[governance] APC IGF workshop: regulation and access

karen banks karenb at gn.apc.org
Fri Jun 29 12:44:22 EDT 2007

hi folks

the first of three proposals we're about to submit, with one coming tomorrow..

please note that in many cases, organisations and 
individiuals agreement to participate in still being sought..

we welcome comments on any of the proposals..


Title: Regulatory Frameworks for Improving Access

Q1. Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme.

Regulation is how policies are put into practice. 
But, experience has shown that there is not 
necessarily a troublefree transition from the 
conceptual to the real world. For telecom (and 
other recently privatised sectors) despite 
expectations for market solutions to improve 
infrastructure development and deployment, there 
are still substantial access gaps beyond the 
reach of the market, especially for rural areas. 
This workshop explores the role of regulation in 
promoting equitable deployment and affordable 
access to communications infrastructure at both 
the national and regional levels.

Rural connectivity and especially access to 
Internet services requires regulatory 
intervention in the forms of proactive regulation 
that encourages (or at least does not prohibit) 
alternative forms of access such as community 
owned networks; and universal access instruments 
which can be used to subsidise infrastructure 
roll-out or stimulate investment in the sector by 
offering incentives. A key factor for rural 
connectivity is affordability of access and services.

The workshop will identify and discuss (1) 
regulatory challenges in providing/improving 
access in rural areas; and (2) the role of 
regulation in creating advantageous sector 
conditions for establishing and maintaining 
regional communications infrastructure. 
Additionally, the workshop will explore 
regulatory scenarios and choices that the 
Internet engenders for different stakeholder 
groups. Case studies will be drawn from Africa 
and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Q2. Provide the Name of the Organizer(s) of the 
workshop and their Affiliation to various 
stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take 
steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder 
principle, including geographical diversity.

APC: Civil Society
IDRC: Donor
LIRNE.net: Network of academic researchers
UNDP: Intergovernmental (To be confirmed)

The organisers will ensure that all stakeholder 
groups are adequately represented on the panel of 
speakers, publicity will also be directed to 
achieve adequate representation in the workshop 
audience. APC will also invite/collate the 
opinion of experts (from a cross section of 
stakeholder groups) on issues relevant to the 
theme of this workshop. These will be made 
available in the form of an 'issue paper' prior 
to the IGF meeting and will be used to facilitate 
the exchange of ideas and experience during the workshop.

Q3. Why do you think the proposed theme is important?

Global information society benefits are only 
available to people and communities who are 
connected to the Internet. The theme of this 
workshop is important to all stakeholders who are 
concerned with the equitable distribution of 
opportunities presented by the Internet. This 
theme is an essential component for developing 
strategies to connect the majority of the world's 
population to the global networked society.

Privatisation and market-oriented initiatives in 
the communications sectors of developing 
countries have failed to deliver anticipated 
benefits - the significant success of mobile 
roll-out has meant a slow down in investment in 
fixed network infrastructure. This has resulted 
in uneven progress in the overall competitiveness 
of a nation's telecoms industry and has impacted 
negatively on connectivity between/within 
geographic regions, and development of Internet services and access.

Output of the workshop will be useful to 
governments, policymakers, regulators, and 
advocates working to improve connectivity – at 
the local, national and regional levels.

Q4. Describe the workshop’s conformity with the 
Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

The workshop highlights the multi-faceted nature 
of the development of the Internet and the 
complex issues surrounding its application in 
realising development objectives (paragraphs 49 
and 50, 54, 59 and 60 of the Tunis Agenda).

The focus on the role of regulation in promoting 
equitable access for all refers to paragraph 50. 
Discussions on the frameworks and governance of 
rural/community and regional infrastructure bring 
to the fore the critical roles played by the 
private sector and civil society in the 
development of the Internet (paragraph 54).

The workshop will discuss public policy issues 
related to the accessibility of the Internet 
within countries and across regions with 
particular reference to the role of regulation in 
promoting access and affordability of Internet infrastructure (paragraph 72a).

In examining regulatory scenarios and choices, 
the workshop will foster the exchange of ideas 
and draw on the insights of the academic, 
scientific and technical communities (paragraph 72d).

The workshop will seek to encapsulate a set of 
guidelines for rural/community and regional 
infrastructure that can be considered by the IGF 
within the terms of its mandate to propose ways 
and means to accelerate the availability and 
affordability of the internet in the developing world (paragraph 72e).

The workshop will also contribute towards 
building capacity around regulatory frameworks 
and mechanisms as they relate to the deployment 
of Internet infrastructure; and will draw on the 
experiences, knowledge and expertise of developing countries (paragraph 72h).

Q5. Provide the Name and Affiliation of the 
panellists you are planning to invite.

The organisers are in the process of identifying 
panellists for the workshop. The organisers will 
take steps to ensure that the views of all 
stakeholder groups will be represented on the panel.

Q6. Describe the main actors in the field. Have 
you approached them and asked whether they would 
be willing to participate in proposed workshop?

The organisers have identified several actors 
actively engaged in regulatory capacity building; 
implementation of community and rural networks; 
and regional communications infrastructure, both 
within policy and business environments. A list 
of contacts has been generated and they have been 
invited to participate in the workshop.

Q7. List similar events you have organized in the past.

APC organised and conducted a number of workshops 
during the Inaugural Meeting of the Internet 
Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens; including one 
under the Access Theme - "Approaches for 
Deploying IP-Based Network Infrastructure in 
Developing Countries". APC also collaborates 
extensively with key stakeholders in organising 
workshops and peer-exchange meetings in different 
geographic regions; a number of which have 
focused on rural/community networks, as well as 
regulatory and policy issues relating to regional 
communications infrastructure.

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