Category: Access

How Do We Connect Everyone to the Internet? An IETF 101 Technical Plenary

How do we connect everyone, everywhere, to the Internet? What role do “community networks” play in helping connect more people? How can we best use wireless spectrum and what are the issues with that? How can satellites fit into the picture? And what is the state of satellite technology? And what about the role of “space lasers”?

All that and more was the subject of yesterday’s featured panel at the Technical Plenary at IETF 101 in London.

Interested to learn more? Watch/listen to the Global Access to the Internet for All (GAIA) session TODAY (22 March) at 1:30pm UTC:

Organized by the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), the panel was moderated by our Jane Coffin and included these speakers:

  • Leandro Navarro Moldes, Associate Professor, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (SLIDES)
  • Steve Song, Wireless Spectrum Research Associate, Network Startup Resource Center (SLIDES)
  • Jonathan Brewer, Consulting Engineer, Telco2 Limited (SLIDES)

You can watch the recording of the session at:

The session began with Leandro Moldes outlining how half the world is still not connected to the Internet and is not able to benefit from all the opportunities. He explored the reasons why, the challenges with business models, and the opportunities to improve the situation. He spoke about the different types of community networks and the need for small providers to cooperate and collaborate to be most effective.

Next Steve Song opened with the provocative question – do we care more about connecting refrigerators than poor people? He went on to talk about the impact of fiber optic connections in Africa – and then explained both the opportunities and challenges of using radio spectrum for communication. Steve discussed the economics and politics of spectrum allocation and finished looking at some of the upcoming next generation technologies. A key message: access diversity is critical!

Finally, Jonathan Brewer provided a view on satellite options for Internet access. He outlined typical orbits and latencies; spoke about different architectures and common deployment scenarios; and explained different satellite spectrum bands and then pros and cons. We learned about “rain fade” and other terms. He also offered three newer commercial ventures as examples of the exciting activities in the space sector.

After the panelists spoke, Jane opened the floor to questions. Attendees asked about the diversity of options, the need to include more people and regions, and more. And yes, there was a discussion about “space lasers” and how some of these new networks are building mesh networks based on using lasers between satellites.

It was an educational session that offered many ideas for how to connect the rest of the world.

If you would like to learn more and find out how to help:

Image credit: Stonehouse Photographic

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EuroDIG 2017: ISOC Speaks on Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Human Rights, IoT, Internet Shutdowns and more

How do we create a more secure and trusted Internet within the multistakeholder model of Internet governance? That will be among the many questions addressed this week at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) in Tallinn, Estonia. From June 5-7, we will have an Internet Society team on site participating in many sessions. Our EuroDIG 2017 page has all the details – including links to live video streams – but at a high level here are some of the workshops we are participating in:

  • Plenary panel on cybersecurity
  • New business models and the Internet
  • Blockchain technology and internet governance
  • Community connectivity: empowering the unconnected
  • Criminal justice on the Internet – identifying common solutions
  • Workshop on human rights and IoT
  • Internet content blocking: from collateral damages to better solutions
  • Stress testing the multistakeholder model in cybersecurity
  • Drowning in data – digital pollution, green IT, and sustainable access
  • Forced data localization and barriers to cross-border data flows: toward a multistakeholder approach

Again, view our EuroDIG 2017 event page to see exact times and live stream links.

To stay up on our activities, you can follow us on social media – and follow the hashtags #eurodig17 and #eurodig on Twitter.

Please do say hello to our staff in the sessions – and tell us how you think we need to work together to build a stronger Internet and #ShapeTomorrow.

The post EuroDIG 2017: ISOC Speaks on Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Human Rights, IoT, Internet Shutdowns and more appeared first on Internet Society.

Watch Live On May 11 – How does the Internet Affect Society?

Is the Internet bringing us together? Or is it further dividing us? Will the Internet of the future be a force for social cohesion? Or will it lead to greater fragmentation?

Please join us on Thursday, May 11, from 12:30 – 14:00 BST (UTC+1) for a live video stream out of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London, UK. In the session a panel of experts will address these and many related questions (view the longer description):

Speakers and panelists include:

  • Prof. Dr. Erik Huizer, CTO SURFnet, Internet Hall of Fame inductee
  • Ms. Kathryn Brown, President and CEO, Internet Society
  • Dr. Ismail Syed Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority
  • Mr. James Arroyo, OBE, Director for Data, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Ms. Unoma Ndili Okarafor, Ph.D. Founder & CEO at Herbal Papaya, WAAW Foundation
  • Ms. Rebecca MacKinnon, Director of the Ranking Digital Rights project at New America

The session will be recorded for those unable to watch live.

