The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> SATISH BABU: So, ladies and gentlemen, we'll be starting in a few seconds. Apologies for the five‑minute delay so far. So let's get started. My name is Satish Babu. I am a volunteer which is part of the ICANN large community. Welcome to this workshop. The outset I would like to very briefly go over the objectives of this workshop and the format that we will be adopting. We hope to be having some more participants that we hope will be trickling in as we move forward.
This workshop is titled Asia and The Next Billion: Challenges in the Digital Inclusion. Now, most of us here are not from the Asia Pacific and some of us are. Working from the islands, it is a full form alone. We are very much conscious of the fact that Asia Pacific is a very diverse region. It is a geographically large popular region. And the population of the Internet users who are present indicates. This also means the next billion will join the Internet and will also be in the majority from this region. For instance, India has about 400 million users, most likely over 400 million. At about 30% or less. So India itself will do 90% and then you will talk about 1 billion from India itself. And combining with China, we certainly are going to be about 60% of the next billion.
Now, that is where the root of this workshop arises from. We would like to see some of the challenges as we go forward to the inclusion of this new billion coming in, or the majority is from Asia Pacific. Now, the part in the diversity and this is, there are also other challenges which things like the fact that these users who are coming in now are poor people in the majority who are new to computers. Their mobile phone is the first computer they will ever use or they are using.
So there is this question of the new digital device. The digital device is all about access. The new digital device is perhaps not good access because everybody will have some kind of access. It is one of the meaningful and views of the Internet in doing whatever people want to do with it. This meaningful access is presently kind of condition by the digital divides of say bank wet. Some people have privileged and others are challenged, other computing devices or languages. There are things we will talk about. So these challenges is at the heart of this workshop. Plus, also some mitigating factors like a lot of views in the country and they adopt this. And education is coming up, the prices are Connectivity access is dropping. Some of the positives, perhaps.
So this workshop is to discuss the challenges of these kinds in the context of Asia Pacific. And the format of this workshop, which I will be introducing right now is as follows. Ordinarily I was going to talk to us about the four categories, 14 that we are willing to fight. This is a breakout group session. We have a limitation in terms of the number of groups that can be accommodated here, but we have to live with that and see how we can organize ourselves. We started an intro, which is what I'm doing and then an introduction to the topics.
Rinalia ‑‑ we will not be introducing anybody in person. So Rinalia will be talking us to about the full categories of topics and then we have a 30‑minute breakout discussion followed by ‑‑ we will identify chairs for the groups and they'll be making a presentation of the summary of these discussions. And that will be followed by about 25 minutes of open discussions. We will be calling up on a few people specifically during these open discussions and the rest can be open to the floor. Finally closing, it will be three to four minutes and the total time expected will be 90‑minutes for the workshop.
With that, we are kind of slightly delayed. So I will now request Rinalia to take over the introduction of the teams.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you, Satish. It is a pleasure to be here and to be with you to discuss this very important topic for the Asia Pacific region. I am Rinalia Abdul Rahim and Satish has asked me to help him with the discussions of the topic.
I will start with the micro level of the beginning. There is 7.4 billion people in the world today and 46% have access to the Internet. The rest do not. So more than half do not have access to the internet at all. The organizations that study connectivity at the global level profile the feel who don't typically have access who are disconnected. And these are people who are typically female, the elderly, they are less educated, they belong in lower income groups and they live in rural areas. As we talked about next billion coming primarily from the Asia Pacific region, I don't think it's likely that the profile will be very much away from that which has been discussed and there may be some additions. I think by and large, it is generally on target.
In the Asia Pacific region, there is a lot of excitement and dynamism about it. Whenever you travel, you can see networks being promoted, cellular mobile phones and young people are very eager to get connected and do social media. Satish mentioned that it is expected that the majority of the next billion of new users will come from large countries in East Asia and South Asia and we can expect that some of the new users will come from small communities from island nations as well provided that networks are provided as well. There are still gaps and that's why we are here today to discuss because I think that addressing those gaps will be helpful to supplement the efforts underway. I think there needs to be a lot more support for community action to insure accountable inclusion. The Asia Pacific region as you know is extremely diverse and this presents a very special challenge in enabling digital inclusion itself. There is the diversity of terrain. There is some very difficult ones ranging from deserts to mountains.
