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IGF 2018 - Day 3 - Salle XI - WS376 Innovative Approaches to Connecting Underserved Areas

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. 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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>> PETER BLOOM:  Good morning, everyone.  We are going to wait five more minutes for people to show up.  So it is the last day.  It is a bit slower than the other days.  Let's wait five minutes and then we will start. 
    (Pause).

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Good morning.  We have (background talking). 
    Okay.  Let's try it again.  Good morning, everyone.  I am happy to moderate this panel, this collection of rock stars and community networks and with an approach and an edge on indigenous communities and the subs communities.  We are going to have an excellent panel.  Let's ‑‑ there is too many panelists here.  Let's do a more Round Table approach.  I'm going to go through the list for you to know the faces but I'm ‑‑ I will let everyone introduce themselves when they start.  So we have Matthew Rantanen, Bill Murdoch, John Dada, Ritu Srivastava, Karla Valesco, and Gonzalo Lopez‑Barajas.  So it is a very nice crowd that we have here on stage.  I really appreciate you being there also as the audience.  Can we start introducing ourselves?  And tell us what you do and we will start with some questions afterwards. 

   >> RITU SRIVASTAVA:  Hello.  I am Ritu Srivastava.  I come from India and I work with the Digital Empowerment Foundation.  We have one of the largest Committee networks in India, having 170 access points and connected 38 districts of the country.  It is still not enough but we are trying our best. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  Karla. 

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  Hi everyone.  I'm Karla and I am from Mexico.  And I work with indigenous communities in Mexico.  In three states we have this project of Internet indigenous communities, and we have an international area where we do advocacy for the ITU and CITEL.  Hi everyone.  My name is Karla Valesco.  And I come from Southeast Mexico.  And I am one of the collaborators of the Rhizomatica organization. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Gonzalo. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  Hello.  I am Gonzalo Barajas and I work for Telefonica.  And just to let you know that Telefonica is having more than 314 million customers who are present in Europe and most importantly in Latin America where we are providing services for countries from Mexico down to Chile.  And the news here is that we are also doing innovative approaches to connect people to rural areas that I will share with you. 

   >> JOHN DADA:  My name is John Dada.  I am with a rural organization in Nigeria.  We have the reputation of having started the first community network way back in 2005.  And as I said this date today we are about to the launching part.  I will give you the details later. 

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  Hello.  I am Bill Murdoch with Clear Skies Connection.  We have a project and hopefully we'll be breaking ground in the near future. 

   >> MATTHEW RANTANEN:  I am the director of technology of the Southern California Chairmen's Travel Association.  And we use microwave point to point technology in 2001 and have rebuilt that network three and a half times over the last 17 years.  

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you very much all of you.  I would like to start this chat, this conversation pointing to something for ‑‑ from the Internet Society standpoint is very important.  We ‑‑ this is a technology that has spread as fast as any other technology ever had.  Nonetheless we need to go faster.  We need to go faster because the cost of not being connected keeps increasing for people.  So there was a mention of long timers, a mention of innovative approaches to this.  What would be the most innovative approach that you think we need to put in things in order to make it happen fast.  We need to connect 100% of the population.  How will we do it?  Who would like to start?  Okay.  John. 

   >> JOHN DADA:  Right.  I did mention that Fransom Foundation started its community network in 1995 and it made remarkable progress because it addressed the twin problem of access and power.  Power when you live in a remote and difficult terrain is a big problem.  So we had hybrid power and solar power and we had generators.  Fortunately that would be great, but I was on the solar and the digital generator.  And then because you were working on solar you needed to be careful the systems you need.  So we ‑‑ we thought what we call thin clients, they are very low powered computers.  It is possible to run the systems on low power.  We were the sole ISP in our region for about ten years and then all hell broke loose, Civil War, Bocaraham and the rest of it.  And you lose so much in terms of human resources, human capacity, natural resources and then you find yourself back on the launching pad again. 

The interesting thing about the community network it seems to have an inverse resilience because in spite of the destruction we have gone through, we have gone through rebuilding without Government intervention.  That's difficult.  When communities are able to appreciate the value of their own network and to get started without excellent support it becomes more sustainable and resilient in the face also of adverse circumstances.  And interestingly as you would know when you are in a war situation and coming out the survivors, most of the survivors are women and children.  And for us as a women's organization that was critical because they are our primary target.  And we have to look at what best meets their needs.  It is no longer an issue of ICT or food.  It is ICT makes it possible to access food, to access health and parameters.  So we have gone back to the board and we are restarting the notes that we had and revising the first communities that were connected to our hub.  Throughout the war situation our hub was protected.  So we still have the basic equipments. 

So what we are doing now is bringing in users in to our hub and gradually farming this out.  So I am quite ‑‑ trying to understand what you say, when you say you are rebuilding the network, that's what we had to do.  The technologies have improved and they are cheaper.  We also address that issue.  The community network is the way to go, especially for communities that have gone through this traumatic experience having virtually lost everything and having to start all over again. 

   >> So I think one of the barriers to entry that we all have in common is the fact that we can't get access to affordable backhaul to the rest of the world.  So we have several tribes in the United States that built a network that supports their community, but it is essentially sharing data servers and connecting their travel, municipal buildings and their schools and their libraries program but they don't have access to the Internet at any capacity.  And to be able to function without broadband speed in today's environment and be competitive you need to get access to affordable bandwidth.  We have been a big push to reduce that barrier to entry and get access to wholesale fiber so we can build these community networks. 

When I was talking about rebuilding our network it is to increase the quality of service, change with the times and technology to be able to carry the greater speeds and more reliable service.  As then in addition we are also on solar power in San Diego as our reservations are away from our population.  We have 11 of the 12 largest mountain tops, highest mountain tops in San Diego County.  There is no access to power and we use solar power.  And we have been updating the solar power. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  I have Karla. 

