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IGF 2017 - Day 4 - Room XII - DC Connecting the Unconnected

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. 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 to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> CHRISTOPHER YOO:  Thank you for coming.  I'm delighted to invite you to DC on Connecting the Unconnected. 

I'm Christopher Yoo and along with coconveners here, and we're missing the fourth coconvener but the IGF Gods have a great grace to schedule in a session in direct conflict with us.  She's with us in spirit, if not person.

We're excited about this project.  I'm delighted to have a chance to introduce you to it, to talk about it.  Most importantly, to spend as little time talking myself and to tell you the real best part of this is we're trying to explore new ways to connect the unconnected.  And what's often missing from the IGF is the people who are actually deploying the Internet in places where it did not exist before and can actually speak about the stories, the challenges they faced and most importantly the impact that adding connectivity has had on peoples' lives which is ultimately why we're here and ultimately why we care so much about the Internet and deployment.

To give up a brief introduction, I'll start with the slides.

Is there a clicker?  Do you advance the slides?

The basic version of this, as everyone knows, we have 7 billion people in the world, only half of whom were on the Internet.  Adoption rates are slowing.  The international community is connecting   1.5 billion more by 2020, from the time that goal was set until now, we're not on track, we're running behind.  At the same time, there are enormous, hundreds of innovative efforts of new ways to gain the benefits of the Internet, but unfortunately no one is studying them in a systematic way, gathering information.  What's that mean?  Everyone is reinventing the wheel over and over and over again.  We're missing opportunities to learn and share practices with each other.  Second, no one is collecting empirical evidence about what works and doesn't work and what little exists is not done in a consistent way that allows comparisons across projects.  Our goal is to collect that.

The other question, is to look for solutions that will actually get us to scale and really operate in a sustainable way so it is not a project that arises and then falls, that would persist, and also has the chance to be a bridge to how we're going to cover 3.5 billion more people.

Lastly, what we discovered, it is to mobilize political support, it has to be not just a communication issue, you can't just say we have to connect more people.  We have to build bridges to health ministries, Education Ministers, Finance Ministers, eventually Prime Ministers.  To do that, you have to show how connectivity ties to larger goals such as economic development and healthcare and education.

What's our solution?  We're cataloging every initiative we can find globally, not just the success stories that everyone wants to talk about, but the failure stories to give an accurate sense of how things are going.  We have approached all of them to conduct case studies to understand what they're doing and also to gather empirical data in a consistent way.  Our plans are to analyze the data and identify models to try to find out how to scale this forward and then the process of seeing the first controlled trials on healthcare, education, other Sustainable Development Goals.

We have mined a large number of databases, just so you know where the information is coming from.  I won't go through all of these.  Interesting, people like WSIS have thanked us because the ITU collects ways that says one idea is better than the other.  They have a different political way of picking winners and losers and they're suppose of our efforts and encouraging.

What have we done?  We have identified 750 initiatives available on a database at onemoreconnected.org and we have migrated a server, if it is not up, it will be up in the early next year.  We have contacted all 750 foreign case study interviews and the database spends 153 countries, that's basically almost the entire U.N. membership and we have conducted 120 interviews with case studies and 23 are on the website now.  We hope to have all of them published earlier in the year.

If you want to know the distribution from all over the world as might be expected, the majority are from Asia, Africa, the one side, it is the total 750 case studies, the other is the interviews.  We also find important case studies in U.S. Latin America, North America the like in very interesting ways.

If you want to know the type of initiatives, we're looking at supply and demand side initiatives on how to connect people and anyone in the space knows that there are barriers aside from access and price, lack of digital literacy being the most important ‑‑ one important issue, but also you hear constantly in the developing world, we develop the number one reason, it is that people that don't use the Internet, don't understand the relevance, they don't know why they need it.

Many of you, you can build great networks but unless you address this deficit as well, you will not get the goals you're pursuing.  In terms of technologies, we're seeing wi‑fi, conventional 3   G, 4G, 5G, 4GLT, fixed text knowledges, we have the satellites, the innovative deployment using laser technology, wi‑fi, it is interesting to study and we'll see you had it goes although any new technology is speculative.  We have looked at digital literacy programs, local content programs, localizing content programs and the like and we continue to gather the case studies and learn more about them.

If you look at the domains, the span, it is everything from community networking, education, deployments, eGovernment, health, gender, eCommerce, the like.  So accessibility, we have great disability access studies as well and we're very excited about them.  We're seeing a very big richness of different things we're doing.  Just so you know, these are not our findings, but self‑reported challenges that the projects describe that they face more or less an order of frequency, lack of funding, infrastructure, limited capacity, resources, sustainability, resistance from the target ‑‑ from the audience they're trying to reach.  Community support, regulations, terrain, all of this is available.  There is a very wide range of challenges people face.  What we find, they're all very localized.  We try to draw some themes but realistic on how it will be implemented.

Take away, many projects lack revenue altogether, they're served on grants and lack of clear paths to sustainability.  A challenge is developing that, evaluating that.  Many people measure connectivity without actually looking at the larger goals, which under sells the projects.  Many of them really do not involve target communities, which is a major impediment to long‑term sustainability.  In fact, you hear more discourse than reality, which is why we're enjoying having people here so much that really understand the reality in an important way.

Next steps, we want to analyze the data and look at to the in-policy frameworks looking at it for cost effective and sustainability and it is funny, we have two lines, standardization and cross project comparisons, they're important, at the same time we're going to develop scenarios because urban areas and rural areas, island societies, mountain societies, different levels of development, they all face different challenges, there is not one magic solution to this.  It will be a series of scenarios of different policymakers hopefully applying and understanding and qualifying what they're doing.

The laths phase, we have interest from the development banks, international finance communities in addition to countries that deploy and the impacting investment community that want it o know, private investors that want to know that what they're doing is making a difference.  We're finding an enormous audience of people that are desperate for hard data of any kind to try to understand this.

We're also doing the last most exciting thing in many ways, it is to prove the tie to connectivity, trying to analyze it to things such as education, healthcare, economic development.  The gold standard in social science research when you try to attribute the controlled trials, we're in the process of fielding some in healthcare in the U.S., in education, we're lucky to have some representatives here, and Rwanda, economic growth, Entrepreneurship, healthcare, education.  We have a remarkable project with the deployment for the first time and we'll analyze this in important ways.

How do you get involved?  I would say you're involved by being here.  I left off here, you have the website, 1worldconnected ‑‑ the one is the number, not the word ‑‑ and we have a mailing list and we'll post information on what we're doing.  We have a social media ‑‑ we welcome your feedback on additional case study candidates and other places to look and we'll share the wonderful things that people are doing with the rest of the world.  We have social media presence and encourage you to follow that as well.  You can help spread the word on about what we're doing, if you're encouraged on what we're attempting to do, we're only part of it, we need the support of everybody to make this as strong as we possibly can.

Without further ado, I would introduce a coconvener, Michael Kennedy, of our Dynamic Coalition.

>> MICHAEL KENNEDY: Thank you.

Congratulations.  It was a remarkable initiative.  My role here is to really speak as quickly as possible and let us hear from the remarkable case studies that Christopher and his team have convened.

Two quick things:  First of all, you know, in a few stages we have had many years of developing Best Practices in regulation to pro the meet investment, competition in first fixed and then mobile connectivity.  We know about promoting competition and entry and networks.  Then commercial networks have deployed in some ways much further than we would have expected.  As Christopher said, much further than people have even adopted.  They benefit from enormous scale having now basically one standard, cheap equipment, amazing devices, so that's all really good but not going everywhere, clearly there is just areas where there is no commercial benefit to deploying a network where governments may not have the resources, may not choose to use them to deploy.

That's where the initiative comes in to compress the time needed to find the Best Practices, to figure out the best ‑‑ the best connectivity type to use, the best approach, what can be sustainable, what can be scalable.  That's where this initiative is really valuable.

Secondly, as an aside, I think we hear a lot here at the IGF, this may be the first one, the 12th one, we hear a lot about the fact that no decisions are taken at an IGF, without wading into that debate some people think that's good, others think it is bad.  This kind of use of the IGF to bring together all of these different people for information gathering and information sharing I think is just an unambiguous benefit of having an IGF.

With that, I'll step aside and we'll hear from the case studies and learn from them.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO:  Subi.

>> SUBI CHATURVEDI:  Thank you very much.

I do echo the sentiments in congratulating Professor Yoo and others for the excellent work they have put in building this together.

I come from India.  I have public affairs for the operator association.  When it comes to India and China, numbers come easy.  We have over a billion people with mobile connectivity, that's great in terms of telephone voice.  When it comes to access to the Internet and data it is unique, we have 28% of people still online.  That's great because it is second only to China.  They beat us this year.

