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.
>> We all live in a digital board. We all need it to be open and safe. We all want to trust.
>> And to be trusted.
>> We all despise control.
>> And desire freedom.
>> We are all united.
>> MODERATOR: Hello. Good morning, everyone. I hope everybody is okay. We are here in Katowice, Poland. I'm Nathalia Sautchuk Patricio, I am the moderator of this session. And we have a lot of good moderator ‑‑ good finalists today and this morning to talk about this important topic that is the approach to connectivity and, well, we proposed this workshop, me and Juliana, in order to try to discuss examples that we see around the world, especially in Latin America, we see a lot of good examples of new approach or new ideas to deal with problems related to Internet connectivity and try to spread a little bit the word for in this regard, in this topic. And here we will come with four finalists from our region, Latin America, especially. First, we have ‑‑ I am not seeing here who is available. Everybody's ‑‑ yeah. Juliana is our online moderator is here to help me. Nice. Now I can see you there. Yeah. So the idea is every finalist will have more or less, like, 15 minutes to talk about the experience, the examples bring some input to the session. And after this we will open the floor to some discussion, to questions from the online and on‑site public audience.
So first of all, I imagine to start with our colleague from Brazil, Renata, from the National Telecommunication Agency in Brazil. I hope that she is there and could start it. Yes, Renata?
>> RENATA SANTOYO: Hi. Yes. Good morning.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Please go ahead.
>> Renata Santoyo: Let me share my screen. I'm unable to share.
>> RAQUEL RENNO NUNES: I think the host has to give you privileges. Do we have ‑‑
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Yes. Exactly.
>> RAQUEL RENNO NUNES: Is it possible for everyone to have this privilege?
>> Renata SanTOYO: If not, okay.
>> RAQUEL RENNO NUNES: To have privilege from the IGF.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: We are waiting here.
>> Renata SanTOYO: Okay. That's great.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Okay. Go ahead.
>> Renata SanTOYO: Okay. Can you see the screen?
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Just a minute. Yeah. Now it's okay.
>> Renata SanTOYO: First of all ‑‑ I just would like to start with saying, of course, good afternoon or good morning as I am here at 5:30 in the morning, so depending where you are. I just would like to say hello to my colleagues. Juliana, Nathalia, Lily Edinam, Carlos Bello, Juan Peirano, and say that it's an honor to be here and thank you very much for being patient. I speak on behalf of ANATEL and also the head of international affairs, Tais Niffinegger, who cannot attend the session today.
So taking advantage of the provocation of policy questions that ask us about telecommunication infrastructure, expansion of significant access, lessons for improving access according to local needs. I would like to talk here about a recent project developed as a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between the National Telecommunications Agency and the British Embassy on the topic of Digital Access Development in September last year.
The first result ‑‑ the first project resulting from this partnership was developed by the Association Progressive Communication, and its results were delivered this year on October 25. The intention of this project was to enable the construction of environment, to encourage community networks in Brazil, and the development of concrete projects and studies with a view to contributing positively to the promotion of digital inclusion and the transformation process in the country.
The initial project developed under this partnership were focused on encouraging community networks, support teams, small providers and conducting research at the population of small municipalities to meet the demand and gather input to contribute to a more assertive public policy, improving the agency's performance. As an alternative to traditional investment, options was thought with the possibility of building access networks in regions with low financial returns, particularly rural and related areas with difficult access. We believe that community networks open the way for disconnected communities to build networks with their own equipment or hire networks and equipment from neighboring locations or even from satellite operators in more remote areas. These networks must comply, of course, with current regulations, especially regarding regulatory models and equipment certification requirements. But in the end, as a result ‑‑ as a result, the following products were delivered. The first one was an executive summary entitled Policy Brief and a deep analysis of the current scenario of community networks in Brazil, which include the mapping of existing community networks, the vision of the main actors involved through documentary research and consultation with stakeholders and to find the main challenges in recommending potential improvements so that they can be made for the development of digital access in the country.
The second product is a community networks manual that provides general guidelines for the implementation of community networks, and it's available to the entire population in a very friendly language and intends to be a useful consultation tool. And finally, the third product delivered were two videos with guidance to the general public. Interest in simple, assertive, and accessible language. The main guidelines contained in the manual in order to strengthen the manual and generate interest in it. It has subtitles in Portuguese, English and (?). The manual was working on a 12‑minute video and also a 1‑minute teaser of the video was also made.
We are confident that the results presented will bring enormous benefit and concrete results for the expansion of digital access to the most vulnerable and excluded populations in Brazil and promote the increase of digital inclusion, stimulate innovation, create jobs, generate opportunities, business partnerships which is not an easy task.
Remembering that this year the option of 5G as held in 700 megahertz, 2.3 gigahertz, 3.5 gigahertz and 26 gigahertz rate of frequency that allow providing a greater volume of spectrum resources for providers to expand their network in addition to the demands of restricted radiation. If on the one hand we are working to offer Brazilian society the most modern and fastest in the world telecommunication. On the other hand, our challenge is even greater, to seek connectivity solutions for part of the population that still lacks minimal infrastructure of access. In this scenario, we have a great geographic and income inequality challenges in the country.
Community networks are an innovative solution for connectivity gaps, enabling people to develop the model that best suits the reality. They represent a paradigm shift allowing groups, local administrations, entrepreneurs, to develop a new access infrastructure in this way to enable individuals and communities to manage a common good. It provides connections and autonomy and infrastructure. They can learn not only to have access but also to build their infrastructure together with others in the community. We know that a large part of the population cannot access the Internet significantly. Because of this, public policies in Brazil have been very focused on expanding broadband Internet access. The expansion has been a constant concern of infrastructure expansion on the increase of high speed and increase in access networks, whether fixed or mobile broadband.
Also the increased presence of small providers in terms of volume in the market that contribute to the advancement of connectivity in the country. Together, the small providers would present around 40% of the fixed broadband market and have been crucial in the internalization of connection in the country, Internet in Brazil for smaller municipalities. With access to the Internet, communication in small community improves and benefits the connectivity, as I said, commerce, education to accelerate the implementation of the utilization of the a Internet in the country. This project allowed for better understanding of places in Brazil in terms of broadband, network expansion, network coverage, governance in Internet architecture, but also geographic inequalities between rural, urban and Indigenous peoples, as well the different access from different social classes.
So I just will talk a little bit more about the policy brief and the manual that's the policy brief. It's available on this website. The policy brief maps the barriers found in public policy, regulation, economic, cultural and discrimination barriers in a way that contributes for community networks to flourish sustainably in Brazil. That the work has 158 pages, so it's a very deep document. The executive summary provides a set of recommendations and international best practice. ANATEL has sought to adapt to the frequent band allocation to allow access at a low cost in a more democratic way not only through restricted radiation bands but also through frequent bands for links to adequate solutions for coverage, as solutions such as Amazon, for example, with the bands H and F.
This project represents not the final project but a diagnosis that allow us to improve and to implement such as proposals for expertise, amplification and the study of new possibilities such as the regulation of the limited private services that is used today to make community networks viable which can be improved as if it was not created for this purpose.
Open data were used to identify access and transparent network in all locations in Brazil, whether urban or rural, and map the level and type of coverage in communities (?) Indigenous people, also map the technology and costs they have of incorporating Indigenous peoples' right, to promote their right to self‑communication, self‑determination, in their own media. Finally, the policy brief brings a series of cross‑cutting recommendations on gender affirmative action such as using (?). Those are ‑‑ these are found ‑‑ used in telecommunication development to adopt new heritage and pay attention to community networks. This document is also based on examples of good practice such as Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Spain, not only on the merit of telecommunication but also on methodologies, consultation, and collaborative works such as this one which brought together efforts of all these actors and creates an opportunity for technical, economic, social, cultural sustainability and may development create a virtual circle of inclusion and empowerment in local communities.
About the manual. Oh, sorry. This is the manual. And the manual target audience is residents of locations that do not have connectivity or have insufficient connectivity or that are out of the economic reality of the location, both rural and also isolated areas. The manual is very interesting, especially because of this practical nature. It is intended to encourage interest in community networks for these initial steps for an overview both in the administrative, management, and social part as well as the technical part, explaining technical concepts of equipment, of network in the regulatory part, knowing whether the community network needs a grant, an authorization or not, and how to proceed with the regulatory agency.
The pillars that led to this collaboration sought popular education into consideration. So it was a material constructed without knowledge that existed before, using more simplified language, avoiding technical jargon, explaining the terms in English, and with very careful illustrations. Great care was taken with the inclusion of diversity, and it's believed to be a way to overcome barriers to access.
So to conclude, I would like to say that we are very happy with the results of this project. ANATEL has been working for many years to be able to make regulations and projects to expand access, especially broadband. We have evolved a lot in expanding access, especially mobile broadband with obligation in the notice. The result of this work, which is just the beginning of this work, is a diagnosis and an operation manual. We are now starting a new phase at the agency, looking at community networks in small communities in remote rural areas. We intend to further adjust the regulation with this focus. Regulation needs to be a facilitator so that the population has access to quality infrastructure in the Internet.
We are strengthening ties with representative of community networks to get to know better and have the necessary knowledge of where to act so that we can have more assertive regulations, define the process and reaping good results in which everyone can be connected and facilitate everyone's life. I'm grateful for the attention of everyone presenting here, and I end with a teaser of the video (?). It's just one minute. (video played with no sound) That's it. Thank you very much.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you, Renata, for presenting this very insightful presentation in what is going on from part of ANATEL in Brazil. It's really inspiring to see all this work and about this manual stuff and this work you are trying to make in collaboration with some community networks there. And before we go to our next speaker, I didn't tell our audience what policy questions that we put as provocation, pardon me. So I want to fix this so our audience know what we propose for our finalists. First we provoke, then, before the session to talk about how we could ‑‑ how can the significant expansion of mobile infrastructure around the world as well as other existing and emerging technologies such as satellite, fiber, and wireless networks be used to expand affordable access. So we are thinking about how we can leverage infrastructure and technology innovation development, in general. And a second provocation that we send before in order to give this idea to them, it's like practical and local‑driven policy solutions, and I think the presentation from Renata made it very well, like talking about lessons, that we can think about from successful policy solutions to universal access and meaningful connectivity around the world. In the case of Renata, she presented about Brazil, yeah. In the same way, like, taking into account local specificities and needs. We know that in the case of Brazil, she talks about Indigenous and quilombolas communities that they have, of course, special needs that is necessary to take into account when we are promoting solutions, yeah.
And now to go ahead with our speakers and the amazing spreading the word here. The next one that I would like to invite is Carlos Bello from Mexico. First I would like to thank you because I know that in Latin America, it's really, really early for you to be here. So please go ahead, and you can introduce yourself and try to answer our provocations. Please, Carlos.
>> Carlos Bello: Thank you very much, Nathalia. Can you hear me? Just thumbs up.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Yes. Very nice.