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  Yes.  So with the points that John said, it is very important to have accessibility.  We were talking about it yesterday in the spectrum panel.  Flexibility in what is the access to ‑‑ mostly Committee networks and I am not saying that community networks is the truth of connectivity.  But I'm saying that it is ‑‑ it has a big possibility of ‑‑ of reaching this population that's still missing.  I was talking yesterday to a colleague, he is also from our community network and we were talking about this study where they talk about the economic models.  So we have the big markets.  Then we have the small enterprise.  And then we have the sustainable market.  So why won't we have that in the technology sector?  Why don't we have a spectrum for the big companies and then spectrum for the small providers and then spectrum for community networks?  So it could be a way of looking at it.  Also affordability is very important because we as community networks it can be very expensive to compete with these big enterprises.  And therefore it is a big challenge for us to show this good alternative that community networks are.

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  If we want to have all connected in a short time what we need is a sustainable and industrialized solution in order to be able to do it in a very short time, short period of time and that's basically what we are aiming.  We are working on Telefonica and the problem is two‑fold.  One is that the cost deploying the network is very high.  So that means that it is for companies it is pretty much preferable to do so.  And also that the users are in very low density areas and their income is lower.  So that means that higher cost of deployment of the network and the lower expectations of income that leads to a business proposition that it is not sustainable because it is not profitable.  So we have to address these issues.  And what we are looking at Telefonica at ways to reduce the cost of deploying the network.  We are working with companies such as Facebook and Vodafone in the telephone project.  And we are working on a radio access solution, that it is placed on general purpose platforms and we are ‑‑ we can move a solution that basically reduces the cost on ‑‑ from five to ten times in terms of people core.  So around (inaudible) provided to the network.  We have to find a way to provide the backhaul.  And we are coming with solutions.  In Peru we are doing it differently.  We are hanging fiber on the trees, on the jungle trees instead of having to dig which is much more costly.  We are also looking at a lower and cheaper radio links solution for the backhaul.  And that's also helping us in order to reduce the cost.  And also it is very important to do intelligent network planning.  We don't really know where people are.  I mean what we are doing is we are using high definition satellite images from ‑‑ we are also using our data from connectivity and in the national connectivity maps and we are putting that together and using Artificial Intelligence to do efficient network planning.  So that's what we have been doing for the last year in Peru where we have 8 million people that are not connected.  And we have very positive news.  We have in the last year connected 25,000 people in the jungle and high lines.  And we have upgraded over 1,000 communities from 2G to 4G.  And the positive news people are using our networks and we are having a profitable business model which is the way forward if we want to spread on activity to all because that's a sustainable solution. 

   >> We have grassroots people saying that we need more backup from the big transit providers and big transit providers saying we need capability in order to reach the people.  So I see a good opportunity for sponsorship in that sense.  I mean it is a good ‑‑ I think it is very ‑‑ the two approaches are very close together and they are close to being competitive. 

   >> Yes, in fact, one of the innovative approaches we are looking at, this is rich agreement with local entrepreneurships that would be providing all the activity and providing the SIM cards and that would be doing all the commercial, even some might even be doing some of the network maintenance.  We are doing it with a commercial approach.  But we are looking in to a way in which we can cooperate with the communities and local entrepreneurships for them to be part of our solution.  And it is working pretty well because basically we are giving them all the solutions.  We already have the systems, the provision systems that are already in place that we are using in our company.  And it is very fast to develop a solution for it.  Thank you.

   >> I think that would be really excellent if you would communicate that to the carriers in the United States.  Because some of them don't feel the same.  It is a situation where the incumbent carriers that have massive infrastructures that are built out to the point where it is very expensive for them to go further to realize that some of the community networks are going to be the solution that solve those neighborhoods that they aren't going to ‑‑ there is not enough return on investment.  But a smaller community network can solve that problem.  Working hand in hand with the provision of fiber and access to backhaul at cost affordable rates will increase that for sure. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  I will have a lottery ‑‑

   >> Thank you.  Yes, I wanted to contribute to the discussion from like incorporating other approaches, more from the human's perspective.  For example, in the case of the cell phone community network, one of the ways that we decide to create more sustainability in the area where we are working in Whacka is how we can have more human resources, not only from the economical perspective but like, for example, in the case of the cell phone network, the community cell phone network in the community who will maintain these networks.  Who will fix it when it is not working.  Who will be more involved in the technical part on the ‑‑ in the administrative part.  And so as part of the strategy we decide to create a program, educational program where people from the community can have access to share knowledge in different models, like, for example, from the technical perspective.  For example, people learn about electronic, radiofrequency, and for other perspectives like people have access to understand better the law in telecommunications.  So the idea is how we can create more human resources to make sustainable all these networks.  So it is not from the economical approach.  It is more human.  We can make sustainable. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  I think it incorporates why we are doing this.  Because of the people.  Not just for deploying technology.

   >> Yeah. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Ritu, please. 

   >> RITU SRIVASTAVA:  I think that what I feel ‑‑ we are not using the new technology.  We are using the existing technology in an innovative manner and approaches and how we are connecting the committees.  I am glad to hear that the private sector wants to join the Committee networks and trying to connect the unconnected region.  But where I come from most of the telecom operators do not want to ‑‑ they would prefer to pay the taxes instead of going and connecting the rural side of the country.  So I'm glad to hear that.  If this is going to happen in India, it is really boosting the country as well.  So what we are doing, we are trying to do, we are using the very frugal and innovative approaches to connect the rural.  Applying point to point technology and the line of sight as well as using the VAN.  We have ‑‑ as well as bringing the backhaul and taking the mobile VANs to connect the rural masses.  We take our VAN and connect to the rural.  Having a physical and also mobile TAR as well and we try to figure out what kind of existing tall buildings exist and how we can connect to the ‑‑ connect the masses.  I completely agree with a ‑‑ that what we are having ‑‑ having a human approach and how we are bringing to the sustainability, how these people are engaging with the networks not only from the technological aspect but how they are creating the content and how they are part of the engagement in a sustainable approach in creating a lock frame and user clients or figuring out how to solve.  That's the innovative of what we are trying to bring in. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  So Bill. 