The incredible paradox, we have some of the largest numbers in the world that needs to be brought on.  The government takes a lots of initiatives, at the IGF, having been a former MAG member, a question that's been offered five years ago is how we can make the IGF more relevant, creating intersessional work from going from one meeting to the other meeting and beyond workshops, what's the value that we can create.

A key foundation stone on this agenda, that talked about, the knowledge agenda, it talked about the narratives translating into Best Practices, things that you could take away from the main IGF into national, regional initiatives.  I agree when Michael talks about the debate where we don't do binding things and you debate questions and work with stakeholder groups, that's what this has really shaped into. 

For us, access means experience, the first ever experience also with literacy.  When it comes to showing numbers across, we have over 900 million people that are connected.  But just 200 million smart phones and over 200 million people who are first‑timers.  The first experience with literacy, it is really with the mobile. 

When it comes to these projects, one of the key barriers when we started to look at the work that Professor Yu has been doing, it is fantastic because it is not just episodic, this is the first study of its kind talking about empirical evidence.  A question, Professor, that we have been grappling with, is what is the test of a good regulation?  A lot of ‑‑ there are countries currently, especially Developing Countries, emerging economies going through a lot of flux and change and we have been looking at how innovative practices can be part of policy and regulatory frameworks.  Why identifying barriers to access, what one really wants is it was in addition to the renewable power because people couldn't power the cellular phones without access to power.  A big concern is the availability of local language content, and also the fact that the cost of access, the affordability of devices, so why in some cases you see the rates come down, these innovative models, I'm looking forward to hearing more from the people on the panel today because they have some amazing stories to tell as to how just access to connectivity has been shaping and changing and saving lives.  Whether it is in eMedicine, telemedicine, eEducation, they are great examples that when they're successful they see a positive response from the governments.

As far as India is concerned, we have seen one of the largest unique identification projects bringing people online, which is also looking at investing in Digital India.  What is great ‑‑ and I rest here ‑‑ it is the initiative that the government has recently taken, it is investing over 400 billion U.S. dollars in digital literacy, and as promised by the next financial year we would look at 600 million new digital literates, projects like this, where you can learn from, where you can also reach out to your government for success stories of scalability, cooperation, they're very welcome.

Thank you for this enriching experience.  I'm really looking forward to hearing more and learning from you.

Thank you.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO:  Without you and Michael, this Dynamic Coalition wouldn't be possible.

Without further ado, the most important thing is to hear from people doing it around the world and making it possible.  I'll start with my left with Claudia from AT&T.

>> CLAUDIA SELLI:  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for the opportunity to presenting and talking about this program.  Thank you for the initiative, it is really useful. 

This program, it is the most advanced education program that exists worldwide and it is really trying to close the digital divide,  and we're switching more than 86,000 schools and teachers and children that are trained in many different locations across Latin America, it goes from Ecuador to Argentina, Mexico, and other places.

Of course, we grant around 2,000 U.S. dollars to film students and we have already received more than 1300 short films from eight different universities.  Of course, when you touch on education, you need to have long‑term vision.  We started off with 20 schools and now we're reaching more than 8600 schools.  How do we do that?  First of all, we combine technology, so satellite TV together with content.  In fact, we have partnered with different organizations, we have Disney, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, so on, so forth, also the ministry content. 

And they're trying ‑‑ the teachers are trying to teach in a different way as well.  In fact, it is high‑tech program, but also in the sense that we try to reflect the realities and teach them and transform them in different ways.  An example that's really ‑‑ for example, we're trying to teach science and math through sport.  Looking at the game, they can analyze the movement of the player and then we can explain the example.  It is a different way to attract the attention of young people, and we try to really go in areas which are remote.  And we have a lot of problems, and we try to integrate and have the integration of people who are in jail, to give them also second opportunity, the projects for example have been in Argentina as well as in Mexico.

The other thing that's interesting, it has also a very strong corporate social responsibility component, in fact, there are different aspects of it.  First of all, for example, the project where employees, they volunteer to help reconstruct or help improve school, orphanage, other facilities and then it is offered the TV platform to NGO, we have more than 50NGOs that use this platform for free.  Also they're trying to reduce the carbon emissions so that they're trying to reduce it by 29%.  You can really see, you know, we're really trying to have these ways of looking at education and most important thing is that we educate the key people here, the teachers.  The teachers have traveled around 70,000 kilometers to reach the different location cans and rural areas and to really bring the knowledge to develop skills in the young people.