>> Carlos Bello: I don't know if it's early or late. 3:00 a.m. in the morning. It's kind of in the middle, but I'm very thankful. Many thanks for the invitation. Thank you very much, Raquel, for considering me to be a speaker here. And thanks to all of the other speakers. I'm very honored talking to you here. Going back to the questions, the provocative questions, the first one on how emerging technologies can be used to expand affordable access. Well, we all know that access is obviously key nowadays in a Digital Economy for development. There are many ways to access ‑‑ to provide access to individuals. It also depends on the countries, and every country has a different situation. For example, we have Uruguay that is pretty much all connected because their geography is not high mountains, so it's easy to connect everyone.
But on the other hand, we have countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico where I'm from in which it is more difficult to have connectivity for everyone because there are some areas that are very hard to reach, and they are not really cost effective, no, for companies. This is where government has to jump in, no, because the private sector is not going to make the investments, you know, to go and have connectivity in areas that are not going to give the returns.
And how can government interfere? And we'll talk about that in a second. The different ways in which people can connect are listed in your provocative questions. First of all, with the mobile spectrum, no. For mobile, we need to put towers, and you can always do combinations. But what do we need from the mobile perspective? Because it's not only ‑‑ it's not only asking governments to go and build the infrastructure where private companies cannot get, you know, it's a combination of more things. Government has to promote regulation or to issue regulation that allows private sector to build out the infrastructure. I am very convinced that there cannot be complete coverage if the private sector is not really involved, no.
In Latin America, and maybe some of my colleagues will agree with me, we are very accustomed to say father government, come on, and bring me the connectivity, no? I think it shouldn't work like that. I mean, it's a part of the process. I think governments should have all the regulation and make it easy for people to provide service. So from the mobile perspective, using the mobile spectrum, you know, for cellular and things like that, there should be more competition. There should be regulation for the MVNOs, the mobile virtual network operators, which are growing fast in Latin America. They are well developed in Europe. But in Latin America, they are growing fast. And government also needs to understand them because, you know, it's hard to have your MVNO, at least in Mexico, and sometimes the authorities ‑‑ some of the authorities do not have full knowledge of what an MVNO is, and they treat you as if you were a regular operator. And, you know, they are learning slowly, but they should be very open to all different business models. It's not an easy task.
And obviously, I think this is a requirement all over the world. Spectrum fees. No? They have to be reduced, or there's got to be a vision from government that spectrum fees are not to get, you know, immediate money for programs. Spectrum fees should be accessible and should allow the service providers to develop, you know, it should not be, like, a heavy load on the spectrum providers, no? We've got to find a balance between spectrum fees and how to make or oblige the operators to develop infrastructure and use it as a payment of those government fees. No.
Also, regulation has to be thinking about Internet of Things. You know, not everything is going to be voice and Internet access. But Internet of Things is going to become very, very important, and regulation may not be ready for it. That's from the side of the mobile.
From the side of the fiber, fiber, at least in Mexico, it was a huge growth of 35% of fiber between 2019 and 2020. This is because pandemic, everybody started requesting Internet access. So the installation of fiber grew a lot. But the main problem with fiber, at least in Mexico and some other Latin American countries, is that the installation or the permits to install the fiber on the streets, the antennas, is subject to local authorities. And, you know, in big countries or in medium‑size countries, we have as many local authorities as you can think of. And the regulation is different between one and the other. And that is really complicated. Some regulators in Latin America have understood that's a problem, and they are working with local authorities trying to make them understand that allowing Internet infrastructure, telecom infrastructure, is much better for their localities, and there are good examples in Colombia and Mexico of model regulation.
Also, you have the WISPs, the wireless Internet service providers. Renata did talk about communities, and the WISPs are private companies, individuals, you know, individuals who just finished their career, you know, their major in engineering and started putting infrastructure for their own Internet, and then they sold it to their neighbor and then to the other one, to the other one, to the other one. And in Mexico, at least, we have seen growth of WISPs. It's a very important piece for coverage. I believe that without the WISPs, there will be no complete coverage because they are identified with their community, and, you know, it's a job now. It's now a real job. It's easy to become ‑‑ with technology, it's easy to become an Internet service provider. You know, many years ago providing Internet was for big companies. Now it can be achievable and a good business for a family. So I think WISP is one of the solutions.
And finally, satellite technology. Of course, in many countries, without satellite technology, there cannot be communications. It is the easiest way to reach some places. It may not be the very ideal for voice services, but it is for Internet access. No? It's cheap to deploy because there's a small infrastructure that is required. But we have new players in the satellite industry. Starlink, OneWeb, et cetera, et cetera, and they are ‑‑ their satellites are in the low‑earth orbit. So the problems that we have with the geostationary satellites, which is a delay, and it's hard for voice services, we will no longer have it with the leos.
In that sense regulation does have to be allowing companies to develop and to let them do business because eventually they will reach communities. It's also important to note that there shouldn't be a fight between all these technologies because we always have the fight of mobile against the satellites and against the WISPs, you know, discussions all over. At least most of the countries need all of these technologies to have a complete coverage in their country. So it's important to not only focus on coverage being technology neutral but also on capacity building, no? Having people understanding how to use Internet, the importance of Internet, and how Internet access even really helps the economy to grow. No? That's on the first question that you posted.
On the policy solutions ‑‑ and I'll be very brief on this ‑‑ you also posted a question, no. What practical locally‑driven solutions from policy exist? And I would say that ‑‑ I'm going to touch a little bit on Mexico, which is what I am most familiar with. We are in a generation for the regulator, based on ITU, International Telecommunications Union, best practices. They are already on the fifth generation of regulators. No? First generation was privatization. Then independent regulator, competition, blah, blah, blah. Now we are focusing ‑‑ the regulator has to focus on collaborative regulation. And you touched on that.