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  Well, so considering we haven't broken ground yet in Manitoba, the first part would be to define the end goal, to define the direction, to get the consult with the communities, consult with the political leaders, consult with the grassroots people and to define the end goal, what is the solution.  How do we get there.  In Manitoba, Canada, we have solutions but the solutions they come with creating problems.  And part of the problem for Manitoba is the ‑‑ they say they are going to consult with the community but they do not consult with the community and political leaders because many of the communities already have the solutions in place.  They need the adequate and affordable backhaul to tie back to the network.  They rely on what they call a P3 model.  Public/private partnership.  It moves the risk from the Government to the private sector.  And part of the problem created is there is no business case to install these networks in many of these communities because the population is so small and expensive to get there.  You have to rely on other financial and business models to support the network once it is built.  So working with the anchor tenants such as schools, other businesses, band offices, to help financially support the network once it is built.  But the advantage is once it is built, if you build it properly and a sustainable model, if it is not a disposable model, then it could be maintained and you could have an evergreen strategy to replace it at that point in time.  If you go cheap in the very beginning and you build almost disposable by the time it comes to replace, it will be very expensive to replace it.  The example I am thinking of is in the city of Winnipeg there was a bid to put in fiber to the city and they had fiber trenching.  They fixed the fiber 6 to 12 inches in the ground and at some point in time they are going to have to replace the fiber because it doesn't last forever.  They will have to dig it up and replace as opposed to putting in a conduit.  You put in the new fiber in the conduit and you don't have to redo the conduit. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  Karla.

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  Yes.  It has been a very rich conversation and adding to what has been said before, in Mexico we have these special cases that I would like to talk about specifically because, for example, in Mexico the Indigenous People are ‑‑ have the support which is an Article in the constitution that accepts their self‑determination.  So this Article has been very, very useful for our community networks because it defends their right to communicate and inside this right, there is a lot of ‑‑ a lot of access itself.  A lot of creativity let's say it.  Because in the end the projects that have ‑‑ that have been born in Mexico for the Indigenous People has been truly created inside their processes which is something that has to be very well‑known and mentioned.  For example, the project of the community mobile telephony which is part of, it is a way of saying we can create these networks.  So I would say that this creativity that not only Indigenous People have but other groups have, can be very useful to solve these problems.  And in Mexico we have that because thanks to these Articles we were able to change the law.  And now we have social license in Mexico which is very rare in ‑‑ as a case for other countries.  When we tell them we have a social license and a group of people can gather together and asking to a spectrum and have it without an auction and use it for the benefit of our community, that is certainly one of the most innovative ways of connecting the people.  And that's the type of imagination that we should have.  Not only community networks but social should have the community mindset.  For example, there are many countries in Latin America that use universal services fund.  So this is also a very useful way of having this part of accessibility and affordability.  And I don't ‑‑ I'm not saying that you need to have a social license in your country to start the community network.  You can start the community network.  And you can find other ways.  For example, there are countries where you can present a project to the Universal Service Fund, start a pilot and maybe after that you can get the license.  So it is also ‑‑ I'm saying that creativity is a very important thing in this process.  Just think outside the box that we know.  They were also talking about it in the spectrum panel.  Well, they were saying that the structure that we have right now in regulation was based on the nature of the equipment and not the nature of the spectrum.  And spectrum is flexible.  Spectrum is very malleable.  So I think we have to change these mindsets of having the regular ways of thinking.  And open this creativity box so we can think all together of different solutions.  Thank you. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Excellent.  John.

   >> JOHN DADA:  Talking about optic fiber in terms of backhaul access, Nigeria has extensive internal optic fiber coverage but for the kind of community where I work this is a local area.  It is not accessible to them.  For example, I have an optic fiber that stops just less than two kilometers from my office where the cost of accessing it is just beyond me.  And this is why we are looking very closely at the issue of work space.  We have been in a year‑long dialogue with the regulator.  It is only recently we realize that the reluctance from the end of the regulator was largely out of not knowing enough about the TV white space.  And fortunately for us the private sector company has been granted a pilot license to pilot the TV white space and I came across this private sector operator.  And he is looking for grassroots organizations that can help to justify the social value of this access.  So it is as if we are coming from two different ends and meeting in the middle.  That's working pretty well because December 5th and 6th there is going to be a meeting between the regulator of this private sector and grassroots organizations that are looking for access.  So this synergy hopefully is something that will come through. 

Now the other issue in terms of innovation how do rural communities pay for this service is when you are working with a largely gradient community you work within the context of what's affordable for them.  These communities work in cooperatives.  So you already have a group through which you can work and organize a group of cooperatives.  And it is agreed within this cooperative that communities can pay part of their cost through their harvest.  So you have a noncash payment that meets the communications of those communities.  And all of this is done also within the context of an ongoing micro finance program.  So for me the viability of any community network has to be very context specific.  What is it that works best within that area.  What is it that is relevant that is ‑‑ that's already in existence which you can now build on.  And maybe modernize and make it more sustainable. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Excellent.  It has been very, very interesting things that you have said.  Thank you all of you.  And I wonder, I mean ‑‑ I may think that you identify needs or barriers or huddles these three main categories.  The regulatory ones, economic business model, a second and technical.  I would say these are the three big categories that can put all the needs that you express.  Is there any way to prioritize this as one that leads the others or we have addressed all together at the same time?  How do you ‑‑ how do you see that?  I mean it is one that will untangle the others or we have to work all across the board at the same time?  What would ‑‑ and also what would be the role of Governments in untangling that?  I mean in fulfilling the needs.  That would be my question for you.  After this question we are going to go with some answers for these questions.  And I will open the floor to your questions.  So if you want to start thinking. 
    So priorities, three priorities, what comes first and what would the government do.  Who would like to start? 