In India, there is 22 languages with 200 dialects alone. In other countries, there are others probably not as many, but that's just an indication of what the challenges are. And there are also large rural populations that make them very hard to reach. And well are also special challenges of reaching out to marginalized communities that have indigenous communities as well as people with disabilities and problems of providing equal access to education. There are social issues and gender issues. Paramount concern where access is poor and inadequate infrastructure and this concern is actually across the board in every country that I've encountered in the region itself. No matter the broadband or cellular networks. People who study connectivity, they always zone in on the trinity that result in lack of access. Affordable, digital literacy and local content or services. And they don't often talk about infrastructure in the same breath in terms of these topics and I think it is really quite important because without adequate infrastructure, none of the others would matter and you wouldn't be able to reach anyone anyway.
So there are many elements to address to support digital inclusion of the next billion, with many tracks to address the problem itself, policy coherent for impact becomes really, really important. I think that's one of the topics that the breakout groups will discuss. In addition to infrastructure and economic issues, which I think will touch on affordability, and the other track is social issues, technological issues and then the policy coherent that I talked about before. I won't take up too much of our time because we start a little bit late anyway and I look forward to the discussion across the four themes where the participants of this workshop will share experiences from your own country from the region and then angle proposes strategies to propose digital inclusion in the Asia Pacific region. Thank you.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you very much, Rinalia. We will now go to the breakout discussion groups for 30, 35 minutes. We have identified four chairs who will guide the discussions and also some findings back in the group here. We have all the infrastructure and economics issues. We have Pen Hwa Ang who is here. You have to decide where you want to sit because we are ‑‑ yeah. Maybe here. Group 1 is here. Group 2 is social issues. Anja? And policy issues, Noelle, are you here? Are there any volunteers for sharing the policy track? So please feel free to repeat. We have the infrastructure and economics. Pen Hwa Ang will be coordinating that. Participation issues and policy is going to be Rajesh and is going to be somebody on that side. Please break out and go into the groups. 35 minutes is the time that you have.
(breakout groups for 35 minutes)
>> SATISH BABU: We have five minutes more okay. Let us start with the presentations of the group chairs. We have four machines per group chair for presentations ‑‑ four minutes for group chairs per presentation. Any remaining comments from group members can be raised at the open discussions. Per so we move now to group A, the infrastructure economic issues. Pen Hwa Ang.
>> PEN HWA ANG: This is a very small group because the ‑‑ may face was there and also because the group issues will be resolved soon enough. Currently the cause of falling there is however a gap between urban and rural steel. There is one of the issues that the core population would face. Countries with physical difficulties and excess, mountainous areas of the Pacific islands and some islands would have issues with connectivity. But the cost is falling and eventually, this problem will go away. There is some issue, however, with roaming and traveling. If you have money to travel, then it isn't an issue. Well is moving from physical excess to content excess meaning language and the kind of content that will be available because of the language. Finally we talked a little bit about free basics and how what we call zero rating. Some movement and different countries and different responses, but a whole issue about Connectivity costs are falling. So on that note, that's my presentation.
>> SATISH BABU: We now move to Anja for the social issues.
>> ANJA KOVACS: Thank you, Satish. We have a fairly long list and we immediately ended up putting on the table I think two very big issues that aren't sufficiently addressed in these conversations in international meetings. The first one being education. The fact that large sections of our population still don't have education especially for lower classes. We're talking about general literacy. The second was poverty. It was pointed out that in our region, there's a very high region. So there's a small segment of extremely rich people and other areas of poor people. They're out of reach because it is simply too expensive. Education and policy are two really big issues we continue to grapple with. And then further on to more nuance social barriers perhaps.
First of all, people with disabilities are often still hidden away. Their needs report sufficiently addressed. We don't see enough responsive design, et cetera, not even in government websites or educational websites. For many people, feature phones are the omit ones that are affordable, but Smartphones and especially the Android Eco system that actually has some accessibility features built in. So this really should be expanded. There are many issues around content also. The fact that IDNs might not work at the top level domain, but for example, e‑mail is still often a lack of interoperability and is this still a barrier. There is so much content that remains in English is not of local dialect.