I will stop here.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: It reinforces some of the findings we're having in the initiatives.  The importance of emphasizing the demand side with local language content, locally relevant content, engaging the local communities and it is Latin America, it is a spectacular program.

I will jump around a little bit.  We have five different comments represented and it is both people doing supply side, networking to creation and demand side and, in fact, we'll try to giving you a richness of the sense of the breadth of the type of innovations people are making.

Let's talk about the work that you're doing in helping to connect Greece.

>> VASILIS CHYRYSSOS:  Let me thank you for inviting me here.  Giving me the opportunity to present what we do.

I'll tell you a few stories from the network?  An old woman in a village is examined by the resident doctor, the doctor wants to prescribe her the medicine, but he cannot access the online platform.

Another couple in a village, they're longing for children, grandchildren to visit them.  The children are reluctant to do so.

The farmer, he goes to the supermarket, he's not content but he has no other choice.

A young student cannot participate in the online courses her teacher delivers unlike fellow students in the city.  A group of immigrant workers, they're looking depressed, they hardly communicate with families back home.  What do these stories have in common?  They all take places in a same area.

Fast forward seven years, today the community network is established as a common communication infrastructure providing open Internet access connectivity to all.  The doctors house, the woman is instructed and this way he can prescribe medicines.

I used to see my grandchildren every three years and now we drink our coffee together using Skype explains another old woman from the village.

My daughter built a website for me.  This is how the organizers of the market discovered me.  I sold all of the year's crop there at better price for me and the consumers.  Never again supermarkets.

This is the story of the farmer.  Transportation this father, he also opened a Facebook account to make new friends.

A student manages to excel at the University admission exams, winning first place with her online support courses.

The immigrant workers today have happier faces being able to communicate with families on a daily basis.  The network, they're changing people's lives and we have many more stories to prove it.  Today we're serving 14 villages, almost 3500 inhabitants in central Greece.  We're working closely with locals, providing training and support and building awareness and sharing knowledge and experiences.  Not everything is ideal.  We have many that are discouraging the more engaged people, many young children cannot tell the difference between Internet and Facebook.  Some locals believe that we do what we do because we want to run for mayor.  There are many challenges learning from our mistakes and experience of other community networks.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: The great things you do, you deserve to be mayor.

This is inspiring.  Thank you for bringing the personal stories.  Now you're starting to understand why we're so excited about the project.  It is one of the dimensions we're starting to bring.  Thank you for coming to share that.

>> Thank you for the opportunity.  I'm Josephine and I come from Kenya.  We have an NGO and what to do, it is to turn young people to technology design and business.  We have young people between 19 and 25 and they're taken to a three‑month training program that's free.  At the same time, we give them a way to facilitate the transportation.  This is because the young people that you're dealing with, most families, they live on less than a dollar a day.  The challenge is that access to higher education, it is very expensive which means that most of them after finishing secondary school training they don't have any other opportunities that they can pursue.  It is a training program and after the three months we try to give them employment so that they can increase their annual potential.  Right now we're at 70% employment and we have seen that for most going through the program, it is that for example one of our students was working after high school, he started washing cars and he was making $4 a month, and right now he's earning $400 a month working as a customer service at a local telco company that deals in solar.  All of the success stories, and we receive over 300 applications but you can only take 25 at a time.  Because of this, we figure out why don't we decentralize the learning.  We built an eLearning platform that has offline and online capabilities and then we selected five of the partners which are mostly schools to host the equipment for the wireless connectivity so we build a national network connecting back to the school.

Our expectation is that since we have received so many applications, many of the young people will rush and take the courses that were on the platform.  We were disappointed, after two months, very, very few were taking up the courses.  We decided to try to find out why.  One of the things that came out, it is that they don't just want to get access to offline content, but they want also to be able to go online which was not offered.

Also the aspect of human interaction in learning, in Kenya, it is not so many people are well accustomed to learning online or using MOOCS so they preferred the interaction of going to a class and learning together with their peers.  Also skills of using the Internet, digital literacy skills, it was challenging, and what should they do once they're done with their courses.  Some of our courses, we're offering them online, they were technical, that means that somebody needs a laptop.  When you have a smartphone, there's not much you can do in terms of learning how graphic design.  So this makes us think of the model, rather than just using partners as hosts for equipment, we're now using them as hosts for learning centers.  We're partnering now with schools and facilities that have either computers that young people can command access and through that, we're offering digital lit sit training, with both teachers and students.  The plan now is to rollout the Internet access that's affordable to the community.