   >> MATTHEW RANTANEN:  I hate to say it, you have to do a lot of it at the same time.  Where I work we have a battle with the access to fiber which is really a key component as I said earlier to allowing communities to build their networks and get access at affordable rates.  We have a problem with spectrum that was said ‑‑ it talks about in Mexico.  In the U.S. we have the same issue with spectrum.  I was at the spectrum panel two days ago and it was mentioned that there is no scarcity in spectrum which I cringed when I heard that.  There is a scarcity in the availability of unlicensed spectrum for access for community networks to use.  In the U.S. the military controls 95 or 97% of it.  And the rest of us get some of the scraps.  And it would be very advantageous to open up spectrum in the United States.  I believe there is proceedings coming up at the Federal Communications Commission that does that.  We are working on that front as well as the fiber front.  And then, you know, an education process with the human capacity and the human capital which was also mentioned is really key, too.  There is a handful of us from the indigenous communities in the United States are doing that work.  We need to share that responsibility and grow our successors to be able to expand upon this moving forward and carry these networks to be sustainable on the human capacity front. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thanks. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  I agree that we have to work on three fronts to build a case here.  That's how we have been approaching it.  And in terms of regulation of what the Governments can do, spectrum, it is really interesting that they should be looking at and there is scarcity of a spectrum, either because it is already compiled, but the issues that is not so much available.  And it is also very relevant the cost of a spectrum, because sometimes we say, you have a lot of spectrum and the general pride and service.  The issue is that we are paying a lot for the spectrum.  And if we could be paying less maybe we would have more resources to develop networks and to provide services in those far off areas and improve much more our business case.  And we would be able to exchange of spending much in the spectrum, spending more in the networks. 

Another issue that Governments could look at is the quality of server requirements.  Our aim is to provide the same quality experience for our customers, and it is the same bandwidth, the same throughput, the same rates of cost that are not successful.  But, for example, if we develop a network in the jungle and we have the same requirements in time to repair the network that would actually oblige us to have people on all onsites on the jungle, that would be impossible.  So we would need some different approach and different example, the time to repair ‑‑ the time to repair these networks.  So this is one of the issues that the Governments look at.  Also if we are looking in to getting in to agreements with other companies to provide wholesale networks, if we have a specific group that is developing these networks with a more flexible approach, linear model, a more faster and with a different risk profile, lower profitability but still profitability.  So we need for them to have some kind of, for example, resharing.  We as the grantors of license we have all the obligations.  If we are to allow these wholesale providers to be developing the network, we would be able to share the risk and regulators to be aware of that. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Excellent. 

   >> RITU SRIVASTAVA:  I have two questions.  The one point that I mention Government, when I ‑‑ I come from India.  The national fiber optic line which is lying at the village level, it is not open for community networks.  The backhaul activity is still there but we can't use it.  Second access to spectrum is not being used for it.  Should be open for a country like India, it should be opened.  A requirement to delicense a spectrum.  Cost of spectrum is really high and process of making it lower level and level of ISP providers is a bureaucratic system and the process needs to be loosen down so the people can join and more people ‑‑ keeping spectrum as easily as possible.  What is the more priority?  I believe the committee needs is a more priority.  What do they need is the priority, is the function of the need is the priority instead of having a work technology.  They are going to use GSM or mobile or having a WiFi hot spot, what exactly is needed.  It depends completely on the Committee need actually. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you. 

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  It is a very good question to put like regulatory economic or technical because it depends.  I'm going to talk about some examples.  We work in advocacy for regulation, spectrum regulation.  So, for example, in Mexico we have a ‑‑ the regulation part complete.  We have the technical part complete, but we are lacking the economical part.  We are lacking that.  And, for example, in Argentina they do have the technical part.  They have the economic part, sort of still not as good as it would be.  But it is there.  But they lack the regulation part as well in Colombia.  There are these projects.  And I was talking to these ‑‑ to a group of Civil Society from Ghana and they were telling me that in the technical part for them it would be very difficult to start a community network not because of the regulation and not because of the ‑‑ not because of the regulation.  Because their infrastructure and even to own a device, a mobile device it is a luxury.  So it really depends on the country you are in.  You would have to look at it at every possible perspective which is very, very difficult to see.  But the three of them are very important.  And what's most important about it is it is to share the experiences.  Because, for example, we show the ‑‑ we did show the experience of Mexico to the regulators in Argentina and in Colombia.  And in Argentina they created the community networks license two months ago.  So that was a step forward. 

In Colombia it is still pending but we are sharing these experiences in order to replicate the experiences that we have in Mexico.  So I would say that all of them are important.  It depends.  And we have to do these type of Forums so that everyone can see what the experiences are in every country. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  (Inaudible).