The event page has more information about the session. This is part of our 25th anniversary activities looking at what lies ahead for the future of the Internet.

We encourage you all to join in; to share the information about this event; and to discuss this question with others – how does the Internet affect our society?

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Connecting The Unconnected: The Story of a Visit to a School in Agua Azul, Mexico

How do you bring the “Internet” to a remote village in Mexico that doesn’t even have phone service? On June 20, 2016, we set out to understand that question. It was the day before the start of the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy in Cancun,and our ISOC Mexico Chapter arranged for this visit.

Our group was small: Internet Society President & CEO Kathy Brown, Regional Bureau Director for Latin America Sebastián Bellagamba, Alejandro Pisanty of the ISOC Mexico Chapter and myself.

In a parking lot on the outskirt of Cancun we met Camilo Olea (pictured above on the right) and Pedro González. They are the founders of Kaanbal, a nonprofit organisation seeking to bring the Internet to remote regions of Mexico. They are also the recipients of an Internet Society “Beyond The Net” grant.

From there we drove about 60 kilometres west of Cancun to reach the small community of Agua Azul in the municipality of Lázaro Cardenas, Quintana Roo. It is about 450-500 people out in the jungle area of the Yucatan Peninsula.

After parking and visiting a local community centre, we walked down the road to the school. Two of the three classrooms were in session, and we visited both. There are about 120 students between the middle school and high school. The students come not only from Agua Azul but also at least five other nearby communities.

Despite the satellite dish shown on the roof of the school, there was no Internet access available. In fact, residents have to drive a good distance to a highway just to be able to send a text message.

The first step was for Pedro González to install a Raspberry Pi server configured with the RACHEL software distribution. The Pi connected to a WiFi access point. Instantly we were able to browse locally using the teacher’s laptop computer and the iPads we had brought with us.

This, then, was the answer to that first question – how do you bring the “Internet” to a place where there is no phone service?

In truth, we were bringing “Internet resources” to the community. The content of Wikipedia, a set of Khan Academy courses, books, medical and health guides, videos about how to play instruments, and so much more. RACHEL, short for Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning, is a project of World Possible to bring educational content out to communities such as Agua Azul.

On a technical level, a RACHEL server is essentially a cached copy of a variety of websites. With storage space now being so cheap, a significant amount of web content can be shared. Obviously, you don’t have the real-time updates, but for educational material, this can be fine.

The RACHEL website lists the range of available content. Pedro and Camilo went through and identified the resources that they thought would be most helpful to the community. All of it is available in Spanish. They loaded those modules on the Pi server and brought it to the village.

It was powerful to watch the students as they interacted with sites such as Wikipedia that many of us simply take for granted.

As an example, Kathy asked a few students to find information in Wikipedia about Virginia, where she lives and talked about where she was from. Next, she asked them to find and share with the rest of the class information about where they live in Mexico. Seeing their interest and enthusiasm made the trip worthwhile to me.

We didn’t stay too long. After all,  school was in session! But we did get a good glimpse into the power of bringing resources from the Internet out to communities such as this.

Beyond the resources, I saw that this is preparing people for full Internet access. As these students tapped on the links and searched the available content, they were learning the skills that we use every day in the online world.

There was good news on that topic, too. It seems that a previous project to bring Internet access a few years earlier by a different group had left behind an installed radio tower at the school. Our team members from Kaanbal and ISOC Mexico recorded the necessary information about the tower location and height.

Their goal now is to find someone who can connect Agua Azul to the Internet using this tower. When they do, the students in the school will be ready!

Walking back to the cars, Pedro explained more about their efforts in Mexico. Already they’ve had interest from other communities. They are also working to tailor the software to the specific interests of the communities. For instance, Pedro and Camilo can collect feedback from teachers about what resources they need for upcoming lessons – and then bring updated software when they next visit.

As we drove back to Cancun for the start of the OECD Ministerial Meeting, I could only think of the subtitle of the event: “Innovation, Growth and Social Prosperity”.

Efforts like this are how we can bring about that growth and social prosperity. Material and content developed through the collaboration of many people across the open Internet. Software (RACHEL) and hardware (Raspberry Pi) created and developed by communities on the Internet. And then groups on the ground bringing that global information into local communities. Innovation and growth fueled by the remarkable creativity of collaboration.

THIS is how we bring the “Internet of Opportunity” to everyone!

More information:

UPDATE: Camilo Olea provided a Spanish translation of this blog post.

UPDATE: Pedro González provided this video that gives another view into the visit:

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