IGF 2018 WS #285 Open Telecom Data

Subtheme(s): 

Organizer 1: Technical Community, African Group
Organizer 2: Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Organizer 3: Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 1: Stephen Song, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 2: Sonia Jorge, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Anriette Esterhuysen, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Owono Julie, Civil Society, African Group

As the value of being connected to communication infrastructure grows, those without access are increasingly left behind. In order to ensure everyone has affordable access to communication more transparency in the telecommunications sector is required to better understand who is unconnected and what opportunities exist to solve connectivity challenges. Adopting Open Data policies and approaches in telecommunications will enable a more constructive debate on access among civil society organisations, government, and industry.

Format: 

Birds of a Feather - 90 Min

Interventions: 

Speakers will make brief interventions to set out the broader issues. It is our intention to keep formal speaking to a minimum and focus on a facilitated dialogue engaging all participants.

Diversity: 

We will have views from government, industry and civil society represented at the event as well as speakers from the Global South. Women are strongly represented in the speakers and organisers.

In this session, the importance of transparency in the telecommunications sector will be discussed from the point of view of achieving affordable access to communication infrastructure for all. We will look at lessons learned from the Open Data movement and how they might be applied to this sector. Will we also examine specific aspects of telecommunications infrastructure and look at examples of good practice in those areas. This will include fibre optic backbone infrastructure, tower networks, wireless spectrum assignments, and national backhaul network pricing. We will discuss what data are most relevant in this context. We will explore the relevance of these issues to civil society organisations (CSOs) and examine how they can engage with policy-makers, regulators and operators on this issue. Finally we will discuss regulatory mechanisms that could be (or are already) used to compel operators to be more transparent.

In this session, the importance of transparency in the telecommunications sector will be discussed from the point of view of achieving affordable access to communication infrastructure for all. We will look at lessons learned from the Open Data movement, how they might be applied to the sector, and what kind of opportunities they can bring for different stakeholders. We will also examine specific aspects of telecommunications infrastructure and look at examples of good practice in those areas. This will include fibre optic backbone infrastructure, tower networks, wireless spectrum assignments, and national backhaul network pricing. We will discuss what data are most relevant in this context. We will explore the relevance of these issues to civil society organisations (CSOs) and examine how they can engage with policy-makers, regulators and operators on this issue. Finally we will discuss regulatory mechanisms that could be (or are already) used to compel operators to be more transparent.

Outputs of this session will focus on defining concrete recommendations or tools needed to advance the state of Open Data in the Telecom sector. This may include further assessment of data availability in the sector, specific data standards as well as policy and regulatory recommendations.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The session will begin in plenary with speakers and then break out into three sub-groups. Depending on the composition of the audience and feedback, the break-out groups may focus on specific elements of infrastructure e.g. fibre, towers, spectrum or we may break them out in terms of government, industry, and civil society. We may even organise breakouts by random selection. The point will be to have smaller groups discuss for 30 minutes and then come back to plenary to discuss their findings. Each breakout group will have a facilitator and rapporteur.

Online Participation: 

While we welcome questions and comments from the Internet, our intention is to focus on the face-to-face discussion at the event. We have an online group at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/open-telecom-data which will be used to engage in preparatory work for the BoF session and to carry forward the discussion afterwards.