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  In Manitoba, Canada, is 63 first nation communities.  Every has an elected political leader.  The priority would be to have the political support, to have the buy‑in from the community as well as the political leaders of the community and to respect the First Nation political process in Manitoba, Canada.  To message, to advise the communities what the benefits of having the fiber in community, what benefits that brings to the community, because we have many communities that do not have all season road access.  There is currently four communities not connected to the hydrogrid.  There are many communities that have boil water orders.  We are competing with drinking water and road access and other services.  Why bring this to the community?  Benefit of education and health and to communicate and be part of the world economy. 
    Once you have the political buy‑in then you have to do the technical piece and the finance piece because one of the questions is going to come back how much is going to cost.  We know it is very expensive but what's the dollar amount, the ask.  Then you have to start diving in to the technical piece to find out the routes and get the fiber.  And once it is built how do you sustain it.  Then that ties in to education and training and how are you going to use it and be safe in the environment.  Then once you have those pieces in place, if you go back to the political model, if you get everyone moving in the same direction with one plan, then having all those voices saying the same thing and not having the competing interest has much more power.  The role of the Government would be to respect the first nation political process because they are coming with a solution as opposed to the Government saying here is a solution, but their solutions are typically based on the urban model.  And the urban model simply doesn't work in rural and remote areas.  Because there is no business case to have multiple Internet service providers in a community that might have a population of 500.  It just simply doesn't make sense. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  (Inaudible).

   >> Thank you.  Yes, I agree with different opinions here about which is more important, regulator, technical aspects or economical model.  I think all of them are important.  The priority needs to be related to the context.  And each country is different.  And I agree with Karla about the Mexico case in combination with other countries.  In my opinion it is more an anthropology opinion we need to understand that for the economical model we need to take in account the social and cultural aspects.  What is the role of the cultural aspect of the social environmental in the local context in the economical model.  No?  And so like we are always talking about the cost of the equipment.  How much the cost concession, the license and all these things as part of the economical model but we never talk about what is the role of the traditions of the relationship between people and populations in terms of the economy, build an economical model. 

So to me it is very important to incorporate an anthropology perspective to understand.  For example, when we talk about access, half the population are women in the world and in the community, too.  And these population, these half part of population that are women for us these aspects, like how we, you know, like ‑‑ how we lead our life in the communities.  What's important for us in terms of the social relationships is part of the economy.  And we don't take the confine of things.  So to me it is not about ‑‑ it is not an obstacle but that challenge that we need to develop more in the community networks.  And understand the social, the psychosocial aspect inside of the economical model.

   >> PETER BLOOM:  I would say about that, we sometimes confuse means and the ends.  The end is the people and the means is the spectrum and community networks.  At the end it is ‑‑ okay.  Excellent.  Thank you very much.  Any other opinion?  I will open the floor now.  I don't know if you guys have questions for the panel.  Please. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  Thank you.  One question is the colleague from Nigeria, he said that there is a lot of fiber but they cannot access the fiber.  I don't know if he could talk a bit more about that because it is the prices or ‑‑ no way to connect to the fiber or maybe both.  And the other aspect that I would like to comment on and the observation that for the operators get paid less for the spectrum, not necessarily will go and build in places where it is not profitable for them.  And that's ‑‑ that's a very big evolution.  And I think it is important not to mix these things of (inaudible) and the need that might have the operators to lower the prices of spectrum because it is a different thing.  It is not necessary and it is quite demonstrated that when the spectrum processes are lower the operators do not go on and invest.  They get more income and that's good for them but will not contribute to expand the networks.  Thank you. 

   >> I think ‑‑

   >> PETER BLOOM:  The first part of the question was.

   (Talking at the same time).

   >> JOHN DADA:  Concerning the availability of network fiber in Nigeria.  You find the fiber is excellent to all the capital cities.  When your community has the fortune of having fiber coming through it doesn't give you automatic access to it.  My office is less than two kilometers away from one of the fiber stops.  And the provider just isn't interested in my kind of community.  He is making enough money from the capital cities, why bother.  And there is no obligation from the regulator that he should look at my kind of community.  So there is that aspect that in fairness to the provider he needs to make money.  And enough money as it were from the cities.  But the social context in terms of the bottom of the pyramid where I live is a responsibility for the government.  But what my people are beginning to realize you don't wait for the Government when it comes to this.  You go and meet your own needs.  And when the Government realizes what you are doing and wakes up to they can incorporate you in to what they are doing.  But the interesting part for me now is that the private sector that has been given a temporary license for TV White Space is looking to justify its data in terms of social real advance of TV White Space.  So that's where we are.  Eventually maybe the optic fiber will become accessible to us.  It is redundant but the companies aren't making enough money.  So why bother. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  I'm sorry, but I fully disagree on this spectrum cost not being part of the question.  It is a very relevant cost for the operators.  The issue of extending connectivity in to remote areas it is a profitability issue and if we lower the cost we will increase profitability.  And that's what we are trying to do and having a lower cost on the spectrum will allow us to invest more.  In Peru our aim to expand this program to the whole of the country and provide connectivity in a very short time frame.  And we have already some members of this panel already mention in that spectrum, having access to a spectrum at a significant low cost it is good for them.  So it is good for us and it is a very important part of the question. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Yes. 

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  For Manitoba, Canada our project is to run fiber to the community and then we leave it with the community to decide how to distribute that.  And our project is fiber, not wireless. 
    So we ‑‑ there is actually one community where you have a nonFirst Nation community on one side of the road and you have a First Nation community on the other side of the road and literally at that road there is fiber.  It is private fiber and they refuse to run it across the road to connect the First Nation community.  One of the businesses in the First Nation did inquire how much it would cost to connect and it was $300,000.  A mom and pop shop can't afford to spend $300,000 on a fiber that's across the road. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  They say it is a long haul fiber route that they have to break to access it.  So we have an AT&T cell tower a quarter mile away.  It is their barrier to entry they have imposed to the community.  Century Link opened up their fiber for access on no cost on that level to be able to connect to.  And then at the time I lit the Century Link fiber for our community AT&T opened up their fiber at no cost to the community, but it was going to cost me a quarter of a million dollars to do it initially.  The reason I raised my hand, John, is there any opportunity to get access to the fiber where it ends and use wireless to shoot yourself a very fat pipe, wireless pipe to get backhaul to where the fiber ends?  Because two kilometers is so short, there is so much technology.  I don't know what frequencies are available in Nigeria to use that type of a solution.  But where I'm at if I had a two kilometer hop from fiber I would be pushing a two gigabit per second pipe with wireless to be able to do that and that would solve my problem without working with a fiber company to get over to me. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Let's give John the opportunity to answer the question. 

