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Internet Governance and Public Policy

The Tunis Agenda

2005 was dominated by the World Summit on the Information Society. In their Final Report, they recommended establishment of an Internet Governance Forum. We supported this proposal - we believe there are many matters that this forum should address that are not covered by any other forum or governance body -as well as some unfinished business as regards legacy governance structures.

We told them what we think here.

The Main Agenda

But in many ways, the debates at WSIS missed the big issues that we expect will dominate our thinking in the next few years.

Voip vs Traditional telco and mobile models

For instance, the battle between VOIP (voice over IP) and traditional telephony systems, which will dominate discussions in national regulatory regimes of countries with high broadband penetration, hardly got a mention. Yet there is hardly an issue where the importance of understanding the potential of the Internet is more important. Traditional telco business models are very threatened by Internet growth, and telco lobbying power will undoubtedly lead to some draconian attempts to stop Internet growth by regulatory restrictions.

Model legislation therefore becomes important in allowing the emergence of a regime in which voice connections are no different to any other Internet connections, and a vision of future growth where bandwidth is about as basic as water or electricity supply.

We envisage a future regime where distance does not matter, time doesn't matter, volume doesn't really matter - more a flat annual cost Internet. That's the one that can help this planet.

We want to see the Internet as a place you visit, not some highly regulated network facility.


2005 was the year in which the power of Google became apparent. Moving from a simple base as a very good Internet search engine, Google, using excessive market capitalisation that had some people talking of a second 'dotcom" era, proceeded to

We think Google is great. But we also think there needs to be a way to regulate large international corporations with dominant market power in this space rather than trusting corporations to regulate themselves.

Other issues we believe IGF should examine

These are issues we would like to see discussed in an Internet Governance Forum - and they have precious little to do with ICANN, which is a good thing. We would also add to the agenda

The Hidden Agenda

Then there is the matter which WSIS failed to address, and could not address because of its full consensus model - that of residual US domination of the root zone authorisation function. There is a lot more talk about this going on that is apparent from reading media reports.

We have written before about this. We are watching various developments. See our Resources Page.


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