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Tuesday, December 19 • 09:00 - 10:30
The future of Internet governance: submarine cables and global interconnectivity (WS128)

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Proposer's Name: Ms. Florence Poznanski
Proposer's Organization: Internet Without Borders 
Co-Proposer's Name: Mr. Felix Blanc
Co-Proposer's Organization: Internet Without Borders
Mr.,Jonas, VALENTE, Civil Society, Intervozes (Brazil)
Mr., Diego VICENTIN, Technical Community, Univesidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil)

Session Format: Panel - 90 Min

Country: Brazil
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Country: France
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Speaker:  Peter Micek
Speaker: Roxana Radu
Speaker: Félix Blanc
Speaker: Veridiana Alimonti

Content of the Session:
Submarine cables and Internet exchange points play a crucial role in interconnecting national and international networks into a complex network of submarine highways. Estimates show that a 10% increase in broadband penetration brings around a 1.4% increase in terms of economic growth. But interconnection costs remain very high in developing countries, especially in Africa, due to various factors including national telecom monopolies, lack of backbone infrastructures or barriers to market access. In 2005, the Geneva Working Group on Internet Governance urged international agencies to report on interconnection costs and fund “initiatives that advance connectivity, IXPs, and local content for developing countries”. Since then, several organizations have met the challenge and recommended to promote the liberalization of access to international gateways.

Latin-America and Africa, and generally all the BRICS, are passing through a request of huge transformation of their infrastructure, which is materializing with the construction of new submarine cables, satellites, backbones and inter-exchange points, linking Brazil, for example, to Europa and Africa. But without a favorable context on transparency, jurisdiction and governance, the impacts of new internet infrastructures can be reduced.

This panel aims to build up an overview on these topics. What outcomes shall additional submarine cables have on Internet affordability in Latin America and BRICS countries, and how to maximize them? How could sea cables consortia provide greater transparency on their functioning
and tariff policy? How can these changes take place with a national legislation on telecommunication infrastructure that reduces public regulation, like in Brazil? Are international gateways eligible to become “collective goods, socially produced, and governed as common-pool
resources” ? How to reduce the high dependency of some countries to international broadband, especially in Africa and Latin America?

Our round-table might bring sea cables consortia and Internet broadband experts face-to-face with frontline activists, universities and a civil society coalition to think of a way to bring innovative solutions on transparency, affordability and governance.

This panel is the result of a project in progress since 2016 which was launched at the RightsCon in Brussels in March 2017. It will be the presentation of the state of the current research.

Relevance of the Session:
Our workshop on the governance of submarine cables will deal with the thematic of (global) inter-connectivity. We will emphasize on innovative participatory and economical mechanisms for sharing the costs and benefits of Internet infrastructures that are crucial for the
future of global inter-connectivity: submarine cables and IXPs. We will address key issues of Internet governance including that transparency,
affordability, neutrality and open access.In this order, we understand that the panel has a central place in the debate of the Future of Internet. 

Tag 1: Interconnection and Price Regulation
Tag 2: BRICS
Tag 3: Internet Governance

Confirmed interventions:

- Roxana Radu, Technical Communitiy, DiploFoundation, Switzerland: Balance and perspective of the outcome of submarine cables in the international legislation and governance of Internet

- Peter Micek, Civil Society, Global Policy & Legal Counsel, Access Now, New York: Internet Shutdown and censorship, the urgency of new Internet gateways

- Veridiana Alimonti, Civil Society, Lawyer and member of the director council of Intervozes (Master's degree in Economic Law from the University of São Paulo Law School.), Brazil: Digital Rights and regional infrastructures, the ecosystem of relationship between providers, users and citizens in Latin América

- Felix Blanc, Technical Community, Resercher, fellow at Fundação Getulio Vargas/Centro de Tecnologia e SociedadeCivil Society (Brazil), member of Internet Without Borders : The ELLA Submarine Cables and his innovative governance model

* Debate, questions and further research perspectives (30 minutes)Diversity:

The panel aims to represent a diversity between continents with a strong representation of speakers from Latin America and Africa. Moreover, many organizers are participating in the IGF for the first time. Internet without borders is led by women, activists for equal rights and greater representation in the institutions, a great place will be given so that gender equality be guaranteed in the final composition of the panel.

Onsite Moderator: Florence Poznanski
Online Moderator: Felix Blanc
Rapporteur: Diego Vicentin 

Discussion facilitation:
The panel aims to present the preliminary results of a research on the governance of submarine cables. In this sense, it is divided into two fundamental parts. The exhibition by the speakers and the exchanges with the participants.

We want to facilitate the exchanges in order to produce a constructive return on the exhibitions to improve the work and propose the new issues of research. We will ask our speakers to highlight specific questions, clear perspectives for them to serve as a point of reference for the public.

The questions selections will follow theese goals.

Online Participation:
The panel will last 1h30. The first 50 minutes will be reserved to the interventions of the panelists and then 40 minutes of questions and debate. Those wishing to intervene must register during the exhibitions, explaining whether their intervention is a question, a contribution or a critique. Depending on the number of participants in the room and the number of people accompanying the on-line panel, a key will be defined for allocating the number of on-line and onsite interventions between the two moderators. Interventions of the participants online will be expressed live via webcam if the Internet connection allows, by sending audio to the moderator or by reading text by the moderator. 

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: No

Link to Report: 

Additional Reference Document Link:


Session Organizers
avatar for Florence Poznanski

Florence Poznanski

Head of Brazil Desk, Internet Sem Fronteiras - Brasil
Head of Brazilian Desk, Internet Without Borders

Tuesday December 19, 2017 09:00 - 10:30 CET
Room XII - A United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)