We also talked about the challenge of the big monopolies that actually in terms of the platform we use to access the Internet, there is a narrowing down. It's not really unlikely that in a way that also narrows the kind of content we seas. So we all use Google and Facebook and they buy up local start ups that are developed. We discussed the range of patriarchal issues that restrict women in particular to access the internet. We also talked about a fact that sometimes even though our discourses around those issues might be well intended, they might end up strengthening that.
For example, the way online harassment and safety and that women themselves have to take, it ends up being this what are you wearing. Also enforcing in which women become responsible for this behavior and socially are active online. We talked about the challenges of communicating the benefits of the Internet to people who have never explored that Eco system themselves there is too much focus on the tool rather than the impact. On the other hand, there is also a risk especially with certain populations to really emphasize instrumental use of the Internet. What we often see is true entertainment and too exploring for joy. People learn how it works. And the two points there is eye policy dimension to social barriers.
An example that was given is what is the point of accessing the latest or buying the latest designs. For older users, they might find a way to plug in to make it possible. Those bans can be an exploration. There was a geo spacial build introduced as a draft that would make localization of apps almost impossible. And for disabled communities in the country, that was a really big issue. Location based apps have been crucial to increasing independent and how they are able to move around. If the bill had a common act, that would have been a real hung for them.
We also discuss the fact that there have been so much emphasis on using technology to streamline and harms of digital exclusion which report taken into account for people who don't have readily access to technology and who need to travel to actually be able to then access those services or in remote populations, for example, in Juaneta. They have community remote and what would they suggest for them to start using the Internet. That would make sense to those communities and local context. Thank you to everybody in the group.
>> SATISH BABU: We move now to the third group which is technology issues. We have KS Park.
>> KS Park: (low voice) all right. Thanks to the presence of a gentleman from Afghanistan. We ended up using Afghanistan as a case study for your discussion. To state the conclusion first, there are several technologies that are available that can relatively quickly Connect people in the rural areas, which is the challenge for that country, but we need some policy solution to push the networks into implementing those solutions. So for our mountainous areas, we realize that while is a better idea than building things door to door. Then we talked about using TTY space for which patent has been already made available into a public domain, at least for long haul connections. And then you can build a smaller Wi‑Fi area after making the long haul connections to the TTY space. And also universal access service fund can be used to purchase or subsidize purchase of terminal devices once the long haul connections are set up.
So that's ‑‑ we didn't have time to talk about other technologies, but that was one customized technological solution that we thought of for Afghanistan. And then we talked about how fee basics has actually been encrazed by the Afghanistan government and has been popular among the people. But that itself can not be a solution because Facebook not just a problem of fake news being exchanged over Facebook, but because the general problem that we should not depend on Facebook as the surrogate for the Internet. And another problem depending on zero rating to expand access is that even to implement zero rating, you need to have a physical access. We need to have, you know, physical set ups. That in itself is something that should be done before we talk about zero rating.
So we talked about how to achieve that and of course we talked about how the network providers are not ‑‑ although even when they are in competition with one another, they don't compete to go into rural areas where the profit margins do not testify the operating cost. So we try to make comparison to the federal ‑‑ the U.S. federal mail system. The postal service who are forced to go into rural areas to deliver mail even losing money and we can talk about government mandate for forcing networks to go into rural areas and back them up with subsides in case the operating cost are not justified by the revenues coming in. So again, going back to, you know, the conclusion that I stated earlier, technologies are there. It's just providing right incentives and policies for the net workers to implement them.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you, KS. We are moving to the last group. Rajesh made the policies and situations.
>> RAJESH CHHARIA: We have the next billion challenges in what I feel. Not me, but my group member Arjun and Siena. For the main reason of these proliferation of the internet into any I will say undeveloped or in developing countries is not another thing that has technical things and they are there, but the policies are the main issue. Friendly policies are not there. I can see just now into this even that the interest of policy towards policy is very low. That's why we are discussing the policy. And that's the major issue that we are not so participated into the policy discussion. Few of the bureaucrats of every government makes the policy into their own third forces and that feel is what we are thinking right for that community.
