IGF 2019 WS #226 ‘Over-the-Top’ Services - Challenges & Opportunities

Organizer 1: Brian Scarpelli, ACT | The App Association
Organizer 2: Alexandre Roure, Computer & Communication Industry Associations (CCIA)
Organizer 3: Christian Borggreen, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

Speaker 1: Nina Cummins, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Helani Galpaya, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Fiona Alexander, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Christian Borggreen, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: René Arnold, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

1. What are the opportunities and implications of, and Internet governance/data governance policy and regulatory issues associated with, OTT?
2. What Internet governance approaches might be considered regarding OTT to help the creation of environment balancing the interests of all stakeholders?
3. How can OTT regulators, players, and operators best cooperate at local and international level? Are there model partnership agreements that could be developed?

Relevance to Theme: For OTTs to continue to provide new efficiencies and services to consumers around the world, data governance policies of regulators, telecommunications service providers, and others will play a central role in the development of and availability of OTTs to consumers in both developed and developing countries.

Relevance to Internet Governance: As the role of OTTs grows, Internet governance approaches taken in both developed and developing nations by regulators will have a vital role in realizing the benefits of OTTs.


Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Description: OTT applications and services are key drivers of the digital economy and the internet of things (IoT), powering a future where more and more everyday products use the internet to share data collected through sensors, inform decisions based on data analytics, and ensure efficiencies in processes, products, and services. The opportunities associated with OTT are projected to add $1.36 trillion to total global economic output by 2020. Yet, the rise of OTTs has presented challenges to some key stakeholders, including regulators of telecommunications service providers, telecommunications service providers, and other stakeholders. These concerns include support for, and access to, infrastructure, ensuring public safety, and data bias, among others.

While it seems to be widely recognized that the global digital economy holds great promise for OTT innovators and those using their services across consumer and enterprise use cases, regulators are today struggling with how to address the rise of OTTs. Already, some governments are currently proposing or have finalized new regulations to address OTTs in their jurisdictions and there is increased debate in key international fora such as the World Trade Organization as to how OTTs should be addressed to address both access to OTT data and OTT data trustworthiness.

A harmonized Internet governance approach that encourages the growth and prosperity of OTTs while advancing legitimate government interests is needed. This panel will examine key questions and angles related to the rise of OTTs, and will feature diverse viewpoints as to how Internet governance by regulators and other stakeholders should approach OTTs to identify cross-community consensus on how Internet governance approaches can achieve this balance.

Expected Outcomes: At the conclusion of this session, participants will:
1. Understand what OTTs are, the opportunities and challenges associated with OTT, and the policy and regulatory matters associated with OTTs.
2. Identify and understand differing viewpoints regarding Internet governance approaches (including at the local and international level) to OTT and these governance approaches’ relationship to realizing the benefits of OTTs while advancing access the Internet for all.

Onsite Moderator: 

Brian Scarpelli, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Brian Scarpelli, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Brian Scarpelli, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

For each of the areas of interest, introductory short presentations/remarks by experts will provide basic knowledge and discuss important trade-offs. The moderator will ensure the active participation of the audience, who will be able to intervene and ask questions to the experts. Sufficient time will be given to online participants to ask questions, by the online participator. Following these initial interventions, the roundtable will get to the heart of the debate, guided by the moderator who will begin by giving an opportunity to online and in-person participants to pose questions and discuss views on the strategies presented. The moderator will guide the debate on investment strategies with the goal of finding common ground between views brought forward. In addition to the background documents and papers that will be prepared ahead of the IGF, additional articles of interest, reference materials and social media conversations will be published and distributed ahead of the workshop. The moderator and organizing team will work with speakers in advance as to ensure the quality and the content of the discussion.

Online Participation: 

The online moderator will encourage remote participation through various social networking platforms in addition to the platform provided by the IGF Secretariat. After the first round of interventions, the discussion section of the roundtable will open up with an invitation to online participants to weigh in on strategies discussed and pose questions to the speakers. The organizing team will work to promote the activity on social media, and will specially invite relevant stakeholders to join the session and share questions ahead of the debate. Online participants will be given priority to speak, and their participation will be encouraged by the online and in-person moderators.


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