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Wednesday, December 20 • 15:00 - 16:30
Policy and technology approaches for expanding broadband to rural and remote areas (WS160)

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Proposer's Name: Ms. Lorrayne Porciuncula
Proposer's Organization: OECD
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Phillippa Biggs
Co-Proposer's Organization: Broadband Commission for Sustainable Developement
Ms.,Lorrayne,Porciuncula,Intergovernmental Organisation,OECD
Ms.,Phillippa,Biggs,Intergovernmental Organisation,Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development

Session Format: Panel - 90 Min

Country: France
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Country: Switzerland
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Speaker: Lorrayne Porciuncula
Speaker: Phillippa Biggs
Speaker: Sebastián Bellagamba
Speaker: Helani Galpaya
Speaker: Bengt Mölleryd
Speaker: Robert Pepper
Speaker: Amrita Choudhury 
Speaker: Michael Ginguld 

Content of the Session:
The Agenda for Sustainable Development specifically acknowledges the role of ICTs and the Internet as horizontal enabler for development or as cross-cutting ‘means of implementation’. However, with over half (an estimated 53%) of the world’s population was still not using the Internet by the end of 2016, with only 49% penetration of mobile broadband subscriptions and 12% with fixed broadband access. While there are a number of initiatives at the local, regional and global levels, much needs to be done to expand broadband services in rural and remote areas.
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together representatives from diverse stakeholder groups to explore the new policy and technology approaches to provide universal and meaningful access to these underserved areas. This topic matches the overarching theme of IGF “Shaping Your Digital Future” as it will address how innovative approaches from both the public and private sectors are shaping how we will connect the unconnected. It builds on the IGF’s Best Practice Forum on Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion by presenting new research on different policy approaches being implemented by the public sector and on technology trends being developed by the private sector.
On policy approaches the workshop will discuss issues such as setting national targets of connectivity, universal service policies, rural infrastructure projects, municipal and community networks, public tenders for competitive bidding and open access policies. On emerging technologies to fill the gaps in broadband services, different technological developments will be discussed, including fibre optics, coaxial cable, copper, fixed and mobile wireless, satellites and hybrid approaches. Through an interactive multistakeholder discussion, participants will consider the challenges and solutions for connecting rural and remote areas.

Relevance of the Session:
The Internet is crucial to the important transformations that are happening now and that will continue to take place in the future changing the ways in which humans interact with each other. However, over half the world’s citizens remain unable to benefit from this transformation and the sustainable development potentially enabled by it. The challenge of connecting rural and remote areas cannot be overlooked when addressing the challenges and transformation ahead. 

Tag 1: Broadband
Tag 2: Digital Inclusion
Tag 3: Emerging Issues

Speakers for this workshop were selected in terms of their expertise in the subject and on the different perspectives they will bring to this multi-faceted discussion. The moderator will make sure that they present their views in a way to contribute to the objective of the workshop:

  • Lorrayne Porciuncula (Moderator) is an economist at the OECD, specialised in telecommunications, author of the Broadband Policy Toolkit for Latin America and the Caribbean, currently carrying out the OECD research on expanding broadband access in rural and remote areas.
  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin is Chief of Strategic Planning at ITU and acts as the advisor to the ITU Secretary-General, as well as the manager of the ITU-UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
  • Sebastián Bellagamba is Regional Bureau Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Internet Society (ISOC).
  • Bengt Molleryd is Senior Analyst at the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) and has authored several reports on broadband policy and municipal networks.
  • Helani Galpaya (LIRNEasia) is the CEO of LIRNEasia, a regional think thank working on ICT issues in the Asia Pacific, and has done extensive research on broadband policy making in developing countries.
  • Amrita Choudhury is the Director of a not-for-profit association called CCAOI, which represents the ecosystem of Internet in India, and will bring country insights regarding the promotion of Internet ecosystems, community building and access.
  • Robert Pepper works for Facebook’s Global Connectivity and Technology Policy team and will reflect on the technology trends being developed by to connect underserved areas.
  • Michael Ginguld is the CEO of AirJaldi Networks, a private company dedicated to bring fast and reliable Internet to rural India through wireless technologies.

This workshop is designed to provide diverse perspectives. It is balanced in terms of stakeholder groups (with intergovernmental organisation, technical community, academia, civil society, government and private sector representation), gender (with a balance of 4 out 8 speakers being women), age (with below 30 representative) and, also geographic representation (European, African, North American, Latin America and Asian). 

Onsite Moderator: Lorrayne Porciuncula (OECD)
Online Moderator: Anna Polomska (ITU)
Rapporteur: Verena Weber (OECD)

Online Participation:
Remote participation will be facilitated by the remote moderator who will be involved throughout workshop planning to advise on where remote participation will need to be facilitated. The moderator will frequently communicate with the remote moderator throughout the session to ensure remote participants’ views/questions are reflected. The workshop will be promoted in advance to the wider community to give remote participants the opportunity to prepare questions and interventions and to generate interest in the workshop. We will also ensure the workshop is promoted on OECD’s and Broadband Commission’s websites and via social media, through the hashtag #IGFruralbroadband.

Discussion facilitation:
The moderator will set the stage by providing a context to the workshop, with the latest statistics on rural and remote connectivity in the world.
Through an interactive, multistakeholder dialogue, the workshop will then be structured in two parts guided by the following questions:

1) What are the main existing challenges to expand broadband services to rural and remote areas?
2) Which new policy and technology approaches are already assisting to expand broadband access and which new trends are on the horizon?

After the first and second round of questions, the moderator will open the floor for participation of the audience (remote and on-site). Specific questions which the moderator can pose to speakers will be prepared in advance to aid discussion and debate only if necessary as all participants will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion.The moderator will summarise the main takeaways of the session.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: Yes
Link to Report: https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/wks2015/index.php/proposal/view_public/154

Additional Reference Document Link: http://broadbandcommission.org/Documents/reports/bb-annualreport2016.pdf

Additional Speakers: 

1. Setting the scene (5 minutes) - The moderator will explain the purpose of the workshop, present statistics regarding connectivity in the world and share some of key questions related to policy and technology approaches to expanding broadband to rural and remote areas around the world.

2. Challenges (20 minutes) - The moderator will invite the main panellists to answer the question “What are the main existing challenges to expand broadband services to rural and remote areas?”. Each panellist will have a maximum of 6 minutes to provide their remarks, after which the floor will be opened for the audience or other panellists to add to or discuss the list of challenges identified.

  • Doreen Bogdan (ITU)
  • Helani Galpaya (LIRNEasia)

​3. New approaches (40 minutes) - The moderator will invite the main panellists to answer the question “Which new policy and technology approaches are already assisting to expand broadband access and which new trends are on the horizon?”. Each panellist will have a maximum of 6 minutes to provide their remarks, after which the floor will be opened for the audience or other panellists to add to or discuss the list of approaches identified.


  • Bengt Molleryd (Sweden)
  • Amrita Choudhury (CCAOI)
  • Sebastián Bellagamba (ISOC)


  • Michael Ginguld (AirJaldi)
  • Robert Pepper (Facebook)

4. Questions and answers (10 minutes): The moderator will open the floor for questions.

5. Summing up (5 minutes): The moderator will summarize the main takeaways of the session.


Session Organizers
avatar for Lorrayne Porciuncula

Lorrayne Porciuncula

Internet Economist / Policy Analyst, OECD
Lorrayne Porciuncula is an Economist/ Policy Analyst at the Digital Economy and Policy Division (CDEP) of the Directorate Science, Technology and Innovation in the OECD. Lorrayne works on the OECD-IDB Broadband Policy Toolkit for Latin America and the Caribbean that aims to situate... Read More →

Wednesday December 20, 2017 15:00 - 16:30 CET
Room XXII - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)