SPNP Archives


Few days back I was asked to speak on the above subject at a workshop held at the Center for European Political Studies in Brussels. I discussed what effects the continuing efforts by ETNO and likeminded groups to introduce some form of government mandated rent extraction from Over the Top players such as Google and Facebook are likely to have on small alternative media using the Internet as a workaround or simply as a low-entry-cost publishing opportunity. The slideset that I used is Samarajiva_CEPS_Mar13.
We just beat back a misguided attempt to break the Internet on the basis of some retrograde conception that equated the Internet with circuit switched telephony. But there is no debate that the Internet is under strain. We’ve been working with UN ESCAP, among others to address some of the problems. But the more fundamental questions of moving massive amounts of data from multiple devices are being addressed in the universities that begat the Internet. These are the solutions, not ETNO’s proposals, now seeping into European policy, to tax OTT players.

Dubai is a win for LIRNEasia

Posted on December 14, 2012  /  0 Comments

The photo on the left, an over-the-shoulder picture kindly sent us by an observer sitting in the back rows of WCIT 2012 in Dubai, illustrates. While the heavy-duty wrangling is going on, a delegate from an African country is going through the LIRNEasia website. We have yet to analyze the user data from the WCIT days, but we are indeed pleased to have photographic evidence of the efficacy of our website and the utility of its content. But more than that, our real achievement was on Article 6, where we focused our fire. The final text from the Chairman of WCIT 42A International telecommunication arrangements 42B 6.
The most important work will get done in the early hours of the last night, as was the case in Melbourne. Lots of countries are lining up to speak on Article 6, the one that has been our focus. Also unresolved are some important economic issues. Perhaps the most potentially game-changing aspect here involves language that would replace the end-to-end principle (where network operators agree to carry all traffic from its origin to destination without discrimination) with a “sender-pays” system. (You may remember similar issues coming up in the United States during the net neutrality debates.
I keep being asked by journalists why well-meaning people like ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure are supporting the “access charge” proposals, that are warmed over ETNO rejects. I really do not know. I can only speculate. It may be that he has spent too much time in the rarefied climes of Geneva talking to CEOs of European telecom operators and participating in their “Twitter Storms,” and not enough looking at research on what is actually driving Internet use among the poor in his continent and mine. My colleague Alison Gillwald heads RIA which conducts such research.