Thank you.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Thank you, Josephine.  It is inspiring work that you are a doing.  I hope that you continue to grow.

India, we have an innovative way to create ways to connect through TV spaces.

>> Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak here.  (SHARBANI) I represent a community initiative.  We connect villages that are completely unconnected.  We began in 2012 and we started with the first space and we connected 7 villages through that space and technology.  We have important learnings from this, after we deployed, and one was that they were nod ready to take the villages as customers.  They denied taking them as customers because of the acquisition cost and the cost of each customer.  That's when the people in to the villages, they decided, they told us can we form a community network of our own?  Can you give us a hand to do that?  That inspired us and we then scaled the seven villages up to 25 villages covering an area of 350 square kilometers and these villages didn't even have voice connectivity, so these are villages that are situated very far away.  Not so far away, but there was no connectivity, no signals, nothing, absolutely nothing.

People had to travel long distances to the nearby city to complete the things that they need to do on Internet.  There is a Social Security team for certificates, death certificates, things of that sort.  They have very high infant, mother mortality rates, the mortality rates are very high, one of the highest in the region where we're located.

We have built the connectivity there with an optimal mix of technology.  We did it through spaces and we have had to wait for the licenses by the regulators, we still have not gotten it but we have connected the villages with 5.8 gigahertz.  There are stations and we have worked with a local telecom servers and we have 65 hot spots.  We serve a population of 25,000 approximately people, that's roughly 1,000 per village, it is 25 villages.

We have not only set up covering the villages but we have looked into how to make technology very cheap and affordable for the villages, easy to deploy by the villages themselves.  Also we have also looked at how to make the network an accessible network.  That's one of the main contributions, and the villages are very happy about it.

They wanted ‑‑ they have set up the network by themselves now, and they're actually running it by themselves.

We are happy that we are getting the funding.  They will not be sad that we have to replace the telecom operator to take them as customers.  This network, it will perpetuate year after year and there are minimum costs, it is just $2 a month that they are using bandwidth.  We have recent figures of bandwidth in just one cluster of village, it has 63 users in the month of November and they're using 350 bandwidth.  It is working for the villages.

We have also gotten some of the interventions like eGovernment services, that the government is not able ‑‑ that's content in local language, already available, that the government was not finding a way to reach the villages.  EGovernment services are reaching the villages now and there is eLearning in the schools where the teachers are using Internet to teach the children that are there and eHealth services.  This, as I told you, the region, it is under ‑‑ it is really under the problem with child mortality rates.

We also are looking to make this network completely self‑sufficient by itself.  We're looking at the network and the systems which is being developed by our team.  We're actually showing the villages how to manage the services and we're looking at the research and cost effectiveness of technologies and it may not just be one technology per se but it could be non‑licensed band, satellite, fiber, but we're looking at the cost-effective technology and by which technology, if they use it, it is the minimum cost that they will incur and the investment, the earliest that they can get.  We're also looking into the impact that the connectivity has had in the lives of the people.

This is just happening on the field now.

Thank you.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Thank you for sharing that with us.

It brings up two important parts of sustainability, one, the fact that you have a revenue model that can continue to exist and that's important, but also training people to get to the capability to stay up.  We find many projects go up but they don't stay up unless you have trained force to do it or in this case, remote monitoring, using the power of digital technologies with the services.  That's a had great idea.  Thank you for being a path maker.

The next speaker, Diane from Comcast.

>> DIANE:  Thank you, Professor, for the work you have done with 1worldconnected and for this important conversation here today.

I think what unites everyone here in this room is the understanding that technology empowers people in the 21st Century Digital Economy.  It is important.  It is had crucial to job growth, social equality facilitates education, job training, Entrepreneurship.

I'm here today to talk about Internet essentials, a promotion from Comcast that was launched in 2011, six years ago.  Today it is one of the ‑‑ it is actually the largest adoption program in the U.S.  We have connected about 4 million people so far and it is growing, it continues to grow.