   >> JOHN DADA:  We have had discussions with the provider.  And the thing is we are such small fries for them.  In terms of social returns for them it is just insignificant.  It is frustrating.  But as a reality of the situation that's one.  But again maybe in fairness to them we are coming out of a war situation.  And they think we are high risk in terms of any other issues. 
    So we bid our time.  And hopefully in time it is most good. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Karla and we go for questions. 

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  Yes.  I just wanted to add to the comments of colleagues that in Mexico we don't have access.  And there is no transparency of who owns the fiber close to the communities we work with.  That's also an issue. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Okay.  Thank you.  I have a question there, here and there.

   >> AUDIENCE:  Hello.  My name is Vasiles.  I am from the community network from Greece.  Concerning the prioritization question that you posed earlier to the panel to choose or priority between technical regulation and financial, what was missing from the question I think is the community building aspect.  Because when we are talking about community networks, the most important thing for in my opinion and the differentiating factor between the community network and whatever other network is a community.  And it needs to be built in a very, yeah, intense way, and it is a job per se.  So this is one point. 

And the second point is that in my opinion we cannot prioritize.  Community networks are very ‑‑ are a lot of organisms.  We are very flexible and they are fluctuating and they are water and flowing.  All the technical regulation financial aspects are interweaving and they ‑‑ you cannot just start from one point and to one other point.  I mean you have to work with all these together.  And work with all these together in the context of building a community.     

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  Very good point about the community.  I completely agree.  Any reaction to this?  No?  Okay. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  Yes.  Thank you.  My name is Ragavender.  I am from India.  I am a policymaker.  Four years ago my wife was trying to reach me.  And when she couldn't reach me I wrote a line in the document there is tremendous need and scope to improve the quality of data.  Four years have passed.  I am so happy on this panel you have taken these contentious issues which is very important for services we are talking about.  So I want to ask, I think there was two opposing viewpoints that if you lower the cost of spectrum the quality does not improve.  I want to understand one thing.  In my country the depth of the industry is twice (inaudible).  There is no way they can make money and deliver quality services.  So the point I am asking are there any examples of models from telecom operators across the world where there is revenue sharing and there is good quality of services and also lower pricing because unless there are no Government is going to come and do sharing.  I had this discussion multiple times.  Are there models available which we can look at and find ‑‑ if you are talking of quality of services?  Thank you. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  Well, as I try to convey, that's basically what we are doing.  We are experiencing with a new innovative approach in Peru and our aim is to extend coverage to the whole of population in a very short time period.  And we are doing it with the same quality.  We are using 4G.  We upgraded 1,000 communities and we got 250,000 additional users in these communities that had been upgraded from 2G to 4G.  And we are providing the same quality experience that we are looking to provide in the rural areas.  This is a proof point that it is still at the early stage, but it is our intention to expand to areas and as we get more experience and we approve it is a good business case.  And we will be developing ‑‑ we are looking to develop it in to other countries when we have all the data.  And we have more experience in order to help foster development. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  There is two pieces to that.  And there is two different aspects.  So it is from Telefonica or any incumbent telephone company that is chasing spectrum.  It is an auction process that's very expensive for them.  For community networks there is no option.  We don't have access to that spectrum period.  So we are looking for opportunities to have access to unlicensed spectrum because we can't afford to be in that auction.  In the United States there are a couple of situations where tribes actually own a piece of spectrum.  And it is because they bought an existing telephone company that bid for that spectrum previously.  Spectrum license stays with the company and was purchased by a tribe.  The tribe is lucky enough to have access to that spectrum now to be able to run their own tribal phone company.  But yeah, that is ‑‑ it is a two‑fold problem.  It is expensive for the big carriers to be able to get that spectrum and then they transfer that cost to us to be able to absorb that cost.  So the end user gets penalized for the price of that spectrum and then the unit side of things we don't even have access.  So thank you. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  Hello.  I am from ICA.  You mentioned about the affordability of handsets as a barrier.  How are you approaching this problem? 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  However ‑‑ you were mentioning affordability of handsets as a barrier.  How do you face that barrier?  I don't know who ‑‑ who was the one ‑‑

   >> Many of them have mentioned. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Yeah.  How the CPE ‑‑ you mentioned the CPE issue, I remember.  I don't know who wants to take it.  How you handle the CP barrier. 

   >> RITU SRIVASTAVA:  So frankly speaking we do face a lot of a problem in terms of affordability of the devices and the cost of the devices.  The cost of devices are still higher.  Specifically in India the devices is ‑‑ the minimum cost is $50 or something like that which is a huge cost for us.  However thankful ‑‑ but we do not use so much of devices as the devices ask for.  The mobile handset which is required for the community to use it, that cost also we sometimes we are bearing it because we provide the specific space to access those devices and the center to access those devices.  That cost sometimes is on a model that people do come access the device and then pay for that particular service.  They do not pay for the device.  They pay for the particular service.  For example, the printing cost or the cost of photocopy or the cost of scanning or the cost of a certain document to access it.  Or if they are accessing the data they pay minimal charges for that.  If they do have their own devices they pay the Internet cost for accessing.  It can be the one hour or two hour, depending on how much the person pays for that service.  Maybe one cent to the one Euro as well.  But it completely depends. 

