a broadband plan.  But we were making assumptions that that's a good thing.  So what we did was we teamed up with some of our analysts, I mean colleagues and I, Cisco with the Broadband Commission and we actually asked the empirical question if you have a broadband plan does it make a difference.  And the methodology was a panel regression, 160 countries ten years of data.  It is not correlational but it is causal.  We found four high level take‑aways.  And I am going to drill down on one of them.  If you have a plan, it does make a difference.  We were very loose on our definition of plan.  It could be a comprehensive plan.  It could be a strategy announced by the head of state.  It could be called a strategy.  It could be called a plan.  Any one number of things it could be called.  But having one statistically, significantly and dramatically increased broadband adoption because part of it was about, and this was the question earlier about a champion.  Its leadership.  If you have national leadership that focuses and focuses on need for broadband, it actually makes a difference.  So having a plan makes a difference. 

Second, competition makes a huge difference.  I am going to come back to that and drill down on that a little bit.  Third, you know, public/private partnerships were more effective in again the result of increasing broadband adoption, especially primarily in emerging economies.  And what we meant by that was when Governments try to do it alone, build, operate and go alone, they are not as effective as where there's a private sector involvement.  When the private sector does it by itself, there are gaps especially in rural areas.  So the most effective plans again with the measure, the metric of the outcome is broadband adoption.  The most effective plans are those where it was Government setting out framework and the primary investment coming from the private sector.  And then there are a variety of ways in which Government and private sector worked to fill gaps.  And there are a lot of different mechanisms and that's what we mean by public/private partnership.  It is not necessarily a joint venture.  It is where the Government and the private sector are both active players. 

Fourth take‑away was that because of the technologies, because of the markets, because of how dynamic everything is, the national plan needs to be refreshed and it needs to be reviewed probably every two years.  No longer.  We found that the average national broadband plan was seven years old.  They were three generations many cases out of sync just because things move so fast. 

Let me go back to competition.  What we found was especially it was more difficult statistically on the fixed side, but when it came to mobile the difference between competition, monopoly and competition and mobile broadband there was a 30 to 40% increase in broadband adoption where there was competition over the baseline. 

Very, very dramatic impact and this goes back to some of the policy questions and some of the things that we, you know, heard earlier on the panel about the importance of competition.  That leads to the question about infrastructure sharing.  Right?  So how do you share infrastructure without reducing competition?  How do you share infrastructure without reducing innovation?  And the way to do that is sharing passive infrastructure which reduces dramatically the cost of buildout and entry, right?  Because it is essentially civil engineering, building towers, trenches and so on but allowing the competition in the act developments.  So you can have, you know, separate licenses hanging on the end of a network, on a shared tower, shared mast.  So you can get most ‑‑ you can get the benefits of the shared, the passive infrastructure to lower the cost and speed deployment, especially in the rural areas while not having a penalty from the benefits of competition or the benefits of innovation.  So those are some of the findings that we had in this study and they are directly related to the policy back to the work that we are doing as an alliance. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Exactly.  Thank you for sharing that.  I think that is a perfect, you know, you can follow up, Mike, with your work in research and thinking on infrastructure sharing.  Having in mind what you have heard from all of the panelists including from Pepper's research your experience in many different countries in Latin America and in America and Asia, does your experience in research reflect similar findings?  And can you share with us maybe some examples of how this has worked in specific countries? 

>> MIKE JENSEN:  I should point out we are in the fairly early stages of the process and initial scoping of area of infrastructure sharing.  It was clear this has made the potential for improving connectivity especially in the more remote areas.  When we consider that the cost of deploying fiber optic networks and base stations for mobile broadband, for example, 70 to 80% of that cost is the civil works.  So if that cost can only be done once rather than repeated by every operator, this really changes the whole picture in terms of the return on investment in moving to the more marginal areas where the level of demand is much lower.  So this makes it possible to actually gain a huge area of coverage to interest the private sector in deploying infrastructure. 