So before I get into the program, let me briefly speak to the State of broadband in the U.S.  Of course, you know, the road to universal access and adoption in every country is different.  In the U.S. we have almost 96% of Americans that have access to fixed broadband but only 82% choose to day don't.  That means that although 4% of the population lacks access to broadband, 18% chooses to not subscribe.  That suggests that the main challenge in the U.S. is on the adoption side.  Among the non‑adopters, there is a digital divide by age and ethnicity but the biggest variable is education, 94% of those with a college degree adopt, but only 64% of those with high school diploma choose to subscribe to broadband.

The research shows the main barriers are lack of affordable broadband and computer equipment, and the biggest barrier is digital literacy.  A study by Dr. John Horgan, the research director for the FCC National Broadband Plan found that a perceived lack of relevance is the key barrier to non‑adapters and there was a survey by the Department of Commerce saying two‑thirds would not subscribe to broadband even if it is free.  So we set out to tackle this divide by taking a holistic approach that we think gets to the drivers, the various drivers of non‑adoption.  We offer service at 9.95 a month, subsidized computer equipment at $150 and most importantly, free digital literacy and relevance training online, in person and in print.  With this holistic approach, we have had great success and it is the most successful program in the U.S. and 98% of users say that their children use it for their homework, 93% say it has had a positive effect on their children's education and 62% of users say that they have used it for job training and to find a job.  The program is really growing in the last six years.  When we first started we targeted families with school‑aged children because we wanted to address the homework app and make sure ‑‑ gap and make sure that children from low income households are not left behind.  Today we have pilots and we have expanded in different cities and we have pilots for seniors, Community College students and residence of public housing.

To close, as the Professor said, there is not of a universal formula ,but there are two takeaways:  One is the importance of literacy, relevance training, people have to have a concrete understanding of why going online will help their daily lives and we spent 350 million in cash and in-kind contributions to support this type of training.

The second take away, it is echoing what Claudia said earlier, that's that local partnerships are absolutely crucial in getting the word out about the program, and also in building trust with the communities that we're trying to help.  We partnered with over 9,000 different organizations so these are schools, libraries, churches, local leaders, civic leaders and various people in the community.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Thank you for sharing with us.

A wonderful thing I love about Comcast essential is because there is longstanding and their commitment to collecting data, they have the best longitudinal data, they actually follow the users across time, it is a great luxury from a social science standpoint to understand what works.  The fact that they're using different types ‑‑ we talk about digital literacy training as if everyone knows what that means, they do in‑person, print and in person training and this data is helping us see what is the most effective and they look at undertaking the expense of doing in person training, obviously, other forms are cheaper and we need the information on how to develop the programs and the emphasis you may want to put on it as well.

It is a fantastic program and an example of how we're learning from different context, understanding every different country, how to contextualize it for your own unique situation.

At this point, I would like to pause and see if there are any questions from the audience. 

Since we're here and we have time, Ezekiel, he came from the Deployed Community Network, Vanuatu, and it is in the Island Pacific, he is from a Telecommunication Committee.  He actually spoke in an earlier panel and since he's here, can you share words about your experience building that network?

>> EZEKIEL TARI:  Thank you for the opportunity, and thank everyone for the opportunity to share with you some stories about the Internet activity in the country.

We have linkage to a project to connect to the islands.  It is a small country in the northern part of the country where I come from.  It is an island , Vanuatu, where there is a population of about 6,000 plus and they're vulnerable in the elemental way of thinking of welfare.  We have successful stories where the Telecommunication Committee ‑‑ I'm the Chairman ‑‑ in my island, Vanuatu, the eastern part, they have still been without the communication accessibility for many years and they have been struggling.  When a sick patient comes to the health center, they have to carry the sick patient up a hill, steep hill, down in the valley in bad weather.  There is plenty of mud.

They have to carry the sick patient to the other side.

It is very difficult as you can imagine, but in our country we have a lack of efficiencies in the health department, there is no proper data system in place.  In the health center, information cannot pass.  By putting up this project, it has saved lives.  It has saved a lot of lives.

Thank you very much to the partners.  1worldconnected, the commitment to the people in my island, Vanuatu, my country, it saved their lives.  We have been people without proper connectivity for information.

Next year when someone is sick, battling a health problem, the health center, when admitting to the health center, they have a proper facility in place where they are operating, from 2016 to 2017, this year, May, there were 31 lives saved through this tele medicine.

