PrepCom 3: Coalition on Financing ICTD reacts to major Internet Governance document
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 28 September 2005
Statement on the contribution for document WSIS-II/PC-3/DT/10 (Chapter Three: Internet Governance)
Submitted by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
On behalf of the Informal Coalition on Financing ICTD
Bread for All
IT for Change
The Informal Coalition on Financing ICTD wishes to contribute its thoughts
on Section 4 Measures to promote development of the Chair’s excellent
paper on Chapter 3 on Internet Governance. We focus our attention on
points 56 and 57 on making Internet access affordable.
Apart from being a logical infrastructure, the Internet consists as much
in the physical network that connects all people and enables them to use
it for achieving their full potential in promoting their sustainable
development and improving their quality of life (Geneva Declaration of
Principles). Effective universal access to the Internet and effective use
of the Internet for all people therefore comprises a core policy issue of
The Internet is a global public space that should be open and accessible
to all on a non-discriminatory basis. It is a global public infrastructure
and a global public good, whose value increases the more people and
organizations are added to it. This is the positive network externality
that the Internet has the potential to bring to human relations. And hence
universal Internet access is a key goal of the WSIS Plan of Action that
commits us all to connecting half the world’s inhabitants to ICTs by 2015.
According to ITU figures, 46% of the developed world’s inhabitants are
already connected to the Internet. Only 5% of the developing world’s
inhabitants have Internet access. So the WSIS goal requires us to find
ways of connecting 45% of the developing world to the Internet by 2015.
This translates into connecting approximately 2.2 billion people in the
developing world to the Internet in one decade.
This is obviously a mammoth task but one that we should not shrink from.
It requires us to find innovative ways to make Internet access affordable.
And this is why we propose that in addition to dealing with unequal
international interconnection costs and developing low cost equipment as
proposed in the Chair’s paper, the following steps should be included to
make the Internet truly ubiquitous:
a) Reducing international Internet costs
- by different policy options towards universal access. These may include
eliminating exploitative monopolistic practices for international backbone
provision, including through submarine cables;
- by supporting the establishment of national and international internet
- by building local demand for national, regional and international
- by reducing costs charged by backbone providers;
b) Through public initiatives for backbone and Internet provision in areas
of market failure that, inter alia, leverage existing public
infrastructure like electricity and railways networks;
c) Eliminating exploitative monopolistic practices that affect the
provision of IP-based services, including VoIP;
d) Exploring an open network access approach to extending Internet access
in communities, particularly through the promotion of SME and community
e) Reconfiguring the mandate of national Universal Access Funds to support
Internet connectivity, applications and content development and capacity
f) Exploring the development of local initiatives for content and
applications development as a way of reducing the cost of connecting to
g) Exploring the use of free and open source software, specially for the
provision of public services in areas such as education and health;
h) Promoting free-share or open content paradigm for socio-development
content on the Internet, and recognizing it as distinct from commercial
content that may require different IPR regimes.
i) Encouraging organisations to continue the study of the question of the
International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an urgent matter to develop
k) Developing low-cost equipment, especially for use in developing countries.