So the basic idea here is what we call a dig once policy.  Where, for example, modeling ‑‑ this is on very similar policies in Europe where if an operator digs a trench they must lay additional ducts in that trench so that other operators can come in and blow their cable at a later date or at the same time.  So this sort of policy can really radically change the picture in terms of how much we need to subsidize connectivity in rural remote areas and bring down the price of broadband connectivity.  There are many other things in other areas.  Whenever a new road is built, a duct is placed or many ducts are placed in that ‑‑ along that road project.  That kind of additional preplanning of infrastructure rollout is incredibly cost saving because, of course, if you are planning in that duct in to a new road, the cost of putting that in is very marginal compared to the cost of digging up a road or having to trench from scratch. 

Similarly with deploying a high tension power grid, if you plan to put fiber optic cable in that grid or augment the existing fiber optics in the tension cables this cost is marginal.  It is the cost of the fiber.  Compared to the cost of trying to string new fiber of those pylons very expensive.  Having to gain access to the rights‑of‑way and negotiate with many, many different landowners or many different states, provincial or national, and municipal Governments, again if that right‑of‑way has already been negotiated for the purposes of our sorts of infrastructure be it roads, electricity, the same applies to pipe ‑‑ gas pipelines, oil pipelines and their rail transport networks.  So if there is an anticipation that we can ensure that the fiber infrastructure is planned in to all of these infrastructures then they can be huge savings in the deployment cost.  I think in the interest of time I should stop there. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you, Mike.  So Jennifer Haroon from Google, Google took a new approach and as a company that people don't necessarily see as an infrastructure company actually recently invested in the Kampala fiber ring and you can tell us about it.  But why did you decide to do that and what are the kinds of challenges that you as a new provider, as a new operator let's call it even on a wholesale basis had to face? 

But if you could also address so we can go on to a few other topics because we also see Google as a different kind of company, a company that is also focused on content and other issues.  So how are you balancing actually some of these interests, not just the ability of having the right infrastructure and the lower cost structure to the provisional service with the ability to provide content that is demanded at the local level especially? 

>> JENNIFER HAROON:  Thanks, Sonia.  So the project that you mention we call Project Link and it is a wholesale fiber, metro fiber network that Google has built and operates.  And it is an example of shared infrastructure.  But there are a couple of important factors.  One is that Google does not have an exclusive license to build infrastructure in Kampala and I think as Pepper mentioned that's really important.  There is a mobile operator in that market that wanted to build their own infrastructure and they also have been able to do that.  But one of the benefits and why we decided to try this because there are plenty of mobile operators and particularly ISPs that serve small and medium‑size businesses that aren't able to build their own fiber infrastructure and are stuck using microwave backhaul that has constraints.  And so in building this shared infrastructure network we were able to lower the overall cost basis for the industry as a whole by building once and in this case it is active and passive infrastructure and then selling to any of the license operators that wanted to buy from us.  And one important thing we also did is rather than charge by bit which is how this industry tends to do things, we actually use a flat fee because we really want to encourage our mobile operator and ISP customers to encourage their users to use more. 

So I mean I think some of the things that we faced I actually think one of the ‑‑ we were asked often why did we choose Kampala, Uganda as our example there and there were many, many wonderful reasons why and one reason there is the regulator had very clear and importantly published regulations and guidelines in terms of building fiber infrastructure and that's very important.  There are many countries that have developed guidelines but sometimes they can be hard to interpret or even difficult to find.  And in this case everything was published online.  It was very transparent.  So it was easy to understand what was possible. 

Your second question in terms of balancing infrastructure and content the important thing about the Internet is that it is open and there's, you know, one reason we really want to do this was to help the local content providers not just use the Internet but provide content for the Internet.  So ‑‑ and improving Internet speeds and quality for the industry as a whole we really hope that means that local content providers are more able to upload music, upload videos, share their story with the world.  It is not about using the content that's already there. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  Any questions from the audience?  Any comments you would like to make?  Anyone?  You're very quiet.  Okay. 