First of all, all those bureaucrats are not a technical person. They are the administrative person. Soon the problem, technology and the policy will go together. Technology advances the fastest speed. I would like bullet train light speed and policy remains over there where the policy has been drafted. They don't want to spend more on the policy this way. They use the very basic of cut copy and paste policy. The best example in India is going on. We are coming over the new licenses. The first page of the license is as per the things we have to legalize on the Internet and expand the horizon of broadband, but then the second to last page where the policies are coming, they are just taking the earlier policy they drafted. And that's the basic problem.
Secondly, they are ‑‑ our governments announce we are the multi‑stakeholder, but never when the policies have been drafted the bottom approach or the bottom of the pyramid approach has been taken. You can see a definition which we use in every speech of the multi‑stakeholder and we take the bottom‑up approach for every policy. For the very small, small thing, this blocking section 69C, if I'm right, section 69 ‑‑ 69? 69A is very easily referred for blocking off any website whether it is connected or not connected. The same with the John doe order. Anybody who is not Connected with that content or taking a John Doe order and taking every ISP order into a task.
What we in the group decided is when we are talking that the internet is having no boundaries, then at least the basic policy for all over the economies should be the common. Okay. The defenses have four or five countries and mail is the issue of not having the basic policy because they are thinking otherwise. But still some of the policies are there, which is friendly toes user. Should we adopt all the economies in the equal objective? But at the same time, every economy has got the difference of cultural and social responsibility. They can think of that also while making the policy for the users.
So the billion we are talking, next billion should come from all over the world, not from the Asia Pacific. Right now we're talking the Asian Pacific. These are the things the policy should be for the users benefit. This was also discussed. And the multi‑stakeholder approach should be adopted and the government should there for the government, not for the businessmen. Salt sat thank you very much, Rajesh.
>> RAJESH CHHARIA: So we have heard from all the groups. The first is from Napal. We have an intervention and line level.
>> (inaudible) (low voice) it is around 28 million penetration rate. It is 70.2% where we are struggling the concept of Internet Governance and multi‑stakeholder. There is a huge lack of capacity building and communication of IG process not just in political leadership, but even in ICT policymaker. Multi‑stakeholder where open is transparency lacks. Open standards are now visibly used for convenience of government where they want to stake with regularity approach in the name of public policy. Internet is cost here with no quality of service and control mechanism. Monopoly rule with Jam Telecom can make government get (inaudible) monopoly. 4G has been introduced, but it seems nobody is interesting as 3G. It is very expensive and struggling. People first trade with politics and systems and they're pouring their anger on social media where political leaders are there and it is creating things in society. We have to focus and we don't have the other. I'm sorry.
>> (low voice)
>> Yeah. We don't have the next. So I just cut it where we have to focus. That's from Shreedeep from Nepal.
>> SATISH BABU: Rajesh, would you like to paycheck a ‑‑
>> RAJESH CHHARIA: I have things into my policy group discussion. I feel that especially in India Apart from the general electricity, computer and electricity is very much required. Another thing what we require for bridging the digital divide between urban is the hand holding into the rural area where the people who are generally electric, but we can meet them computer electric by friendly ‑‑ introducing the friendly application so they should be able to use the internet in a better way. Government is already doing a lot of things and investing into the intersection for 2,000 villages that are going it be connected through the optical fiber. And at the same time, they're trying to make affordable prices where they can use. One very I will say ‑‑ I will not say successful, but one step has taken by our government of the demonetization. We have an economy cashless. If this cashless economy has been adopted by the rural people, then automatically we will feel in penetration into our country will increase the multi‑folds because then all this cash test will be on internet only. Introduce this cash test. This will be a great success and next year when we will meet again in IGF, I can refer to you.
>> SATISH BABU: We have Arjun for a three-minute presentation.