All the different authorities have to collaborate. We shouldn't focus only on telecom and ICT, you know, as we've been doing for many years. Now the telecom and ICT regulator has to collaborate with other authorities. You know, environment, on (?) Economy and promoting small and medium‑size enterprises, and collaboration also means involving the private sector, no? When you come up with regulation, you do an open consultation, and you receive feedback of the people that are going to be benefited of the regulation.
So the regulation should ‑‑ since it's across all sectors, it should be focused on Digital Economy, okay? We should no longer be talking only about tower and telecommunications. We should be seeing a whole new and complete Digital Economy and telecommunication infrastructure is a tool to reach the Digital Economy. This is what the ITU calls the five ‑‑ the generation five collaborative regulation. It's not 5G. It's G5. Just so we don't get confused.
And, you know, collaboration not only across federal authorities and not only authority with private sector, but also federal authorities with local authorities. I truly believe that if the local authorities are not involved and do not understand the importance of having the community connected, we will not go anywhere. You know, there's evidence that every time you have more connectivity, the economy grows. It allows the people in the small community to focus on a business, no? Like I said, Internet access. Maybe the kids that just finished in a small community and went out and came back to start providing service, instead of opening a store for sweatshirts or whatever, they open their own Internet access service. They start with the Internet cafe and start developing to providing Internet to more places in the community.
So I think the biggest role of the authorities is to identify what can they do to promote and make it easy for people and for companies with a strong focus on small and medium‑size enterprises, to provide Internet access, to allow them to install infrastructure and do business, because every single access point has to be sustainable. Otherwise it will be nice for the picture. You know, you'll be there for a month or two, and then it will go nowhere. And this is why also in Brazil with the program Renata mentioned, you know, you develop ‑‑ you involve the whole community, and you let everybody participate. So, you know, just to sum up, I believe Internet access should be allowed using all of the technologies available, not focused on only one. And it should be a campaign with very good regulation, flexible, and with a strong focus on small and medium‑size enterprises.
With that, we probably have a better chance to have broad coverage than just a government program, you know, taking Internet to specific communities. And I'll be very happy to answer anything further on this issue. Thank you.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you, Carlos, for talk about a little bit from the perspective of company sector, from the private sector. It was really insightful to see your mapping of how all different types of companies that could offer the service and about the collaborative approach that you mentioned. That is really important, in fact. And I have a lot of questions, but I will keep this a little bit aside to, in fact, to call our next speaker that is Juan Peirano from Internet Society, so bringing this perspective from the Technical Community is really important. So, please, Juan, go ahead.
>> Juan Peirano: Hi, Nathalia. Hopefully everyone can hear me and see me okay. I'm very, very honored and very happy to be here among ‑‑ I think at this point we are all friends, and we have been discussing these topics for a long time. So thank you very much, Raquel, and Nathalia, for the invitation. I think one of the benefits of being one of the last speakers at the end of the week of the IGF is that we can leverage from what a lot of people said before. And I would like to start with something that came up, and Renata mentioned it during the PMNA, the policy network for meaningful access, panel discussion alongside others, she mentioned about the complexity that we have in the connectivity landscape right now and how that is also connected with the intrinsic complexity that human relationships have.
So I think that was a very insightful way of ‑‑ as a kickstart to try to find some of the solutions that we need to find, especially in the region, but also around the world, on how to connect and probably many of you have seen the figures published by the ITU in the report facts and figures that over 3 billion people are still unconnected. So that comes from also another issue that I wanted to discuss with you today is about the trends that we are following ‑‑ that we are seeing today about how quickly are we connecting these people that are unconnected.
But getting back to the complexity, I think one of the key issues there is that us as humans, we don't like complexity. Our brains don't like complexity. We like to see things in many cases black and white. We want to have an opinion. We want to stick to the opinion. We want to understand what is happening. So every time we face challenges that have complexity by themselves, in many cases it's very difficult for us to face them.
So in this case, in the connectivity case, when we are trying to connect people, I think we need to acknowledge that complexity, the complexity of human existence, so to speak, but at the same time trying to focus on the things that we can achieve and try to untangle that complexity and find those spots where in each of our cases we can actually untangle them and to try to find more streamlined solutions for everything. And I am very grateful for Renata's presentation before me and Carlos because I think the ANATEL example is one of the best examples that we have in the region. It's one of many because I think Argentina has very good examples. Mexico has very good examples. Colombia has very good examples. Bolivia and Paraguay is working. So I think also the Latin American region is pioneering many of the solutions that are trying to untangle the complexity that we have there.
To refer back to the ANATEL work that they did with APC and with the UK government and other stakeholders, as Carlos on the call, he has worked with ANATEL for many years and I know Nathalia and Raquel as well. So it's very important to take a deeper look at the ANATEL example and see how we can bring that example to other countries in the region. Because I think the way that the multistakeholder approach work in that case was very beneficial, and it approached one of the issues that I think we need to untangle, and it's the community networks landscape and the access to rural areas. So I believe that it's very important for us to follow up during the discussion about that.
But also, Carlos mentioned Uruguay. I'm originally from Uruguay. I'm not based there anymore, but it is true that it's very easy to connect people in Uruguay because it's very flat, and we are only 3 billion compared to Brazil and Argentina, our closest neighbors, we are a speck of dust in Latin America in terms of connectivity. But nonetheless, I wanted to mention that my parents live in the countryside, and my father had to walk, like, 1 kilometer to speak with me, that I'm in another country, to have some sort of connectivity. So it's still not even. And in countries that are as easy to connect as Uruguay, because there's a lot of support from the government, from the state operator, from the public sector, from many stakeholders in the country. Even that situation, we are not reaching everyone. So I think we need to make sure that we address the issues that we need to address in each of the cases. And that brings us to the question about local needs. And I think that's one of the key issues why we are not connecting as many people as we used to at the beginning of the century. We reached the easiest‑to‑connect people in urban areas. We had all the money ready, all the technical capability was there with the equipment and everything, but now we are slowing down, so we need to find those innovative solutions to reach those places where it's harder to connect.