>> PETER BRUCK:  My name is Peter Bruck.  I am the Chairman of the World Summit award which runs in 160 countries, the contest for best practice with quality content.  When you look at the infrastructure costs and putting infrastructure in, the interesting issue is what happens with the infrastructure.  I think what Jennifer, you painted a very naive picture when you look at what the situation now is in the U.S.  You have 34% of the infrastructure used of the Internet used by one company in Netflix.  So we are moving in to a situation where streaming video, streaming portals and operators are actually hogging the main of the infrastructure without ever paying for it. 

And what is interesting to me is how you are actually wanting to deal with that.  I mean there's on the one hand you have a big activist movement in arguing Net Neutrality but on the other hand, you have Telcos which are refusing to put infrastructure in for which they are not ‑‑ for which use they are not getting paid.  So when people say okay, we need Governments to take the lead, but what is the correct answer for that from your point of View. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Jennifer, if you don't mind answering and perhaps panelists I am sure you have some comments on some of the questions.  Anybody else please raise your hand.

>> JENNIFER HAROON:  Sure.  I think one thing is the content provider like Microsoft or Google or Facebook do spend a lot of money building infrastructure and trying to bring their content as close to the end user as possible.  So it isn't just operators who are spending money on infrastructure.  And, of course, in the case of Project Link that's a clearer place where Google has spent money on infrastructure that is not just used by us but all the operators and ISPs in the market.  In an earlier session we also talked about the President of EtNote, talked about Project Loon.  We are working with mobile operators and seeing if Loon or high altitude balloons will be a way to deliver Internet.  There are a lot of infrastructure investments being made and, of course, Microsoft's investment in TV wide networks is another great example. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Do you want to add more comments?  Allison in the back you had a question.  Please go first and then the lady here as well.  And then ‑‑ go ahead. 

>> AUDIENCE:  I have been straddling sessions.  So perhaps you could just guide me on whether this question ‑‑ hi.  Can you hear me? 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Yes.

>> AUDIENCE:  I have been straddling sessions.  Please do tell me if the question has already been asked, but I think it is really important in these affordability and access workshops and sessions that we really address the ecosystem and need for integrated regulation and some of the issues around content and the Human Rights issues that are intimately related in these subjects.  And I particularly like to ask Google if the decision in Uganda, the antigay regulation that has been briefly repealed but I understand has been restored being, reintroduced in to parliament next week, the decision on that affected your decision at all about going ahead with Kampala.  Because your announcement about selecting Kampala as the first city to introduce this network came within a month of that announcement.  Although the work has been done to demonstrate that Uganda is in need of this this is going to be thought about or reconsidered in terms of the Human Rights infringements that are taking place.

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  I am going to take a few more questions before you answer.  We don't have a whole lot of time.  But we did start late.  I am going to allow myself a few more minutes for the panel.  These ladies first.  Go ahead, please. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Thank you.  My name is Mandel.  And I just wanted to follow on, it is not really a question.  It is just more of an experience that we've had.  Robert Pepper mentioned that, you know, countries, broadband plans they tend to, you know, go forward and I can tell you as a regulator that one of the things that's very nice about having a broadband plan it brings constancy and also brings some consistency to the actions that we take.  So we have a broadband plan and it doesn't change with whoever is the Chair of the agency.  Maybe how you get there it might.  But it does create a lot of stability for the people who work there.  They also have goals that they are supposed to meet.  You know what you are supposed to do.  We can always go back to that broadband plan and we can also see if we exceed those goals.  And then I think that that accountability is extremely important. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  Go ahead.

>> AUDIENCE:  My name is Emily and I work with the APC Association for Progressive Communications.  And my question is directed to Mozambique, the visionary in the ICT Minister advisor.  You mentioned that Mozambique is three focus areas I think in ICT policy, including infrastructure sharing.  I just wanted to find out if public access is also part of your focus areas or maybe it has fallen off your agenda, or is it something that you want to focus on.  And is it in general for the panel, is it something that Alliance for Affordable Internet looks at or is it just infrastructure?  Thank you. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  I will let Jennifer answer first the question in the back.  And whoever else wants to add any comment and then Mozambique, you can also answer from the perspective of A4AI.  You should answer first.

>> JENNIFER HAROON:  Those who know Google know where we have been and we have a very large supporter of gay rights.  We did have discussions about them but we also believe that the Internet and access to the Internet and better, more access to the Internet and higher quality access to the Internet brings people more information and also opens the debate on topics such as this.  So it is something we considered, but we really would like to see, you know, quite frankly everyone in the world have access to the Internet.  And I think that helps encourage debate on what can seem to be controversial topics. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Anyone wants to add anything?  On the question from Mozambique I will let the colleagues answer first.  I will just say one comment that the work of A4AI through the Mozambique coalition is indeed actually addressing infrastructure sharing in the context of an open access framework.  It is a ‑‑ the country has just passed a new legislation that the colleagues can say more specifics about.  But it is based on the premise that an open access framework will be implemented and that will be the basis for the new market in the country. 

>> VENANCIO MASSINGUE:  This is a very good question and the success we have in Mozambique is because we give a lot of attention to the public access.  We are still not happy with the number of people who have access to the Internet.  But those ones who have a possibility of getting access we make them get full access to it.  I will give you what examples.  One is that for three years, consecutive years we were able to get a price from the UN on a programme called the e‑participation.  But because very early on the very early stage of '90s already we started by establishing what we called by Telecenters and then we move it to CMCs, the Community Multimedia Centres.  We also establish what we call by provincial digital resource centres.  All these centres they make available Internet and ICT facilities.  For those one or for one or another reason they don't have access to Internet.  As part also for e‑participation we decided that Mozambicans should not go to departments, Government departments to resolve their issues when they can use Internet for that.  So we have a couple of applications that are available online that people can make use of them.  So yes, the public access is a very big participation from our side.  Of course, the problem of infrastructure is quite serious to widen access.  So why we are still working on establishment of a broadband or massive access, the limit that we have is on the hand of the operators.  It is very expensive as my colleague just mentioned. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Jaqueline, do you want to add? 

>> JAQUELINE PATEGUANA:  Affordability of Internet is a priority for us.  As such through this alliance we have come together with all stakeholders within the sector and we identified three main areas in which we will work forth as an alliance and that was infrastructure sharing and investment, taxation, data collection and reporting.  And that's the work that we are doing through this alliance, but in addition to that the Government of Mozambique has embarked and identified other areas that it thinks that can improve public access and affordability of the Internet and that includes projects and other activities such as the establishment or improvement of our IXPs so that you have local content and cheaper Internet access for everyone.  Also we are experimenting with pilot, TV white space, so you can have data access in the rural areas.  And what else?  Yeah.  So there is a lot of other activities and other identified areas. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  I guess we have a question from remote participants.  Please.  And if anyone has any other questions before we close due to time, please raise your hand so I also give you a chance.  Go ahead.

>> REMOTE MODERATOR:  Thank you.  There is a participant who wants to ask something about the question.  The question is telecom and media sector, broadband plans in the Developing Countries.  So how we can address this? 

>> SONIA JORGE:  What exactly is the question? 

>> REMOTE MODERATOR:  The question is about corruption in the telecom and media sector and how it is hurting broadband plans in Developing Countries.  How can we address this? 

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  I don't know how we can access this but India is the poster child of how corruption completely messed up the sector.  Two years they revoked around 114 or 82 G licenses and the Minister went to jail because licenses were awarded under let's say rather opaque conditions.  That's being very generous.  Now they shouldn't have gone to jail.  That's not the issue.  The failure of awarding licenses clearly what that did to India is it scared everyone so much that it delayed the awarding of the 3G licenses.  Everyone in Asia had 3G and India got in to the game four, five years later because nobody wanted to touch that with a ten‑foot pole.  There is a fundamental issue.  I think I can say this in public, in Sri Lanka we are no less transparent in the world of licenses.  We don't know how they get awarded.  On the other hand, the one thing that I can say is once an operator gets a license because capital markets work reasonably well, they have to give return on investment.  So they actually do roll out.  Now that's the contradiction.  So even under nontransparent conditions which are not proposing or advocating, if you get licenses that's the weird thing. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  You wanted to add a comment.