>> ARJUN JAYAKUMAR: I think what I want to cover here has already been said. But just being from a country, being from India which is represents a significant chunk, I wanted to make a few quick observations. So in India, we have 81% of people who are mobile subscribers and if you consider this long with the fact that it is a strong preference than fixed line connections. It should be the case that way lots of people are connected to the Internet. The situation we see on the ground is lifting. We have people connected to the internet and who are able to ride the benefits of the internet. If you move to some of the remote likes and if you move to some of the regions that are not close to rural areas, Connectivity almost always drops off and it's very, very difficult to use the Internet services in these areas. That is also the fact that we have a lot of languages and diversity in India in terms of culture. Localizing contained for easy consumption by people from these teachings would be another fact to consider with inclusion.
All of these are points that are already listed in the session description. So all of these would glimpse at what other areas we need to be looking at. Social education and backwardness and electricity is something that needs to be looked at. We do have certain initiatives that are trying to bridge this gap. It is actively trying to make more people literate in terms of technology and how to use the internet, and this needs to be carried on with. Then there is also a clear lack of coherence in terms of policy and we do have some orders in policy that ask for the formulation for IP that is very visibility empowered, which is knowledge economy. We do have certain policies coming from certain regulators which don't always go with this vision and this causes a certain amount of discrepancies in terms of how the policies are implemented across these sectors. So looking at creating consistency across the policies on inclusions would be a very good place to be looking at as well. So yeah. I think that's ‑‑ thank you.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you very much. And for the final three‑minute presentation I have Gunela Astbrink.
>> GUNELA ASTBRINK: I thought rather than talking about a number of different disability issues in the Asia Pacific region I would give a little bit of a report back from a session yesterday, the Internet society leadership exchange. There were a lot of different conversations as in breakout groups about many different topics and I facilitated one on accessibility for people with disabilities. And there was young people that paged from Brazil, Canada, Kenya, Armenia and myself from Australia. It covered most of the regions of the world except for Europe. And really there are so many common issues across developed and developing countries when it comes to accessibility for people with disabilities.
So, we already heard from Anja about education and the need for education to break down cultural barriers, for example, with people with disabilities. I won't go into too much of that. But we also need to think about education from a number aspect. And that is IT University and college courses that really there are very few courses that cover anything about accessibility, and developing accessible software and so forth. So it makes developers come out. They really have not heard about where the accessibility and the W3C with government content guidelines even though more and more governance now stipulating that government should be access age. So there's a real mismatch there and something needs to occur there.
In Australia, we do have an online course that has students is from across the world because it is quite unique. On a practical level, countries developing countries, for example, might have telecenters. And first telecenters would be in know ideal place for people with disabilities. But the buildings need to be accessible. If a person in a wheelchair can't get in, there's not much point. So it is a matter of thinking about steps, putting in ramps if necessary. Coming back to accessibility, it is often a fundamental for accessing information for anyone for people with disabilities, of course. And it goes beyond having guidelines, but looking at the actual implementation and monitoring so that when websites that might initially be accessible are updated, they're going to continue being accessible.
So, an interesting example is from Banawatu. I have done some research and as an outcome of that, the government launched a right to information where accessibility guidelines are totally based on W3C guidelines, but they have relevant advice on planning for accessibility and they have developers in the government consulting with stakeholders and actively encouraging feedback and acting on their feedback. The early days launched in September, but it may help in a small country of Banawatu. And then looking at another country in the region, Australia, where there has just recently been a direct text adoption of European standard on accessibility criteria in ICT public procurement. So that's how governments buy ICT equipment. And governments as we know are very, very large purchases of ICT. If they can influence the market, that will increase accessibility and products overall.
So Australia has been the first country outside the U.S. and Europe to adopt this and maybe countries like India can do that in the future too. Yes. Thank you.
>> SATISH BABU: Thanks very much, Gunela. Before I open up, we have Sharon here.
>> AUDIENCE: I am from Egypt. I wanted to pass a message. I attended a similar message in Africa. The digital divide that we talk about here is acute there as it is in Asia. The digital divide is worse as a part. It is a division. They have the same problem as they do in Asia in terms of education, skills, language, access. Access is very important in coastal devices, electricity and energy, applications and all these things. They are the same issues everywhere and the digital divide is splitting the world big time between those that can and those that cannot. I think the solution has to be found for resolving this. So I wanted to pass the comment that it is very similar also in Africa. Thank you.
