IGF 2019 WS #371 CLOSING THE DIGITAL GAP FOR MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES

Organizer 1: Andrés Sastre, ASIET
Organizer 2: Olausson Kristina, ETNO - European Telecommunications Network Operators' Assocation

Speaker 1: Oscar Martín González, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Christoph Steck, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Matthew Rantanen, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Christopher Yoo, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Meshingo Jack, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

What should be the appropriate institutional framework to close the existing coverage gaps, guarantee the increasingly demand for data by users and ensure that the latest technologies are available to not further marginalize vulnerable rural communties? Are current regulatory models valid? How to promote their change? Are we complying with the target deadlines? How to materialize these discussions in the short and medium term? Being that the deployment of connectivity infrastructure is more complicated and difficult to maintain in rural areas potentially resulting in a further marginalization of vulnerable communities in these rural areas, than in urban areas. Should rural areas have a differential regulatory approach (in terms of the quality of service obligations, taxation or spectrum) compared to urban areas? How can public policy support sustainable connectivity approaches in rural areas? What models are those? How can we foster beneficial collaboration agreements between telecommunications companies and community networks to foster the digitalization of vulnerable rural communities? What role do community networks play in connecting rural areas? How can we ensure its sustainability? How these community networks can access to quality technology? What successful examples are there? Are the problems that community networks face different from other rural connectivity approaches? What solutions do we have?

Relevance to Theme: Closing the digital divide is one of the greatest ethical imperatives that we have as a society. One of the main conditions for providing equitable opportunities in a digital age is to achieve full connectivity. This is also enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (9, Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). The competition model has been very useful for the deployment of infrastructure in urban areas and can have complementary measures for rural areas. This session aims to showcase good practices of new connectivity projects, and how these projects have overcome existing barriers. The session will also address public policies that can promote and incentivize deployment of connectivity infrastructure in unconnected areas.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Connecting the next billion is one of the main goals marked by the United Nations. All the themes derived from Internet governance start from the initial premise of achieving a fully connected society. The Internet has been the fastest deployed technology in history, but nearly the half of the world's population still does not have access. Within that half of the population that still does not access the network, the inhabitants of rural areas and of difficult geographical coverage are among those who have the most difficulties to achieve their inclusion. According to Facebook’s Inclusive Internet Index 2019 the pace of the closure of the connectivity gap is close to or has already stagnated in developing countries, and even widened in the bottom of the pyramid. How we manage to face this challenge and how we manage to innovate to connect these sectors must be a fundamental premise for the internet governance.

Format: 

Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Description: Introduction (5 ') The moderator introduces the topic and the aspects to be discussed and presents the panellists. Panellist intervention (42 ') Round of interventions by the panellists based on a show-casing of best-practice cases and on the questions established by the moderator for each one (6 'minutes for each). The The panellists will present from the perspective of their group of actors. Debate and exchange with the audience (15 ') Dynamics of questions and comments from the audience, facilitated by the moderator, including the intervention of remote participants. Panel response round (5 ') Additional panel interventions in response to comments and questions from the audience. Conclusions (15 ') Final interventions of the panelists highlighting or recapitulating central ideas of their exhibitions, commitments, or challenges ahead (2 'per panelist). Closure (5 ') Closure by the moderator highlighting the main points of agreement and divergence of the session.

Expected Outcomes: The expected outcomes are to be able to put in the debate if it is necessary to change the current regulatory approach for the promotion of the development of connectivity infrastructure in rural areas, what models of connectivity in these areas are being successful and how can we incentivize new ones and, above all, be maintainable over time. Also know what collaboration models are being successful and what role should be played by community networks.

Onsite Moderator: 

Olausson Kristina, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Andrés Sastre, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Rapporteur: 

Andrés Sastre, Private Sector, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Discussion Facilitation: 

We will have a set of pre-prepared questions to spur the discussion and facilitate inputs of the session. We will try to ensure that the possible opposing views through the debate can reach agreements, being in this sense very important the work of the moderator.

Online Participation: 

DURING THE INTENDED TIME FOR THE INTERVENTION OF THE PUBLIC,WE WILL EXPOSE THE QUESTIONS MADE BY REMOTE

SDGs: 

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities