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NRIs Collaborative Session on Access

Access and existing barriers on Regional and National levels 

 

Co-proposers/co-organizers

  1. Afghanistan IGF
  2. Colombia IGF
  3. Georgia IGF
  4. LACIGF
  5. Malawi IGF
  6. Sri Lanka IGF
  7. West Africa IGF

Session title
Access and existing barriers on Regional and National levels 

Session format and timing
The session will be 90 minutes
Round Table
(Mix)Introduction from moderator (5 minutes).
Statements from NRIs representatives by region, maximum 7 representatives (5 min each - 35 minutes).
Questions from moderator to aim discussion and participation from onsite and remote participants (15 Minutes).
Summary and key points (5 minutes).
 

Content of the session
Despite the billions of people accessing the Internet there remain pockets of the world that do not have access, including many people in the developing world; and there are several countries that attempt to restrict or control the content that users have access to. It is estimated, according to Digital Trends, that 60 percent of the world’s population does not have access to the Internet. This equates to around 7.2 billion people. In the least developed countries only one in every 10 individuals has regular access to the Internet — there is also more access achieved by men than women, and by the wealthier members of society.

This session aims to bring a discussion around the issue of Access through the sharing of experiences from various National and Regional initiatives -  NRIs and to learn on how Access has been addressed among other NRIs and  to exchange the outputs of these discussions.. Multiple discussions from NRIs have been proposed that includes:  Worries about Access (LACIGF), Access for Inclusion and Development (Colombian IGF), Internet Access and Broadband Gap, Competition Regulation Issues  and Shearing of experience on just finished ISOC’s Tusheti project for connecting of remote areas of Georgia  (Georgian IGF), Access- Price, Quality of Services and Diversity (Afghanistan IGF) .Access to internet in regards to the affordability and infrastructure development (Malawi IGF), Internet Shut Down in West Africa IGF,  among others.  IGF Sri Lanka urges that of largest minority of the world. They have a lowest representation on internet disabilities. People with difficulties also has a same right to access as others. So we have a responsibility to shape internet to be accessible to them without differ. 

Is clear that the NRIs are promoting and aiming these important discussions, so the session is intended to facilitate this dialogue and to discuss how all these outputs from the discussions can better be integrated in the global IGF, i.e. getting more involved in initiatives like Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion.

The session will bring together representatives from the NRIs to discuss how to better exchange experiences among NRIs to facilitate access to unconnected and barely connected communities and how to better participate in initiatives from the global IGF in this theme.

Some questions to guide the discussion include:

  • What could be the role of NRIs to promote affordable and equitable Internet access?
  • Which NRIs case studies are relevant that are improving access?
  • Which NRIs models are working well that are making real changes?
  • Which topics are we discussing at NRIs?
  • How NRIs are promoting solutions and best practices? i.e. policies are facilitating access, access to spectrum.
  • How can the NRIs engage Policymakers in the process of legislating for or against internet shut down?
  • How does internet shut down (no-access) hurt the economy?
  • Internet shut down: for  whose best interest?
     

Speakers/Resource persons
The speakers will be NRIs representatives by region (Africa, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe, GRULAC, WEOG) for a maximum of seven speakers that will present NRIs experiences, activities, discussions related to Access, encouraging them to share their relations with other IGF initiatives and how these interactions are facilitating the evolution (or not) of the discussions and how these discussions are facilitating the implementation of policies that are favorable to improve in different ways Access and other aspects that they want to highlight from their experiences.
 

Relevance of the issue
There are several challenges that the developing world, such as Afghanistan, has been facing, including: The Internet/ bandwidth price being totally unaffordable for the locals (USD 150/ per MB in Afghanistan); Inadequate and poor infrastructure; Low Quality of Services; Unhealthy policy and regulatory environment and taxation regimes; Monopoly by government-owned and private enterprises; Regional collaboration, especially for countries that are landlocked increasing their dependencies on neiboring countries to access submarine fiber: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xaoLAcmgxUrda2ZPjD4Y0OLXg9mdioBf4tR-...
These critical challenges pose a major barrier for citizens living in these countries to connect and gain access. Their government, and the international community, however, are doing enough to address the issues faced by millions of population. 

In addition, there is a capacity issues in the developing countries. These countries need to be engaged in skill building programs, policy and Internet governance meetings to be able to gain knowledge and skills and voice their issues on national, regional and global levels. 

Even though millions of people are  connected to the Internet there are still a lot of people, the developing world, that are "barely connected, "sub connected or living in remote areas. NRIs have been promoting the discussions on this issue because it  still remains  a critical challenge  for many developing countries where people are not getting the full benefit of the Internet. 

From Georgian perspective internet connection challenges is related with wholesale market challenges and  with rule of law in regards of regulation of competition. SMP operators are creating formal and informal barriers for development and access and NRI have to create open floor for discussion for warming up this issues and also have to create messages  for annual report.  Another direction is related with support of donors local society could create his local small network but still a lot of issues.  

The NRIs are raising these issues through various discussions to raise awareness, understand challenges and identify solutions. These include: 

- Ensure the underserved population are given priority in national, regional and global Internet Governance agenda;
- Help with provision of access to the unconnected;
- Identify ways the Internet cost can become affordable for citizens;
- Understanding; 
- Enhance the quality of services in the developing and least developed regions. In most of these countries, even though the access is provided, the quality of services remains low; 
- Help enhance accessibility of the disabled communities across developing world, as this remains at large for differently disabled communities;
- Contribute to enhancing policy, regulatory, and tax regimes, since taxations and unfair conditions in internet packages, Internet shutdowns, and Internet control (gateway implementation) are a major issues causing the disconnect and poor quality of services;
- Help bridge the Digital Divide among Communities (age, gender, economic etc.), as the disadvantaged communities are left behind in all spheres of live, education, employment, healthcare and others;
- Create awareness on how internet shut down can hinder access at critical moments and hurts economic activities,including e-commerce development.
 

Interventions/Engagement with participants (onsite and online)
We will use the WebEx provided by the IGF organizer to connect with the remote participants. There will be many remote hubs established in different countries and regions to ensure people who cannot make it to Geneva can participate online. We will promote the session across the remote hub organizers, and through major social media channels (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+) to ensure additional people are aware about the session to join. 
Onsite participants will be engaged through Q&A and open discussions. We will do a pre-session survey with the potential participants to collect their views on challenges most of the countries face, and seek opinion on possible solutions.
 

Geographical, Stakeholder and Gender Diversity
NRIs will be encouraged to nominate their representatives to consider gender, sector, and stakeholder group diversity. Having at least one representative from each NRIs region will guarantee geographical representation. 

Onsite moderator(s)
Moderator will be familiar with the NRIs dynamics and in the theme of Access.
All speakers will be given the opportunity to present their NRIs views and will be encouraged to participate in discussion with onsite and remote participants.

Online moderator(s)
Online moderator will be selected from representatives of NRIs attending the IGF.  Remote moderator will be prepare to use all the potential of the online platform to ensure the participation of remote participants.

Rapporteur(s)
Rapporteurs will be selected from representatives of NRIs attending the IGF. 

Online participation logistics
Remote moderator will be involved in the planning of the session to guarantee the remote participants to be included in the dynamic of the session in an active role. Remote moderator will be responsible for bringing the online participation to the room and also to aim remote participants to participate actively.
​Most NRIs have remote hub setup and the link for this session shall be shared across to ensure maximum participation from all NRIs
Co-organizers will ensure that the session is broadly promoted through the NRIs networks to give remote participants to prepare in advance their  interventions and to generate interest in the session.
 

Discussion facilitation
The room will be organized in a circle (or round table) to give all participants an equal weight in the discussion. The moderator can be located in a prominent seating position and may walk around in the middle of the circle to engage participants.
A preparatory meeting will be organized with speakers, co-organisers and moderators so everyone has a chance to share views and prepare for the session.
The moderator will present the questions prepared in advance to encourage interaction among NRIs representatives and between participants, if conversation were to stall. During the group discussion the moderator will make sure that all participants have equal opportunity to intervene.
 

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678