Again, I think Brazil and their work is a testimony of that. And the some of the issues that I think they are raising there about licensing spectrum management and financing mechanisms are key in terms of policy to achieve the universal connectivity that we want to achieve. But also, we need to take ‑‑ make sure that we put some effort, again, to make the complex issues less complex. We need to also have some considerations about mapping. We need to make sure that we promote enabling policies that enable, again, sorry for saying that two times, but that try to support open data frameworks that are conducive to understand what the connectivity landscape in the region is in terms of fiber deployment, in terms of coverage, in terms of population density and census. I think there is still an avenue that we need to go through there in terms of mapping and how honest we are with ourselves about who are the people that are actually covered? Who are the people that are actually connected? Or who are the people that are closer to fiber that can actually connect? Because there is a point of precedence there because it's not only being closer to the fiber but also it cannot be just a cable. It needs to be a place where you can actually connect. So there are many, many points that we need to address in terms of mapping that I think will also benefit in the next few years in the run‑up into 2030 and trying to achieve the goals, that it's really to affordability. So all of them are together.
But going into some of the ‑‑ a little bit on details before I yield my time. I think, again, in the case of licensing, spectrum management and funding mechanisms is sort of like a package that we need to address to connect the ‑‑ and connect people in the region in the sense that ‑‑ and Carlos mentioned this already ‑‑ we need to make sure that we allow people to be licensed to provide services. It needs to be affordable for a small operator to get a license and easy bureaucratically. If we are making the process too difficult and too costly, those people that have the intention to bring connectivity to a certain area that is currently where they are poorly connected or they have a deficit in the infrastructure, as regulators and as policymakers, we don't make an effort to give them, like, a potion, yeah, I will not make your life more miserable. I will try to help you with a licensing framework that is easy for you, and it's accessible for you, and also it's covering the needs of the region that you want to provide service in.
After that initial ‑‑ how can I say ‑‑ the way of making things easier for licensing, I think the spectrum management that is a little bit more technical, but it has also ‑‑ it's directly related with the licensing frameworks. We need to make sure that we have technical infrastructure, and there are many, many examples around the world. And I think in Latin America, we are doing a great job, for example, with Wi‑Fi 6. I think we are doing a very good management of spectrum related to Wi‑Fi 6 and give us unlicensed spectrum as we can and having the whole 6G expand a license for Wi‑Fi 6. I think it's a very interesting and positive move in the runner‑up to connect people because, as you know, well, I think Carlos mentioned mobile, but many of the ‑‑ most of the bandwidth is used when those models are uploaded to Wi‑Fi networks. So Wi‑Fi itself as a technology and unlicensed spectrum is key to achieve, not only universal access but to promote affordability and to promote better quality of connectivity in those places where they are now a certain level of connectivity that it's not ‑‑ and panelists before us mentioned it's not meaningful. It's not reaching the needs of the people.
And finally, I think we mentioned spectrum management, but there are also many ‑‑ not many but several very interesting ways of managing spectrum that are related with dynamic spectrum allocation or user shared frameworks and spectrum databases. I think in the region we are still ‑‑ in the LATAM region, we have a way to go there because those are very ‑‑ at least from at this point I think in many cases are costly solutions and not always easy to implement. But I think we need to go through also to walk that avenue of work so we can use the spectrum in a way that it's not seen as a scarce resource because it's very important to realize that portraying spectrum as a scarce resource and as a costly resource is a fabrication of the way on how we manage that spectrum. Spectrum are just frequencies that are there. So if we don't look for solutions to make that management more easy or more equitable or more affordable, it's because of us, because of the people that are managing it. So I think that there is also a way of working there that we can achieve better policies.
And finally, the funding mechanisms, and Carlos mentioned this, and Renata as well. There is ‑‑ I think it's also technically related with licensing because ‑‑ and it's sort of like a Catch‑22 situation when if you are, for example, a community network, at ISOC, the organization that I work in, we promote complementary access solutions and community networks by themselves. If you are not legal or if it's too difficult for you to get a license as a community network, how can you expect to get funding mechanisms? And when I talk about funding mechanisms, I'm talking about the most traditional ones like getting a loan from the bank. Getting people to invest in your community‑owned business. So if we don't make the licensing frameworks easier and affordable, it will be very difficult for those small operators to get the right funding that they need.
And we always use ‑‑ and I think it's very, very important to mention, the universal service funds in the region. Many people here on the call might know that in the region, not the universal funds are not used all the time in the ways that they are supposed to. And if we have, again, the example of community actors, if a community could achieve a license and at the same time would automatically be part of a telecommunications ecosystem for a country and then maybe try to grab a little of that money that is in many cases standing there in the universal service funds in many countries. So, again, I think, again, the package of licensing spectrum management and funding mechanisms, it's one. And then also tightly related but not directly is the mapping solutions that we need to address. And finally, the affordability.
And I think I'm going to leave it there. I took, like, 10 or 12 minutes, so I think that's enough. And I invite everyone to ask questions and have a good discussion. Thank you, Nathalia.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you, Juan, for your insightful inputs. Now I call Raquel from Article 19 to put your insights from these questions and these topics that we are discussing here, please, Raquel, go ahead. The floor is yours. And after Raquel, we have some time to ask some questions. So be prepared to participate and ask questions for our panelists. So Raquel?
>> RAQUEL RENNO NUNES: Thank you. Thank you, Nathalia. Thank you, everyone, who had to wake up so early for the session. And I think that when we planned it, we thought about having people and examples as we cited the description of the panel positive examples just to change a little bit the dynamic because in many sessions or many times we meet as multistakeholder group, we tend to say, well, this is missing. You're not doing this. You're not doing that. And we kind of try to gather examples, because Brazil and Mexico are real good examples. Every time we talk about community networks, those are the examples that we mention for sure. We might, of course, add others because there are luckily more examples in different countries more and more. But Brazil and Mexico are referenced. We know the work that Sitel is doing that reflect that. So we wanted to start from this kind of an optimistic and basically giving concrete examples that were basically presented by you all, saying that this is possible. No? So we are not saying ‑‑ we are not talking about utopia. We are not talking about something that might be possible in a few decades. We're talking about a future that is here, it's now. Which it's different from saying that we are looking for a single solution to implement in other regions or other countries.
And I just really wanted to complement because I think that the main elements were already described and presented by you all. But many times when we all work with a forum like the IGF and then the ITU or our coalitions local, regional, international coalitions, we tend to be asked, like, okay, but this is just some techy stuff. Why does it matter for, you know, everyday people and everyday lives? And I just wanted to give some examples of what's going on right now because I think that when the solutions that were proposed and presented here, when we say that they are important, they are ‑‑ they have impact in real life, no? So, for example, when Carlos was talking about the diversity of providers and diversity of technology, this is very important because we know that in the specific forums, there are some technologies, and he mentioned mobile technologies getting stronger and stronger. And in official research facts and figures from the ITU and other official numbers that we have from some countries, the mobile industry is just getting bigger and bigger.
Which if you just have the map like that, you might think, oh, this is the technology that people prefer, which my question, is it really true, or is it what's basically available, no? For spectrum issues, for different reasons. And what happened in some countries, we conducted some fieldwork together with local organizations three or four years ago. And basically what they were saying is that the fact that WhatsApp, for example, was being part of the prepaid plans that were used in the population could present a problem, could be easily weaponized, and it was. And we all know ‑‑ I mean, anyone who's from our region how WhatsApp as a source of information is very complex and very difficult issue. And it's one of the main disinformation issues because, you know, it was very easy to say, okay. Instead of just using the traditional media who have some rules of what they're going to, you know, publish or not with all the criticism we might have with the media, they have to follow some rules and face some consequences if they publish something that is completely ‑‑ a complete lie that cannot be proven, et cetera, et cetera. But if you use a chat service, then you don't have to worry about that. And that's what happened, no? It was easy to get to people who hardly had some Internet but suddenly had some information ‑‑ information coming via WhatsApp but that they couldn't data check and sometimes they don't have data in the prepaid plans, for example. So this is a concrete example that basically affected democracies, no?
Also, we heard Jane talking also in the meaningful connectivity main session, I don't know if it was yesterday or the day before yesterday, that although it's important to try to think about what do we mean by meaningful connectivity, we have to be aware that there are, you know, a complexity of solutions, no? So complexity, now I'm saying in a good, in a positive way. Not complex like in terms of how do we untangle that, but there are so many cultures and so many ways to use the Internet, no? The same way ‑‑ and this is not new because when I'm starting ‑‑ studying media, it was in the '90s, we were studying some ‑‑ we were doing some case studies in the Amazon, and the communities there used the radio as what we might call the telephone, no? So they say, happy birthday or, you know, come here because you forgot your clothes that you have to take to wash. And this was transmitted in the local radios because it was easier for the people since the transportation was basically done by boat, no. So they kind of subvert the idea of the radio and used the radio for local one‑on‑one communication. And, of course, the Internet should be open for that as well, no?
So this is what happens when we say what the community needs because it's not in a top‑down way, like please tell me what you need, and we're going to provide to you. They already know what they want, so it's just basically leave them the possibility to, you know, manage, to actually work on the technology, like in a plastic way and shape it in a way that they find meaningful. And this is different from having this one‑size‑fits‑all solutions that are mostly sold by traditional mobile companies. And this is really important because, you know, as I said, I gave the example, this extreme example of the democracy being harmed by something that had to do with ‑‑ started with the infrastructure because local organizations said that this could be a problem before it was actually a problem, so they knew the risks, no?
And this prepaid plan is also something that happens in suburban areas where people there are considered connected in official numbers. But are they? I mean, what kind of connection do you really have if WhatsApp is your main source of everything in terms of information? So, of course, I'm talking from someone from Article 19, so I'm talking about specific, you know, access to the right, access to information. What kind of information do you access, no? When you just have access to one app. And also respect the diversity of ways people communicate. This is also freedom of expression. No?
But at the same time, for example, well, anyone who worked with grassroots groups in Brazil, at least, I'm pretty sure in Mexico and Peru and Colombia, it's the same. We're approached by groups who want to have a specific community network shaped not only in the traditional way like we want to access the Internet, but they want to have internal local communication that doesn't depend on the traditional providers because when they are under attack, they have to know. And sometimes one of the things that happened just before an attack is that the traditional communication is cut, and they don't have access to their phones. So some ‑‑ this is some of the demands. So this is also part of the things that have to be taken into consideration, some of the minorities, some of the groups there might be dissidents or might be in struggle with the power that is basically deciding what kind of communication this community will have. Now I'm talking about local, regional power, no?
So I think that just broad just kind of a more gloomy scenario because we had three people here talking about positive solutions, what ISOC has been doing around the world. It's amazing. We have all these reports showing concrete results and showing that this is possible, no? Different ways of communicating that it's possible. It's being done. What Carlos said and the work with the satellite, not, you know, Starlink satellite, but different technology under the same technology is also possible, no? And what Renata said and what they developed with APC and APC also worked with local organizations including Article 19, Instituto Mainstar -- Article 19 Brazil, of course – Instituto Mainstar and others showed that this is possible, no? So ANATEL is huge and has taken care of ‑‑ imagine Brazil has continental size, but still it was possible to be done. And it was done, no? And it was just launched. So I think that this is what I wanted to just show that, you know, sometimes we are involved in our local routine and local situation, and we think first, there is no solution. Everything, you know, is going backwards or we say this is too much. How can I, you know, be in contact and change a structure that is so solidly built by the big telecom operators and huge regulators. So, you know, these are all the examples saying that it is possible, and it can be done. So when we talk about replication, it's not like replicate one idea and implement what is done in Oaxaca, in some community in Mali. It's not about that. But talking in a big picture, it is possible. It is doable, no? So that's it. Thank you.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you, Raquel, for ‑‑ you explore many different topics, really important. And now we have this more or less, like, 17 minutes for some discussion with our participants. And I also see here that we have a question from the chat. And Juliana, will you read for us, please?
>> JULIANA NOVAES: All right. So we've got a question from Carlos. He would like to hear more from Renata, from ANATEL, about recent decisions on licensing the 6 gigahertz spend for Wi‑Fi 6E and the prospects of using this for community networks.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: So, please, Renata, if you could address this question? And if somebody else wants to put other questions, we are still waiting for questions from on‑site and online. So Renata, please?
>> Renata SanTOYO: I see Wi‑Fi 6 and 6G as one addition, actually, because I think Wi‑Fi 6, it was a great job. We had a nice year, but it has also TV white space, it's being approval. We have this ‑‑ all these obligations, and 5G notice about education, about more democratic way of licenses. We have the decrease of some fees. Actually, when I talk about Wi‑Fi 6, I think it will be really actually really great. I think it was approved. It was at a very good. But in the spectrum area, I see Wi‑Fi 6 as one more tool in all of this environment. So we have some specific ‑‑ because, of course, we have some specific solutions for each case. So Wi‑Fi 6, it's a great solution. Satellite communication is also a good solution, depending on the case. Short waves, in the Amazon case, is another great solution. Actually, that's all I actually see Wi‑Fi 6 in all of this environment.
And also, lots of different, more ‑‑ different issues about the spectrum, we have lots of ‑‑ how can I say that ‑‑ more cases like spectrum access for back home, low fees. This sharing of 5G spectrum for community networks. Not only as a secondary market. Restricted spectrum. So I think it's a decision ‑‑ a great decision, and I think it will help as the other technologies and the other tools we have. I think we need to use all of them depending on the case. I think that's it. Thank you.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you, Renata. We have some questions on site here. Please, present yourself for the panelists before your question, and please say if you are addressing for somebody specific or to all the panel. Okay?
>> Thank you. Thank you very much. Yeah. I'm Roberto Sambrana coming from Bolivia from our local NRI. I wanted to ask the two colleagues ‑‑ well, the three, actually, the ones that were talking about, I think it was Carlos, about the new approaches of the different actors like WISPs, wireless Internet service providers, which actually, in some cases, in some countries, are maybe creating some sort of disturbance in the market. And it's good to know that there is a chance to co‑exist with the traditional ISPs. So that's what I would like to ask in the experiences that he mentioned, Mexico, or in some other places, how the regulators are dealing with this? How are they providing this kind of harmonic confidence between these two kind of very, of course, different operators?
And the seconded question is related to whether you think ‑‑ I don't have any specific participant or panelist to answer this one ‑‑ but I would like to know their opinion about what can we expect in the future regarding business models, knowing that most of our operators in the region have abandoned the deployment of fixed Internet service, and they are more attracted to deploy ‑‑ of course it's natural ‑‑ to deploy wireless mobile services. So if we are going to expect that this will continue in the future with new and different technologies like 5G, then what should we expect about the business model? Thank you.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you. Since we have 11 minutes to finish our session, I would say to ‑‑ I will try to give, like, time for everyone to explore the question for our participants. And also if you could put together some final remarks also, I think it's a good idea to wrap up in some way our discussion. Okay? So maybe Renata, you can start? Like, try to address Alberto's questions and also some final remarks.
>> Renata SanTOYO: Thanks for that. About the business model of the future, whether it's more attractive, as you ask. I think the key is radio spectrum links are the key of the success already for this project. We have IoT coming. We have very strong ‑‑ in a very strong way. So we need to adapt ourselves not only as equipment, fees, expect them in a more democratic way. As you know, Brazil has deep differences from classes. We have a situation that more than 50 million people nowadays are below the poverty line. We've only, I don't know, 27 million below the poverty line and 50% of households still don't have any Internet. So I think regarding this, you can see that we have also 220 million cell phones. That's a good number. But if you see 170 million are prepaid. So we just need to see that it's not ‑‑ they have access to Internet but has limited access to data. So I think that the challenges for the future, it's to change to this model, to have more equality in access, and I think these community networks can be a good way to reach, and all the measures with spectrum, as Raquel said, technical stuff matters, yes, matters because it makes all the difference when you put ‑‑ I don't know, when we make the 5G grant recently, and we just make the obligation for education, for investment in infrastructure, and fix that and not only in 5G but I think we can ‑‑ like, we have a 4G. I think we intend, with the 5G notice, we intend to cover the 4G broadband to more than 9,600 rural locations. So I think it's a good measure, not a measure only about the ‑‑ I don't know Carlos or Juan said, not just money that matters, but I think that all this obligation makes lots of difference and can really make difference in these challenges for the future. So I think that's it. Spectrum, I think, is the key now. And with these different obligations, not only fees, not only money, but obligation to investment in infrastructure, obligation in a different way to use the spectrum with more democratic way. I think that's it. Thank you. Thank you for all.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Okay. Now ‑‑ oh. I would like to pass to Juan. Juan, can you explore a little bit the question and also make some final remarks?
>> Juan Peirano: Yes, thank you very much. First of all, I would like to thank Raquel for her comments about both complexity and seeing complexity as a good thing and also making reassure that what we are talking today is not a fantasy. It's something that is happening now, and it's happening in the region and, again, the region is pioneering many things. And in this example, Mexico has a license for social purpose. Argentina is using USF to promote CNs. Brazil is having their efforts with CNs. Now in Colombia, there is Cornell, one of our partners and also a member of APC, is doing some testing with IMT frameworks ‑‑ IMT spectrum for deploying an actual ‑‑ a whole structure of mobile purchasers of CN, so things are happening. Things ‑‑ it's real, so I think we should make sure that we understand what we are doing.
In terms of the business models, I have my preference. If I have to decide, I will do everything fiber, because I was talking with fiber operators a couple of weeks ago, and they said fiber has infinite capacity. It's sort of true in the sense that we are evolving in fiber. We are making it cheaper. It's becoming very cheaper to deploy and also to maintain. That's my preference. I don't know if the market is going that way, but I think there is always a case to be made for fiber in every situation, both ‑‑ of course it's more expensive to do in an urban area because you have to do some more civil work, engineer work. But if you take into account the countryside, especially where the geography is more ‑‑ it's more welcoming, I think fiber should be also always a solution.
And in terms of examples, there is a great of a community called Barn here in the UK. They are deploying fiber everywhere. 1 gigabit per second upload and download. So it's a really capable CN that we have, totally fiber here in the UK. Like the north part in Yorkshire in the UK. But as a closing remark, I think, again, the LATAM region, Latin American region, has been a pioneer in many of these solutions. I think we need to keep working. We are working especially towards WTC next year where some of the ‑‑ many of the development agenda will be defined for the next four years within the ITU. And I think from a regulatory perspective and from a policy perspective, I think we need to ‑‑ the old stakeholders will need to focus a lot of our efforts there and make sure that we bring all the positive examples and also the challenges that Raquel mentioned about centralization and about concentration of services like WhatsApp or others and try to make sure that we address ‑‑ we bring the local needs to a global context in a meaningful way. I think that's it. I will give the floor to other colleagues.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Okay. Thank you, Juan, for your statements. We have very few minutes, and I, of course, ask a little bit more minutes for our colleagues from the Zoom and from here, the IGF, the room also. Don't cut us, please, just to assure that everybody has the time to make final remarks. But anyways, I will ask you to be quick, yeah, because we have, like, not so much time. And now I call Carlos to try to explore a little bit ‑‑ answer the question from our colleague and also final remarks, please.
>> Carlos Bello: Thank you. Thanks, everyone. To respond to Roberto, WISPs, they have been growing. I think they have existed even before there was a license for them. You know, technology has a way to exist, and then, you know, no matter if they're regulated or not, it comes. It exists. And then regulation catches up. So in Mexico, the development of WISPs has been very, very important, and the regulator, IFT, is very close to them. Fortunately having a license to resell telecommunications or to have your own WISP is as simple as filling out a piece of paper. And you fill it out. You send it to a regulator. And if they don't respond in a certain time, it's an automatic yes.
More than ever, I've seen ‑‑ I work at a law firm, BGBV, and I've seen many, many, many, many entrepreneurs starting their Internet business. And this is ‑‑ I think this is wonderful. If we get all the WISPs together in Mexico, I am sure we have probably an operator as big as the fourth operator in Mexico, no? So it's very important they connect with the local community. And this brings me closer to the other issue. I agree with Renata about spectrum being very, very important. But I think and also agree with Juan that fiber is going to be the problem solution because all the WISPs in Mexico, they start with the spectrum, but spectrum is limited. And it's hard to access. And most of the WISPs are trying to install infrastructure. I mean, they go from wireless to fiber. But they cannot give the step, you know, if there is no spectrum. So as I said from the very beginning, they're complimentary. You cannot go one or the other. And basically, you know, to sum up, I call authorities to be very, very open and make it easy for everybody to install infrastructure and have their own business. Thank you, Nathalia and Raquel and everybody.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you. We have now here 2 minutes and can we close the session, please? So Raquel, it's your turn. You have 2 minutes, and that's it.
>> RAQUEL RENNO NUNES: I don't need 2 minutes. I think that, you know, everyone here already said what was needed to be said, and I think that's, you know, the outcome that we are waiting, just to showcase all these positive alternatives and say that, you know, what we are preaching, it's doable. It's being done. And it has to be done more. So that's it. Thank you very much, everyone.
>> NATHALIA SAUTCHUK PATRICIO: Thank you for all panelists. It was really insightful. I hope that these examples could be spread and let a lot of people knowing that it's possible to achieve different approach, novelty approach, to connect unconnected people and also to have a better access. And also I think all the participants on site and online for posing the questions and participating. So as we say, see you around. Bye from Poland.
>> Juan Peirano: Thank you very much. Bye‑bye.