Submitted Proposals


Organization: DiploFoundation and Technology Policy Institute
Title :
58. Network Neutrality - Examining the Issues and Implications for Development
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Background
The Internet is a communication platform that allows end-users to access content and content providers to connect with customers. This platform is multi-sided, meaning that incentives to invest and innovate in one side affect the others. Different aspects make network neutrality highly complex and frequently debated issue. While net neutrality has no single definition, in most general terms, net neutrality questions the right of network operators to deliver certain data packets faster than others based on the type of application, source and nature of content, and other criteria.

Network neutrality proponents contend that it is crucial for maintaining content innovation and diversity. Opponents counter such rules are unnecessary, can reduce investment in broadband infrastructure, and paradoxically may even reduce the incentives to develop certain applications in the future. The key point is if any regulations dictating how networks operate are likely to have broad effects beyond those the rules are intended to address, affecting incentives to invest in infrastructure and content.

Network neutrality has been debated in the United States for several years and is emerging as a major issue in Europe. The importance of this issue for the developing world and its possible effect on digital divide is often neglected: the Internet and broadband in particular, are much less widespread in poorer countries than in richer ones.

Maintaining incentives to invest in local Internet infrastructure and content remain crucial in developing countries if the Internet is to fulfil its promise in promoting economic growth and freedom of expression. At the same time, would explicitly allowing packet prioritization and new pricing models convey additional market power to a small number of incumbent companies, further disadvantaging consumers in developing countries?

Panel
This panel will discuss the economics and engineering aspects of networks and how network neutrality regulations might affect those investments. The workshop also aims at examining implications to the digital divide, by bringing different perspectives of the problem to the audience, and listening to their opinions.

The goal of the session is to discuss the implications of this debate and its outcomes to the developing word. It aims at raising awareness among the representatives of developing countries and encouraging them to get involved in the global debate in order to bring a strong emphasis on the perspective of the Global South.

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

Moderator:
Vladimir Radunovic, DiploFoundation

Opening remarks:
H.E.David Gross, U.S. Ambassador

Panellists:
Robert Pepper, Cisco
Thomas Lenard, TPI
Jovan Kurbalija, DiploFoundation
Payal Malik, LIRNEasia / NCAER
Virginia Paque, United Nations Association of Venezuela / DiploFoundation
Robert Guerra, Privaterra

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

Key Organisers

DiploFoundation (www.diplomacy.edu) has been actively involved in the Internet Governance process since WSIS 2003 in Geneva. Over 500 professionals from over 70 developing countries were trained online and in-situ in Internet Governance Policy - issues, actors and processes - by DiploFoundation. Members of this worldwide community of professionals, representing global, regional and local stakeholders - governmental institutions as well as civil society, non-government organisations, business sector, media, academy and international organisations - have made remarkable policy and field-work in various IG-related issues, including Network neutrality. While few associates were invited as speakers of this panel, many more will participate actively as the audience.

Technology Policy Institute (www.techpolicyinstitute.org) is the new name for iGrowthGlobal, which organized a session at the 2007 IGF. Our group and participants in the panel will reflect the multi-stakeholder principle, geographical diversity and gender balance. Participants in the organization group may include the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, and the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. These are two major think tanks, one from India, one from Brussels. Other representing different stakeholders are also under consideration.

DiploFoundation and Technology Policy Institute aim at bringing the geographical and stakeholder diversity audience by encouraging their associates and community members to invite other colleagues from their sector or country/region to participate and contribute.

Partner Organisations
  • CISCO

  • LIRNEasia / NCAER

  • ISOC Venezuela

  • Privaterra


Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
Since the goal of the workshop is to discuss the impact of the Network neutrality debate and outcomes to the developing world and development in general, bringing in different perspectives is a must: - understanding the core issues and challenges, as explained by the involved professionals;- exchanging the fears and doubts versus the opportunities, from the perspective of business, state and civil society;- debating on developmental aspects by the actors from both developed and developing countries; - listening to the perceptions of the audience on this emerging and important topic. 
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.
Network neutrality relates to issues of openness as well as equal access to and availability of Internet resources, as well as questions of viable economic models and connection costs, investment incentives, and development. Its potential implications on the digital divide directly link this topic to the Millennium Development Goals in field of ICT and Internet usage and access. 
List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
DiploFoundation has introduced the topic of Network Neutrality to the curriculum of its online training Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (IGCBP) in 2006, both through introducing the learning and discussion materials and through leading a research programme on Network Neutrality and Development (a paper on “The Network Neutrality Debate and Development” available online in hypertext and PDF format at http://www.diplomacy.edu/ig/Research/; the research paper on implications for Brazil will be also published soon). Technology Policy Institute has organised a workshop at IGF in 2007. TPI staff has organized many events, ranging from panel discussions to major conferences on issues involving the Internet and the ICT sectors. TPI has organized major events in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
DiploFoundation was the organizer of the Best Practice Forum session on “IG Capacity Building Programme: A Model for Regional Training”, and has submitted the report.DiploFoundation was also a co-organizer of the “ICT and Security Challenges - A selection of Case studies” Best Practice Forum session organized by Privaterra, which has submitted the report for the session. Technology Policy Institute is the new name for iGrowthGlobal. Under the iGrowthGlobal name, a workshop was organised on "Qualifying, Quantifying, and Meeting the Challenge of Internet Access Costs" at IGF in Rio in 2007. http://www.intgovforum.org/Rio_Schedule_final.html (8:30, 13 November 2007).