This year, it is about 70 people in total of the 31 people from last year, July 28 to this year, we add up to this year, end of year, it is about 70 people that were saved by this project.  The second phase, looking at the eEducation tool, we have put up this station to take the Internet to the schools.  There are challenges to maintain the system when we have bad weather, you know, we have 6 months good time, 6 months bad time, bad weather.  We have challenges there.  When the lightning strikes, it damages the station, so the eEducation is still in challenges, but for the television it is still going and we're looking forward to do better with our partners.  And in the community level, we have committed ourselves to fund‑raising locally to raise money for local support with partners to continue to build up the project for our people.

I think that's all I can say in this important forum.

Thank you for your attention.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Thank you for sharing the story.  On Monday he shared a picture that shows the problem that the island faces.  On the east side of the island, you go to the hospital, it requires you to be carried over by stretcher over the mountains to a place where you can access the public transportation and the ability of telemedicines and remote health centers to diagnose when you take that journey, it has saved 70 lives of a population  of 6,000 in a year.  It is simply stunning.  

At this point, we go to the question part of the program.  Identify yourself so we know who you are.  We would love to hear from you.

>> WINSTON ROBERTSON:  Thank you. 

I'm Winston Robertson from New Zealand representing an NGO, International Federation of Library Associations, and also representing Internet New Zealand, our local ISOC.

I have a question, unfortunately, the island is not picking up the captioning, it is not seeming to serve the purpose.

My question is, you referred to your island, Vanuatu, were the comments referring to a particular island where you come from personally or were they generally applying to all of the Islands of Vanuatu and do they apply to the situation after the cyclone?  The site that devastated the area three years ago I think it was, three, four years ago, has that ‑‑ has that situation now one of reconstruction, and if it is reconstruction, can you say if these developments that you're referring to are new, if they survived the cyclone, were there things before that were destroyed that are now economically difficult to rebuild?  Can you give us a picture of the rebuilding process?  Sorry, that's a complicated question.

>> AUDIENCE: I have a question of ‑‑ I work in tech for development.

The first question I had was one of clarification because the speakers spoke about people getting online, but there was to distinction between how many women, how many men and I'm very curious on whether there is any differential.

I'm really happy that the panelists from India talking about white space and really happy that you talked about the cost of deployment because I think that is a valuable thing that this network can come out with, looking at the relative cost of deployment of the different technologies and the different contexts because as the professor said, too many of the initiatives collapse as soon as the funding disappears.

What I'm really concerned with this, I'm supposed to be the UNESCO Chair for the Working Group on information literacy, and information literacy is so fluid in the affirmation, sometimes it is just digital literacy, we talk about preparing people to make use of these technologies.  I would really like to hear from people what they think about how we can incorporate training on preparing them for the cultural impacts of the technologies.

One of the things not mentioned also was the kind of speed of bandwidth.  I'm working with somebody who is producing high‑speed bandwidth to some of the islands in the Pacific.  Right now the connections are very slow.  You cannot gain for most islands, you cannot gain, you cannot access reality TV, you know, there are so many things that people do on the Internet that they can't do when the connection is not stable and it is slow.  What happens when you have operators introducing high speed bandwidth in a community of 6,000 people with a very vulnerable culture and heritage?  I would really like you to comment on that.

Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE:  Mike Enson from the Association of Progressive Communications. 

Thank you, Professor, for bringing this interesting panel together.

An observation that leads to a question for you and perhaps for other panelists, you kind of introduced your initiative implying that the main focus is on this issue of connecting the people that are not connected.  Now, to my mind actually the majority of people that are connected, I call them barely connected, majority are on slow, unaffordable broadband connections for which they really cannot exploit the tool affordably.  I'm wondering to what extent you're gathering of initiatives, analysis of them, includes the policy and regulatory environment which we really need to change in many countries to push down the high cost of access.

In fact, many of the policy and regulatory environments initiatives to have that change, we can also radically increase the potential for covering areas that are not covered as well.

I'm wondering to what extent you are able to include that in your area of analysis.

The second point for you, to deal with the extent to which you're able to follow‑up.  You know, a lot of these initiatives, they're aspirational and many have started recently and even if they started a long time ago, they took a long time to get going.  You know how long development takes, especially rural areas.  I'm wondering who the funders are and to what extent they have an appetite to keep financing you to actually go and look at the activities a year or two down the road.