>> ROBERT PEPPER:  I think it is extremely important and you raised it and that is the taxes.  Without embarrassing a particular country we were in a meeting with a Minister of a country and the Minister said that 70% of the cost of building out a network was taxes and fees.  That is a huge barrier to entry that raises the costs and harms consumers.  It suppresses demand.  And it is completely counterproductive.  And that's something that I think, you know ‑‑ we have all been talking about because what we are looking ‑‑ one of the objectives and we talked about competition and passive infrastructure, how do we get buildout of Networks rapidly to the places that are unserved.  Right?  Government should be facilitating that and not taxing it or putting barriers in the way to do that because it thinks that the operators are some kind of a cash machine.  Because it only comes back and ends up hurting consumers because at the end of the day the companies have to recover that so that it forces the companies to be a tax collector.  So if the objective is increasing broadband deployment and increasing broadband adoption, we should be lowering the cost of entry and making it easier for building out those Networks and getting the benefits to everyone across the countries. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  In fact, two of the countries that A4AI is engaging with Nigeria and Ghana has selected taxation as one of the critical policy issues that they need support and we are working with them.  We have work plans through our coalition and working with all the different stakeholders exactly to address some quick solutions to reduce taxation and some more longer term solutions to revamp the taxation and duty system.  So precisely because of those issues.  You had a question.  And then I think after that we may need to close unless I see any other arms up. 

>> AUDIENCE:  Helani's answer sparked some thoughts and I was thinking that perhaps it is not a nature of bad processes, because at the end of the day perhaps the private sector or investor can circumvent those or adapt their practices towards that.  But it is the uncertainty around and the washy washy these processes that this day is this way and the other day is another way that perhaps hampers some type of investment.  So I want to ask your thought on that. 

>> HELANI GALPAYA:  Sure.  If there is risk people want a higher rate of return but I think that countries that are broadly corrupt are consistently broadly corrupt.  They figure out what that cost of corruption is and it is built in to any bid they make.  In fact, we have seen instances, so there is a lovely natural experiment in Bangladesh when one of the governments of one of the ladies was thrown out by the military Government.  They were comfortable when the other lady took over.  So it is not very clear.  I'm not advocating any of this officially. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Please go ahead.  I think that's the last question.  Some of us have to leave.  We understand.  Thank you, Pepper, for being here and supporting as always.  Please go ahead. 

>> AUDIENCE:  My name is Ugo and I am from Nigeria.  The issue of taxation has been mentioned already and it is a problem, yes.  I know that there is a proposition on the ground by the Internet Exchange Point for some set of Government intervention to ensure broadband penetration.  Yes, we have ‑‑ it is cheaper at the coastal towns.  So now the issue is for it to I mean go in to the hinder land and, of course, the issue of infrastructure that ‑‑ getting them there is there.  So IXP, the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria is proposing to the telecom regulator to fund, to provide some sort ‑‑ to intervene, to ensure that Internet Exchange Points are billed in the six geopolitical zones of the country and fund IXPs to provide the necessary, I mean to have them interconnected and so that it would be more accessible to people in the hinder land.  And a Committee has been set up.  It is under way.  So something being done.  Not giving ‑‑ I may not be able to give all the facts but I am aware of this development. 

>> SONIA JORGE:  Thank you.  Thank you for sharing that.  I think even though I would love to continue the discussion that is very interesting and a lot more that needs to be covered we covered some of the key elements.  So I apologize that we don't have more time, but it is just the nature of things.  As things get more interesting and we get warmed up then we have to stop.  So I will just simply say that for those of you who are interested please look up the Alliance for Affordable Internet and look up what we are doing, A4A1.org and very proud of what we are doing with all your support. 

Come to us, join the ‑‑ share the process and also support us in facilitating reform in these countries, not just in the ways that all of you already mention through well designed broadband plans, better taxation policy, spectrum policy we didn't touch today, but that's another area we are working in many countries and consumer awareness protection.  Many, many issues that are critical in many developing countries to push for affordable Internet and that's really our goal.  Push for affordable Internet, very concrete policy and regulatory reform.  Feel free to talk to them.  They have a lot to share.  And thank you also for being here. 

(Session concluded at 1703)

 

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This is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings.  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. 

 

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