Submitted Proposals

Organization: Digital Empowerment Foundation
Title :
7. Low Cost Sustainability Access
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Information Communication Technology for Development is meaningless unless the last man in the queue is provided with access to cost effective ICT based services to deal with his / her daily life needs through major ICT platforms like the Internet. Also the talk of last mile connectivity at the grassroots is less meaningful in the absence of whether adequate provisions are made to access the same. Hence, the quintessential need to take care of low cost sustainability access while making provisions for ICT based citizen services delivery within the larger framework of Internet Governance.

The focus on low cost sustainability access stems from the fact that costs of ICT provision to rural areas or for the weaker sections of society tend to be higher than to more densely populated urban areas or the richer sections. The ability to pay by potential subscribers is lower in case of the former than the latter. The challenge is of content in local language which is a hurdle for access to Internet and other ICT based services. Despite, in recent years, a number of interesting experiments has been initiated to extend low-cost telephone and internet access to low-income rural communities and thereby access to basic public services, they have either not reached beyond a limit or proved to financially un-sustainable. Not irrelevant is then to talk about inventing solutions and services and technology devices and delivery mechanisms that really cuts down the costs as well as other structural and cultural limitations of accessing governance services by the common man.

The question that needs to be asked or must be at the forefront is whether the rural or the poor households’ have the willingness to pay for governance services as per their social necessity and viability. The question is how the Internet platform is congenial for the user community in terms of social and cultural needs. It is here we can talk of evolving out models, mechanisms, innovations that facilitates sustainable access to e-Governance / Internet Governance services. For instance, the franchise models of shared-access provision could appear to have the most favourable economics. Through standardisation and demand aggregation, they offer the prospect of reaping economies of scale in hardware and software procurement. This also facilitates in provision of technical support, and enhanced bargaining power in negotiating interconnection fees and leased line prices. Such models provide a win-win situation to ICT small entrepreneurs, as well as creating incentives to both cost containment and rigorous financial management. Equally important is to talk about entrepreneurial conglomerate to deal with content and language aspects of Internet based services.

Themes like 'Low Cost Sustainability Access'is highly important and relevant for platforms like the Internet Governance Forum. This is in consonance with larger governance and development objectives of IGF that facilitates meaningful debates and discussions on public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance in order to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet. This theme fits into the larger IGF objective in facilitating the exchange of information and best practices; in proposing ways and means to accelerate the availability and affordability of the Internet in the developing world; strengthening and enhancing the engagement of stakeholders in existing and/or future Internet governance mechanisms, particularly those from developing countries; in contributing to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries, in helping to find solutions to the issues arising from the use and misuse of the Internet, of particular concern to everyday users and so on.
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.

The following sessions and names are confirmed for the proposed workshop by Digital Empowerment Foundation:


Time Duration


14:30 – 14:40

Welcome Address by Digital Empowerment Foundation

14:40 – 15:00

Inaugural & Keynote Address by Shri R. Chandrashekhar, Special Secretary, DIT, Govt. of India

15:00 – 15:35

Breakaway Sessions of 4 thematic groups of 5-10 experts each who will discuss their defined topic under the framework of Internet Governance in general and in particular “Low Cost Sustainable Access”, and with sub theme as each of the session topics

Breakaway Parallel Session I: Access, Connectivity & Devices: The focus of this breakaway session is on areas of accessibility, governance around access, issues in network and connectivity and role of technology devices, gadgets and how all three aspects are critical in “Low Cost Sustainable Access”.


  • Meera Shenoy, Director, EGMM, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
  • A. K. Somasekhar , NIC, Chhattisgarh State Centre,
  • Souheil Marine, Digital Bridge Manager, Alcatel-Lucent
  • Prof. Lutfor Rahman , Association for Advancement of Information Technology (AAIT), Bangladesh
  • Rajendra Prasad Poudel, Vice-President/Project Director, E-Network Research and Development, Nepal Wireless Networking Project (NWP), Nepal
  • Stanislav Miler, World Summit Award,
  • R. Ravi Chandran, Director, World Ahead Programme, Intel
  • Shubhendu Parth, i-Government, India

Breakaway Parallel Session II: Content & Services:
The role of content and services in Internet Governance is still an emerging as well as simmering challenge. This group session will delve on the content and services framework in its technology, device, access, affordability focus. For example what kind of content and services would complement the “Low Cost Sustainable Access”?