Then, my question was, we have heard an interesting Example of the use of actually information created in the community in terms of the promotion of the agriculture marketing projects.  I was wondering if you have any ideas or views or other kinds of local information production that could be adding real value to on the projects.  I'm not only thinking of websites on the history of the region, whatever that may be of value for tourists, what about things such as sensor networks where you can actually generate useful environmental information, for example, and other types of information that could be of value more broadly and that information is very hard to get in these remote and urban areas.

Finally, my question for Subi, I would like to understand the position of your association.  As far as I can see it and this is quite the case as I have seen in other parts of the world too, generally the silicon mobile operators are opposed to any of these innovative uses of spectrum and spectrum sharing, TV white space and wi‑fi, even in areas where there is no service from you and I'm wondering, it seems you're shooting yourself in the foot in a way.  It feels people are online for other types of connectivity and they'll still be calling your networks so you will generate the revenue.

Thank you.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: At this point, with apologies to people that raised their hands, we're running out of time.  We'll ask the panelists to respond briefly to make sure that we don't run over and offer any thoughts that they may have to the questions that were asked.

Claudia.

>> CLAUDIA SELLI: I wanted to ask, first of all, there was a point raised on policy and regulatory environment, which it is a great point in the sense that, of course, this plays a strong role as well in helping reaching the unconnected in the rural areas.  Of course, we try to work with the local government in making them understand the needs and how technology advanced us.  In terms of also not having the prescriptive regulation which may hinder the innovation and impede as well reaching some areas.  There was a point on cultural impact, of course, technology, it has a strong impact on its local realities and what we try to do, of course, it is to reflect through the content, the local realities and to take that into account and to work with the teacher and the pupils together to address the different problems.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Diane.

>> Diane:  We're a domestic company, I'll let others speak.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Yes.

>> SUBI CHATURVEDI:  Thank you for that comment.  Yeah.

The number of men and women that are online, the data, it is still being collected, we don't have the data yet.  We're providing to each location in the village and we have five points in the village, to so three points and then the two points, one is the local office and the other is a school and the third, it is a family healthcare center.  The other three points at each village, and apart from that, the two other points, one is a community center which is where youth come together in the evenings after their work, they can come.  The other one, it is a strategic location inside of the village.  It is just these five points where they're given.  , providing the bandwidth, wi‑fi access is available.

Regarding the question of cultural impact, that this has had, we have not done that analysis, but yeah, some of the times I often see the women in the villages want to take it on themselves.  The women that are deprived of some of the information like, for example, something related to their physical appearance, body changes, they take this into account.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Ezekiel.

>> EZEKIEL TARI:  Thank you.  Thank you for the question.

The country's population, it is about 200,000 plus.  Concerning the disaster, the cyclone that's struck our country, it was damaging some facilities there.  You know, we have always ‑‑ we need to prepare for natural disaster.  Yes.  Thank you.

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: Josephine.

>> JOSEPHINE:  I took the question on gender. 

On our side, there are two aspects to it.  The first thing, for the training program, one thing we have seen very few applications from women, less than 30% are from women.  This is a free training program, but because we say it is tech, they don't apply.  A thing we need to do is partnering with local schools and we do sort of encouragement sessions where we go and train them about the opportunities that are in tech and we see a lot of interest from them.

For the women, we work with local organizations also that focus on women.  Once we train them, they say that they do not have access to the devices.  For example, they can't access the Internet, they're the bread winners and they say I can't forego food for my family or school for children just to get a smartphone.

>> I will reply on the question concerning whether we're adding value on the network from using other technologies it, we're using some smart farming technologies, planting sensors for humidity so we are returning to the farmers information on how and when to irrigate their lands.  This is adding real value to the infrastructure and something that cannot be done just by having Internet, you need to have infrastructure in place  there

>> CHRISTOPHER YOO: At this point, we're slightly over, I'll call this.  Thank you for being here.  I hope you understand why we're so excited about the project.

There was a question for Subi and she'll talk to you afterwards if that's okay.

Thank you for coming.  Thank you for the people doing the real work on the ground for sharing their stories.

I will say this, we actually have scarves which we're giving away and you're welcome to take them with you.  We do not want to take them home.  Post cards, we lost for the first three days of the IGF, it details some of the slides we're doing, and the last thing I would like to do is thank the two students, staff people working so hard, Negi and Charlotte, they're working and walking with the scarves, they have been instrumental in pushing this project forward. 

Thank you to all for being here.  Have a wonderful rest of your day at the IGF.  

 

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