The second cost is the wireless.  That also we are in to that term set.  We are in to the very minimal and frugal.  We do not use as so high cost devices.  We are mostly using the existing buildings.  We also use bamboo and the tallest trees as well to place our routers.  The cost of router is in our ‑‑ is 3500 apiece which is $80 or something.  Still we are maintaining ‑‑ the kind of technology we are using is a low maintaining devices cost actually. 

   >> MATTHEW RANTANEN:  Just to touch on that, so the effort that we are making in the United States with the Native American community is not to have this be our broadband experience.  We are trying to move away from the cell phone being the broadband experience.  If you don't have any connectivity this is a brilliant thing.  If you are a child doing homework, good luck on a cell phone.  It is very impossible.  You can do research but you can barely write a paper on a cell phone.  You can barely compose a report or build a document, a apply for a job.  We are looking to reduce the barrier to entry as each home gets connected and bring the CPE down for price.  When we look at the new spectrum availability, the TV White Space, it is about a $1,000 per home.  Plus the access point is quite expensive.  I know that there is some innovative things going on with some of the builds that are happening and soft chips that are being put in to some of the community‑based things.  But the access we have at the moment is quite expensive.  We are looking at gathering that costs $89 per home and that can still be expensive in some countries, but we are trying to get away from the mobile device meeting the access demand.  It is important to drive the price down and promote those folks that are building products that help us do that. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  Yes.  I think the ‑‑ we are using handsets that are not standard, mass market produced.  The main reason we are using the standard mobile technology to provide connectivity in Peru.  We are using the standard mobile handsets which are being massively produced and the prices are going down significantly.  If we were to use white spaces or another spectrum which is not a standard one, we need to have specific handsets for that solution.  And that would really bring prices up. 

So with the current trend of pricing of mobile handsets and Smartphones, I think that is a great solution to have standard technology.  So that they will get the same experience and that does not only help affordability, also helps usability.  So that means, for example, that people living in these rural areas when they go to the rural areas they will be able to use the same handset because they will be in the same kind of networks and the same frequencies that the rest of the people are that will also mean that people going from rural areas to those far off countries will still be able to use their regular phones and be able to use it.  So that also impacts the usage of the network.  And that also has a great impact.  Because it is easier to do the technology upgrades.  And it is based on the standards and the impact to sustainability because the networks can be upgraded more easily. 

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  First Nations in Manitoba, Canada, many of the First Nations don't have cell service.  There is no point of having a cell phone.  Some of the communities that do have cell service the backhaul is either terrestrial and it ‑‑ communications become very limited.  In one community the ‑‑ when the hydro person comes in to do the meter readings, et cetera, they will switch on the cell phone service for the community so the technician can use the cell phone.  And when that happens the community knows about it and everyone huddles around the communication tower to access that.  And when the technician leaves they switch it off because of the cost and the bandwidth limitations. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Two last questions and some time to wrap it up.  We have the two last questions.  Can you make it both and we reply?  Please. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  Hello.  My name is Leonoid.  And I am a general manager for the Association for top level code domains across Asia‑Pacific.  I usually frequent all those IGFs across the region.  So my question is very simple.  With all these examples, and it is not for the first time that there is such a session at the global IGF, is there any chance that somehow the community here or just outside of this room can get organized in terms of, you know, creating some repository of current practices, those who are dying for this kind of expertise but don't know where to find it, using very simple templates, one or two pagers, you can actually create a difference so we can create a difference.  Whether under ISOC and God forbid ITU, can I say that in this audience, that would be some kind of practical outcome without making any decision enshrined in the IGF's mandate.  Thank you. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you. 

   >> AUDIENCE:  Good morning.  I'm Shawn from Southern Africa, part of Zenzala which is a community network initiative.  On the mobile devices I agree they prefer public access spots because they can't do what they need to on cell phones.  Access to spectrum, so we are putting forward an argument to Government in South Africa at the moment because we found because our community network initiative is targeting rural areas, that there is licensed spectrum that's not being used.  So we are putting forward an argument which we calling it use it or share it.  And I'm just wondering if there is anyone who has successfully been able to argue something like that in other countries.  But we think we are making a compelling argument.  We made those inputs and still waiting to see what happens. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  They relate to each other.  The second one is about information that we are not sharing, like the gentleman on the back side.  I have Ritu and Matt. 

   >> RITU SRIVASTAVA:  There are ‑‑ the DC Committee on the community networks is made in IGF and there is three ‑‑ from the last three years we are publishing a book and it has a compilation of all the community networks and accessibility models.  And this year we published ‑‑ as a part of ISOC, ISOC and Asia‑Pacific where I come from we had organized the community network exchange for South Asia Pacific region.  And we are more than ten networks from the South Asia Pacific region.  The bigger pieces are compiling.  The only ‑‑ the ones ‑‑ that compilation is already available in the IGF website, D.C. Committee website.  Association for communications have great resources on community networks.  And we all have the same kind of resources which we do share all of them.  There is a complete mailing list, country networks as well. 

On the second part of the question where I had meant from use it and share it, we are also doing the some bet of those kind of resources in India trying to because we do not have a policy that we can share the bandwidth.  However we are also trying to use that ‑‑ if we can ‑‑ if we are not using a bandwidth if we can share with some other people.  We are also trying to do something like that. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  One minor comment on that, because it was a couple of times mentioned.  We need the centralized thing.  We ‑‑ APC has a lot of information.  ISOC has a lot of information.  We are not coordinating well.  I tend to agree with the gentleman there. 