  • Ninad Vengurlekar I Vice President I IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited
  • Rajen Varada, Moderator & Resource Person, UN Solution Exchange, ICTD Community
  • Sajan Venniyoor, Prasar Bharati
  • Joseph Thomas, Lead Partner, ICT4D , Byrraju Foundation
  • Dr Nandini Mundkur, Director, Centre for child development and disabilities.
  • Shahzad Ahmad, Bytes for All, Pakistan
  • Priyanthi Daluwatte, Sri Lanka
  • Dhanaraj Thakur, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • S. N. Goswami, Media Lab Asia, India
  • Dinesh Wadhawan, MD & CEO, Times Internet Ltd., India
  • Ms. Tahmina Rahman, Director, ARTICLE 16, Bangladesh

Breakaway Parallel Session III: Commerce & Business:
Commerce, trade and economic exchange is a critical component in Internet Governance framework. This breakaway session will focus on why and how economics and trade is vital in governance driven by World Wide Web (WWW) including policy framework, innovation, inclusion, transparency and efficiency drive.


  • Subho Ray, Internet & Mobile Association of India
  • Ambareesh Murty , EBay
  • Ankhi Das, Director - Public Policy, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Corporation India (Pvt) Ltd
  • Shreya Agrawal, Zensar Center for Business Innovation
  • Ms Tulika Pandey, Additional Director, Department of Information Technology, India
  • Satish Kaushal, Country Manager, (Governance & Education), IBM India
  • Saloni Malhotra, DesiCrew Solutions, India
  • Madhura Chatrapathy, ASCENT, India
  • Gitanjali Sah, UN Solution Exchange
  • Neeraj Raj, MEdRC, India

Breakaway Parallel Session IV: Policy & Regulatory Focus: Policy areas constitute the most significant driving point in Internet Governance system that a country adopts and drives. This session will delve on the types, pros and cons of having a regulatory friendly governance framework that can facilitate governance in social and commercial contexts.


  • Suresh Chanda, IAS, Secretary, IT&C and Commissioner EDS, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
  • Sunil Abraham (Director - Policy), Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore
  • Dr. Rajiv Sharma, IAS, Director General, Centre for Good Governance, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
  • Ashis Sanyal, Senior Director, E-Governance Programme Management Unit (EGPMU), Department of Information Technology, M/o Communications & Information Technology
  • S.D. Saxena, Director, BSNL
  • Sunil Kr. Barnwal, Additional CEO- JAP – IT, Govt. of Jharkhand
  • Rahul Bedi, India Business Operations Manager, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd
  • Pavan Duggal, Cyber Law Expert, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

15:35 – 16:00

Group Theme presentation by breakaway groups: Each of the breakaway group will present their case and discussion points highlighting key areas of their sub-discussion.

Final Consolidated Workshop Proposition: As a final outcome, the workshop will bring out five sets of key action agendas from each sub-session and consolidate it under the larger ‘Low Cost Sustainability Access’ Framework.


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.

New Delhi based Digital Empowerment Foundation ( is the organizer of the aforementioned workshop. DEF is affiliated and work closely with Vienna based World Summit Award. In fact, the annual Manthan Award for Best e-Content for Development organized by DEF is in consonance and guidance of WSA. DEF’s affiliation to WSA is half a decade now. DEF was associated with the two rounds of World Summit of Information Society (WSIS). The Manthan Award platform is itself a multi-stakeholder group that DEF has promoted since 2003. DEF is affiliated and associated to India based Mission 2007 platform which is a national platform to promote ICT in every village in India.

Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is the Co-organiser of the Workshop. Founded in January 2004 by leading portals in India, IAMAI in the only specialized industry body in India representing the interests of online and mobile value added services industry. IAMAI is a not-for-profit industry body registered under the Societies Act, 1896. Its mandate is to expand and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors. It is dedicated to presenting a unified voice of the businesses it represents to the government, investors, consumers and other stakeholders. The association addresses the issues, concerns and challenges of the Internet and Mobile economy and takes a leading role in its development. The association’s activities include promoting the inherent strengths of the digital economy, evaluating and recommending standards and practices to the industry, conducting research, creating platforms for its members, communicating on behalf of the industry and creating a favorable business environment for the industry.

The Internet Society (ISOC) and Intel are the Associate Partners for this workshop. ISOC is a nonprofit organisation founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet related standards, education, and policy. With offices in Washington, USA, and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world. ISOC provides leadership in addressing issues that confront the future of the Internet, and is the organisational home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

Intel pushes the boundaries of innovation so our work can make people's lives more exciting, fulfilling, and manageable. And our work never stops. We never stop looking for the next leap ahead—in technology, education, culture, manufacturing, and social responsibility. And we never stop striving to deliver solutions with greater benefits for everyone. Through its 'Connected Indians' programme Intel India attempts to provide a multistakeholder platform where government, industry associations and private enterprise can come together for the common cause of connecting a billion Indians.

While associating with IGF in its third IGF meeting to be held in Hyderabad, India from 3-6 December 2008, DEF and its co-organisers are committed to adhere to multi-stakeholder principle, geographical diversity and gender balance by adopting key steps. The organisers are making it ensure that participants are involved from diverse aspects of Internet governance including technology, service delivery, content, access and affordability of Internet and so on. The geographical diversity is being met by organizing the workshop with participants from South Asian countries, at least covering five countries. Equally important is for DEF is ensuring participation of women representatives in the proposed workshop. This shall not only add value to the workshop but also give a crucial input on how gender perspective and aspects are important in Internet Governance.




Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?

The workshop on 'Low Cost Sustainability Access' is definitely going to provide a value added perspective on the subject area. One focus area will be how low cost sustainability is key to information and communication enabled community development in developing and underdeveloped societies like India and Nepal. With key case studies as living examples, the workshop would attempt to highlight the key aspect of how cultural diverse societies interspersed with social-economic and political contradictions can get rid of digital povert yfor many through accessible and cost effective ICT services and platforms. The workshop will try to highlight the fact that information and knowledge poverty is real root cause of backwardness and deprivation and how low cast sustainability access to ICT tools and services can address this challenge. The workshop shall attempt to address the issue of how sustainability issue is linked to good goverance in developing societies enabling sound and utility based citizen services at the doorsteps of the citizens. One aspect of focus will be on low cost sustainability access to digital platforms for differently abled citizens, women and minority groups. It is these groups that are in need for special focus on digital acess within the larger framework of addressing digital divides and marginalisations. Cultural aspect of sustainability access will be also one key focus area for deliberations.

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.

The workshop shall address key issues among others relating to Internet governance and that conforms to the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society as well as mandate of IGF. The workshop is divided into the following sessions that will address the issues mentioned subsequently:

  1. 'Internet Governance @ Access, Connnectivity & Device'
  2. 'Internet Governance @ Content & Services'
  3. 'Internet Governance @ Commerce & Business'
  4. 'Internet Governance @ Policy & Regulatory Focus'


Issues for Deliberations

1. The workshop shall address issues of multilateral, transparent and democratic Internet administration and management, and how the involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations is critical here. Experts opinions and deliberations will focus on equitable distribution of resources, facilitatation access for all and ensuring a stable and secure functioning of the Internet, taking into account multilingualism across societies.

2. It shall deal with Internet infrastructure, its costing, set up, penetration issues to enable greater information flow in a two way traffic much needed for creating an Information Society

3. It will address the larger issue of a people-centred, inclusive, development-oriented and non-discriminatory Information Society through a democratic and accessible Internet platform.

4. It shall address key public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance especially in Southern societies.

5. The focus will be on multi-stakeholder partnership in enabling a hassle free internet administration to address digital gaps.

6. It shall delve on Internet resource management to guarantee the national interest and rights of countries to manage their own Internet resources.

7. Another aspect of focus will be on freedom to seek, receive, impart and use information, in particular, for the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge through ICTtools especially the Internet platform.

8. The issue of linking up increasing volume and value of all e-business, both within and across national boundaries and low cost sustainability access will be taken up.

9. Another focal issue will be how to ensure digital divide into digital opportunity, and ensure harmonious and equitable development for all through cost effective and accessible Internet tools and services.

10. The issue of multilingualism in the Internet development environment is very critical in regard to low cost accessiblity of Internet tools and services. This will be taken up.

11. One critical area will be cost and charges. That the charges for Internet connectivity restricts users is a fact and it should be better balanced to enhance access. The workshop shall delve on the development of strategies for increasing affordable connectivity, thereby facilitating improved and equitable access across societies.

12. The link between Internet accessibility and promotion of ICT education and training in developing countries is vital. And this could happen by establishing national strategies for ICT integration in education and workforce development and dedicating appropriate resources. This is another area for focus during the workshop.

13. Financial, technical resoruces funding and sharing determines Internet infrastructuere and set up. These determines Internet resource accessibility and usage to facilitate ICT services to the last mile leading towards an informed society.

14. The workshop shall delve on the linkages between Internet governance and social, economic and technical issues including affordability, reliability and quality of service.

15. The focus will be on inclusiveness and responsiveness environment towards innovation, competition and investment, as all these could significantly determine the cost and accessiblity of Internet services.


All the above areas conforms to the Tunis Agenda as well as to those of the IGF. The workshop shall engage ICT and Internet experts, practitioners, policy makers and ICT development experts to focus on key aspects of Internet Governance vis-a-vis

List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
Digital Empowerment Foundation ( have organised several workshops, round tables and conferences on ICT for Development including on e-Governance / Internet Governance. It annually organises e-Governance session as an event vertical during Manthan Award / ICONECS event. The Manthan Award process (organised by DEF) is all about usage of Internet and delivery of content and services using various ICT tools including Internet. DEF has carried out several case studies and evaluation studies like the 'Hyderabad First' e-governance project of Government of Andhra Pradesh and submitted its report to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. DEF is the knowledge partner to the DATAQUEST e-Gov summits annually wherein various issues relatinng to e-Governance / Internet Governance are taken up. DEF works closely with Centre for e-Governance, Department of IT, Govt. of India through the manthan Award vertical events specific to internet based service delivery and challenges.
Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
No. DEF was not part of organising a workshop last year.