>> A small comment. I've been working in the field of ICT for development since 1998 and when I look back during the years when we had WISES 2003 to 2005 when we talked about digital divide, I'm surprised the issues hospital really evolved. We have new things coming up, zero rating is something new. We have IDNs that didn't exist before, but the challenges are surprisingly similar and I personally am really shocked by it. And something definitely needs to be done. Hopefully something concrete can come out of this session, Satish.
>> SATISH BABU: Thanks. Rinalia.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: I wanted to respond to Rajesh's point about the demonetization move in India and the attempt to shift society to a cashless economy. I actually personally find that exercise quite worrying and the reason is because of the harms of digital exclusion that we were talking about earlier, right? We ordered large parts of Indian rural economy function a lot on bartering. If they don't function on bartering, they function on the basis of cash. If the infrastructure is not in placing, if people don't have the resources to access these devices, I think it is quite a dangerous argument to show people what the government has done and basically force them to make a shift that they are in no way ready for it. It's clear that people will have to kind of shape up even if I look ‑‑ I live in Delhi. I still do most of my grocery shopping and they all shifted to online payment systems as well because they had to. I really don't think ‑‑ for them, this might have been feasible. For people in rural areas, they might be forced to make the shift and they might adapt. In that process, there will be enormous costs to be paid by them as well. What are they doing in the mean time?
So I really think this is not the way to go about. I am quite worried about the long‑term implications especially far more rural economies of that exercise. I am not saying it is negative by definition, but this should have been planned differently and it is sad to see it didn't happen.
>> I am working with the Digital Foundation in India. I would also like to implicate on the policies which we have been talking about India policies positive on a note side. Also, the right to list the question of what does an implementation of such policies, like the example which we have been given, national policies which is trying to Connect 2,000 villages. However, they have been connected on this search. 67% of the devices are not working or either not ‑‑ just hanging over in the name of the devices that are there. So effective implementation of such policies are yet to be measured as well. And what disclose that is happening in the British and west (inaudible) has moved out as well.
>> SATISH BABU: Thanks so much for that point. Leo, please.
>> LEO: In answers to concerns, well, I have a very bad prediction for you. The things will be worsening simply because governments become ‑‑ whether in the United States or Croatia Pacific or there will be more attempts like ‑‑ I would agree with Anja more attempts as Russian communists once again to bring everyone into the future with the iron fist ‑‑ they're bringing the next billion online and I think that the role of local CCLDs as focal points or expertise and sound policy shaping is pretty much under estimated. I would say that that might be in the focus of our attention at least ‑‑ I mean for years to come. Especially when it comes to small countries, they are probably the only ones who are not participating enough and in the first week of general public interest. Thank you.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you for that very dire prediction.
So we are out of time actually, we started 5 minutes late. I have two minutes before we close. Are there any final comments from anyone?
>> ANJA KOVACS: I do think ‑‑ I think we also set ourselves for failure because the things we use aren't right. So like a lot of figures, they are about connections even though they are quoted as being about individuals having connections. So the actual number of people who have a SIM card on multiple ones is already much lower. I think that's a challenge that governments especially in the developing part of Asia Pacific, everybody wants to beast about the number of people that have access the kind of connectivity they have. The next billion is not having the same Internet access as we have. And if they have full easy is on a smart phone, I think then we can already be happy. In India, the most reliable counts of regular internet user is somebody who has access at least once in the past month. That's a very, very minimum metric, right? And I think that's another thing. It doesn't come out in the conversations, but actually when we are talking about the people that have growing access, it is a completely different type of access and we need to be more ambitious. To do that, we have to be honest. Rinalia has pointed out, we haven't been doing enough even if we are doing our best.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you, Anja.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm from Hong Kong University. I'm a researcher in Internet Governance. I remember recently there's a woman in terms of Internet governance. It is a constitution. People talk about how come we make all these discussions, policy fighting. So therefore at the United States, you hear nations and announce this kind of internet rise and the principles. So, what we're talking about and making the discussions come legally into the national law of even the united nations charter. Do you think this is a way to move forward or just in Facebook in a non‑term so this man (inaudible) questions. Thank you. Thank you very much. It is really late for us. I would like to thank all the participants and all the speakers about physically present here and remote for having organized this session. The report will be up on the IGF site shortly.