IGF 2019 WS #101 What operator model(s) for digital inclusion?

Organizer 1: Lorrayne Porciuncula, OECD
Organizer 2: Tim Kelly, World Bank
Organizer 3: Bengt Mölleryd, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS)

Speaker 1: Bengt Mölleryd, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Verena Weber, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Robert Pepper, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Telefonica Gomes, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Chenai Chair, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

• What are the main challenges to expand quality and affordable broadband services in underserved areas in a context of the fast changing landscape in telecommunication markets?
• What new business models and technological solutions can assist to narrow the digital broadband divide? What operator models have proven to work well to expand connectivity?
• What tools could be developed to ensure that Internet access is both sustainable and inclusive (for women and girls, older people, people living with disabilities, refugees and other disadvantaged groups)?

Relevance to Theme: Digital Inclusion is about identifying and addressing the divides that persist along a range of dimensions, including by geography, income, age, education level and gender. Fostering inclusion in the process of digital transformation means ensuring that, first of all, that everyone is connected and has access to online services. This workshop will help discuss the underlining barriers for connectivity and to identify solutions to achieve digital inclusion.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Ensuring access to quality and affordable broadband is the first step to realising the goal of an inclusive Internet. All stakeholders have a role to play in promoting greater digital inclusion. Bridging digital divides requires policy action as well as action by the private sector and civil society. To understand where and how extensive digital divides are, it is important to measure and map them, and to provide information on how such divides have been narrowed. As such, diverse stakeholder participation in the development of practical tools like the Going Digital Toolkit is essential to creating the inclusive Internet we all want.

Format: 

Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Description: Given that access to infrastructure is a prerequisite for digital transformations of countries, network operators play a key role for digital inclusion. Operators have historically built, invested, operated and provided telecommunication services. Meanwhile, recent technological developments, such as the migration to IP networks, have effectively decoupled services from transmission networks allowing services to converge over IP networks. Consequently, different operator models have emerged ranging from traditionally vertical integrated models to wholesales network access models, ultimately impacting how digital inclusion will be realised.

This workshop aims to discuss innovative ways to connect people and business to strive for a better digital inclusion. Different operator models will be discussed and how they can contribute to expand connectivity, especially in underserved areas. It will also discuss ongoing challenges operators are facing when aiming at expanding broadband provision and how these could be overcome. Overall, it seeks to identify solutions and tools that can help bring better, more affordable and inclusive digital services to remote and rural areas and underserved groups.

An analysis of recent trends shows than rather than one solution or one business model, there will likely be a rather a wide range of types of operators with different roles in providing services for developing and developed countries. For access to affordable broadband to be expanded and improved, it is critical that the sector continues to invest in order to facilitate the new generations of networks to be deployed. Policy makers will need to monitor the enabling environment for investments in infrastructure and engage in dialogue with business, civil society, technical community and international organisations, to exchange good practices in order to facilitate digital transformations in their economies and societies.

Key questions that would be addressed in the workshop include:

• What are the main existing challenges to expand quality and affordable broadband services in underserved areas in a context of the fast changing landscape in telecommunication markets?
• What new business models and technological solutions can assist to narrow the digital broadband divide? What operator models have proven to work well to expand connectivity?
• What tools could be developed to ensure that Internet access is both sustainable and inclusive (for women and girls, older people, people living with disabilities, refugees and other disadvantaged groups)?

Moderator

• Bengt Molleryd, PTS (government), Sweden, confirmed

Panelists

• Verena Weber, OECD (international organisation), Germany, confirmed
• Chenai Chair, Research ICT Africa (civil society/academia), South Africa, confirmed
• Teresa Gomes, Internet Para Todos (NGO), Venezuela, confirmed
• Robert Pepper, Facebook (business), United States, confirmed
• Suresh Sidhu, edotco Group (business), Malaysia, tbc

Online moderator

• Lorrayne Porciuncula, OECD (international organisation), Brazil, confirmed

Agenda
1. Setting the scene (5 minutes) - The moderator will explain the purpose of the workshop, present statistics regarding connectivity in the world and share some of key questions related to different operator models and their effects in expanding broadband around the world.

2. Operator models and digital inclusion (30 minutes) - The moderator will invite panelists to describe the main trends and initiatives on technology developments and different operator models around the world by answering the following questions: “What new business models and technological solutions can assist to narrow the digital broadband divide? What operator models have proven to work well to expand connectivity?”:

• Persisting challenges and possible solutions (30 minutes) - The moderator will invite the main panelists to answer the questions: “What are the main existing challenges to expand quality and affordable broadband services in underserved areas in a context of the fast changing landscape in telecommunication markets?” and “What tools could be developed to ensure that Internet access is both sustainable and inclusive (for women and girls, older people, people living with disabilities, refugees and other disadvantaged groups)?”.

3. Questions and answers (20 minutes) - The moderator will open the floor for a section of questions and answers between the audience or panelists.

4. Wrap-up (5 minutes) – The moderator will summarise the main points and wrap up the discussions.

Expected Outcomes: This workshop will be an opportunity to engage with the broader set of stakeholders present at the IGF to carry out a concrete analysis of the existing and developing business models to provide connectivity in both developing and developed countries. In focusing on the specific issues related to the advantages and disadvantages of each business model thorugh the lenses of policy objectives, this workshop will shed light into what the barriers and innovative solutions are for realising the digital broadband inclusion for all.

Onsite Moderator: 

Bengt Mölleryd, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Lorrayne Porciuncula, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Rapporteur: 

Lorrayne Porciuncula, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The session will be divided in two moments to ensure that panelists points are focused to the questions posed. At the start of each question, the moderator will ask the policy question both for panelists and for the audience. If technically feasible, our objective is to complement this moment with online polls to hear the perspective from the audience. The results will be shown in the screen and highlighted by the moderator. Once the panelists have expressed their views and participants answered the polls, the floor will be opened for questions and answers. We have allowed for almost 1/3 of our time for interaction with the audience.

Online Participation: 

Remote participation will be facilitated by the remote moderator with ample experience in moderating online discussions. She will be involved throughout workshop planning to advise on where remote participation will need to be facilitated. The moderator will frequently communicate with the remote moderator throughout the session to ensure remote participants’ views/questions in the official online participation tool are reflected. Moreover, the workshop will be promoted in advance to the wider community, giving emphasis to the official online participation tool to give remote participants the opportunity to prepare questions and interventions and to generate interest in the workshop. We will also ensure the workshop is promoted on OECD’s and World Banks’s websites and via social media, linking to the online participation tools.

Proposed Additional Tools: In addition to ensuring that the workshop is promoted on OECD’s and World Banks’s websites and via social media, we also plan to use Beekast, which is a platform we have been using in internal and external events to make meetings more productive and interactive. If that is technically feasible in the IGF 2019 premises, we will use it to ask participants for their real-time responses on polls we will elaborate together with our panelists to make the most of our discussions. This platform has been proved to be useful in large events to keep the audience engaged and interested and also as a means to provide useful insights for the panelists.

SDGs: 

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals