IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - APNIC

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. 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, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


 >>PAUL WILSON:   Hi, I'm Paul Wilson, the head of APNIC, the regional IP address registry for Asia Pacific.

 During she is IGF consultations, I think it's very important that we give special attention to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In terms of its impact on the Internet, COVID might seem like just another in a long line of challenges, like natural disasters and security attacks that have hit the Internet in recent years, but it's actually a very different situation and it's brought some very different challenges from those that we've seen and been prepared for in the past.  This is a scenario that we haven't anticipated or rehearsed for at all, particularly at the global level.

 Firstly, the widespread work-from-home trend, which has relied entirely on the Internet, has shifted into a usage from workplace to home-based connections on a very broad scale.  Secondly, there are new patterns in Internet traffic, too, with video conferencing, which has been very heavily used, requiring symmetrical end-to-end connectivity.  Video conferencing can't be cached like other video content streaming, and at this scale it's also seeing unprecedented usage.  This might not seem significant to an individual user, and of course not everyone has had the need or the opportunity to work from home, but nevertheless, the collective equipment packet of those did has been very visible, big enough to be seen in changes to Google's IPv6 traffic and in the traffic patterns seen at IXPs, Internet exchange points, across the world.

 There's going to be a lot more analysis, but the point I think we can recognize is that the Internet has functioned exceptionally well through this period.  It's been critical, like never before, to social and economic stability and it's been fit for that purpose.  It's demonstrated adaptability, agility and robustness during a time of really unprecedented and unanticipated stress.

 It is important understand that while the effects of COVID-19 weren't predicted and we didn't have a rehearsed, coordinated worldwide response, the response to it wasn't just business as usual.  Across the whole Internet, ISPs, service providers, infrastructure operators have scrambled to meet changing demand.  And locally there have been plenty of challenges and plenty of glitches, too, but it's a feature of the Internet's architecture that these efforts can be localized, they can be agile and responsive, and they can be highly efficient in allocating resources where those resources are needed to maintain services.  And that shows, again, the power of the Internet's distributed architecture.

 At the IGF, we always hear a lot about the need for trust and confidence in the Internet, but I think with COVID-19 we've seen a huge demonstration that trust and confidence can be very well placed because they haven't been betrayed or disappointed in these recent times.

 In the couple of minutes available, I'd just like to give a brief update on the activities of APNIC and our response to the COVID period.  APNIC as you may know is one of the five regional address registries that operate in the world today.  We're involved with the allocation and registration of IP numeric resources to the Internet community.  In the Asia Pacific we serve around 18,000 network operators and related organizations, and we're an active member of the Internet technical community, particularly in the IGF context.

 APNIC is a regional service organization that engages very widely around the region.  So last year, a very normal year, saw nearly 250 separate face-to-face engagements across 35 economies of our region covering capacity building, network operator groups, security and development, IPv6-related engagements and so forth.  And so this year has been a very different thing.  So since February, we have shut down all travel, and face-to-face engagements we've shifted to virtual events for as many of those as we possibly can.  We've replaced face-to-face engagements with the operational community with a series of events that we call networking from home, and that's a cooperative event with our regional network operator groups to provide technical and capacity building contained in online events, which have been very well attended so far.

 APNIC 50, our 50th significant major conference event, is coming up later in this year and that, too, will be an online event entirely for the first time.

 I mentioned the APNIC Academy.  We're expanding online courses for online delivery.  Our live webinars are attracting about twice the audience that they did last year.  And whew virtual labs, multilingual support and other facilities coming on stream, the Academy is becoming more popular and more important this year than ever before.

 The APNIC Foundation is the, essentially, fundraising arm of APNIC, working to increase investment in Internet development in the region through fundraising in partnerships with other organizations outside of but with APNIC.  One of its major activities over many years has been ISIF Asia ISIF Asia, the Information Society Innovation Fund.  That is a fund that has covered more than a hundred initiatives over the last 15 years or so, three and a half million dollars worth of small grants have been distributed.  ISIF Asia was a WSIS champion in 2018 and '19.  The latest call for proposals was opened a couple of months ago.  It closes very soon, on the 21st of March, but it is seeking practical solutions around Internet operational stability and security for small R&D grants.  And so as I say, that's closing quite soon, on the 21st of June, and you can find more at isif.asia.

 Thank you very much.