   >> MATTHEW RANTANEN:  I will go in reverse order.  The spectrum question, don't know if I'm addressing it specifically.  One of the things that happens in the U.S. is spectrum license is allocated for an area that's very large.  And the incumbent will serve 70% of the area and never ever intend to serve the last 30%.  We have gone to the Federal Communications Commission several times and we will put in the docket use it or lose it.  We would like to do a secondary license where we can carve out a section of their domain and be able to deploy that using that spectrum ourselves and still an impasse with the incumbent.  They tend to horde that.  That's what we are working on.  As far as documentation is concerned, the gentleman in the back, and I don't know if I'm speaking for everybody, but for myself we are working so hard to get people connected that we are really bad at documenting at what we to.  We are horrible.  We have had President Obama's videographer attend a week of working in the field with us, Hope Paul.  She is brilliant.  I have an entire week's worth of video footage of our network.  And what we do and we have not done anything with it because we are so busy trying to connect that next house.  So with that I will hand over to Bill so we can consolidate what we are trying to approve. 

   >> BILL MURDOCH:  Yes, we are an office of six people.  We are always crazy busy.  Under ISOC with Matt we are looking at starting a special interest group or a chapter specific for the First Nation.  It is very early stage.  That will be hopefully for the next board meeting of the ISOC.  For Canada there is the FMCC which is the first mile connectivity consortium.  I work with part of that group and we have a number of stories published on the website.  As for the spectrum, the ‑‑ for cell phone service, 4G and 5G and looking at the future 6G, you have to have fiber to the tower to be able to support those technologies.  You are looking at a last mile solution but we need the first mile solution or if you are the government of Canada they call it the middle mile.  We call it the first mile.  We need the fiber to support the last mile, which is what we are working on. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  I have Karla on the list and Gonzalo and we have five minutes. 

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  No, I agree that sometimes we do a lot and we don't document enough to have more information.  And one of the models that Rhizomatica believed is the way to replicate this experience is the experience and knowledge that people need to have access to create other networks in other parts of the world.  So it is like very important to create these kind of spaces inside communities, between communities, inside the academic world, inside the technical communities.  And because it is important to understand that the sustainability of these movement, I believe it is some movement now.  When we see that there are community networks in many different places and some of them are not connected between them and they have a lot of things in common.  I think this is very important thing that we learn, no?  Ritu come from India and have a lot of experience.  And the possibility, the privilege to be together and share experience and share like all the obstacles that we face, it is part of the sustainability of the model, of the community network in this world and understand this is a movement that is fighting against.  Like the situation that we face now, that is like most of the people that don't have access to the Internet is because like they are an economical model that marginalizes a lot of people in this world.  So yeah, I think for me all the four ‑‑ freedoms of the free software movement are the base of how we can share the experience that each community network is building. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  Karla. 

   >> KARLA VALESCO:  Yes, to wrap up, I want to ‑‑ I wanted to say that yesterday it was a launch of the watch report.  This has the experience of community networks around the world from this organization called APC.  So it is a good way to start to look at community networks that exist already.  So that is one part.  The second part we are launching a paper with ISOC on community networks specifically and on experiences of community networks in Latin America.  It is going to be available this month.  And this paper talks about the experiences of ‑‑ the regulatory experiences of the countries.  Not specifically on community networks but it shows ways of moving around the regulatory environment in order to see there are opportunities for community networks. 

Lastly, I would like to say that I completely agree with Lorito.  We have to make a difference between rural areas and urban areas because normally we tend to say that rural areas are underdeveloped and they are not.  They have just different areas.  So this means that they don't have ‑‑ they don't need a traditional way of connecting like urban areas do.  They are just different and as different they have different characteristics and different ways of being and different ways of organization.  So within I would like to say that the traditional way of connecting is the one that we all know might be wrong.  So it is something that we have to rethink, rethink about connectivity, rethink about ways of having the technology around us.  And this is why I'm so proud of the community networks movement because it has helped to create solution that might be useful for what's left of connectivity in the world. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  Thank you.  You want to say something?  And we end on time.

   >> GONZALO LOPEZ‑BARAJAS:  If we take all the people that is not connected in Latin America and we add them all together that would equal to a market size of Colombia.  So I mean whoever says that we are not willing to connect that, I mean we are a company and we would love to have a market of space of Colombia added to our customers.  Our objective as a telephone ‑‑ as a company is to provide service to as many people as possible.  And that's where we are trying to improve in Peru with this new innovative approach.  We have connected 25,000 people in the jungle and highlands.  And we have upgraded over 100 communities to 4G and saying we have the spectrum and don't use it is a simplistic approach.  We don't use it because it is not profitable and develop the network in to these areas and to provide service to those people.  So we need to find the best use of that spectrum.  We need to find what is the best solution.  I mean saying that we use this, we give it for ‑‑ we pay for it and maybe the solution is to provide for a lower price.  And so that we are able to develop a network and much more spread across the country.  So the good news that we are having now is that we are developing networks in the jungle.  We are connecting people.  People are using the network.  And we are very excited about this opportunity and with the results that we are expecting to expand even further. 

   >> MATTHEW RANTANEN:  I wanted to close with saying that I appreciate ISOC is focusing on community networks and growing that focus internally.  And hopefully 2019 we will have more community networks.  Every time a community network gets on a panel and talk to an audience it opens up doors and opportunities and creates awareness.  And, you know, with the creation of the special interest groups that are existing and the indigenous connectivity summit that's lapped and indigenous chapter for North America we are hopefully going to have like the gentleman in the back said have an opportunity to have a repository for a bunch of information.  So people don't have to go out and recreate this.  We are all accessible, all extremely busy as well.  It would be nice to have a place where you can at least get a start.  Thank you. 

   >> PETER BLOOM:  And I would like to thank you all for this.  Please give an applause to them.  Thank you very much for attending the session. 

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