[Alac-sc-outreach] Trip to Caucasus

Victor Ndonnang ndonnang at isoc-cameroon.org
Fri May 24 06:41:27 UTC 2013

Dear Roberto,

Thank you very much your excellent report which shares the rich experience of your visit. 
You rise an important issue in your report concerning the opportunity for organizations to join ALAC. I support your idea to see ICANN helping ALSes implement projects which really impact the life of end users. I know ICANN had been supporting some ALSes but there is a need to do more. 

Reading your report, I can see the similarity between Armenia and some African countries where nearly everybody had a mobile phone and where the future of the Internet is indeed mobile. The development of Mobile Internet and mobile applications is going to bring the Internet penetration in those countries from 5% to 90% or 100% by 2020. And the biggest chance will be the development of local content. 

Finally It is a great innovation to see police having their URL on their cars. This can inspire others developing countries. 
Thank you once again.
Best regards,

Victor Ndonnang
"The Internet is for Everyone!"
~Sent from my iPhone~

On 23 mai 2013, at 19:44, Roberto Gaetano <roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all.
> I took the chance of a non-ICANN-related trip to Caucasus to contact the internet people, and specifically the At-Large structures, in the region.
> I was not on any official ICANN mission, but believe that it is worth anyway to write a short report of my contacts and personal considerations.
> I am addressing this to different mailing lists with separate messages, to avoid cross-posting.
> In particular, please note the point made during the meeting about central Asia, and the lack of ALSes in some of the former URSS republics, which prevents development of the multi-stakeholder model in those countries.
> I had a very interesting meeting in Armenia, hosted by ISOC AM, with the Armenian ALSes.
> The main points that came out from the discussion were (to the best of my recollection):
> ·         The fact that the development of the internet in Armenia is consistently more advanced than in some neighboring countries (for instance, there are 3 ALSes) depends on a mix of elements, including the presence in Armenia of highly skilled ITC professionals as well as the vision that has identified since the early days the potential of the internet. This experience will be very difficult to replicate in other countries, at least in the short term.
> ·         Thanks to the early vision, Armenia has developed the “multi-stakeholder” concept also in the management of the internet at the national level. The ccTLD operator, the ISPs, the At-Large structures, commercial organizations, the government, are tightly collaborating, and there is also the initiative of a permanent IGF forum in Armenia. This has allowed to have very advanced positions in international fora, where all stakeholders are contributing, and we do not have the situation that can be seen in other countries, where the government is imposing its view.
> ·         Looking at the map of the world, and the location of the ALSes, it appears clearly that there is a wide area, namely the former Soviet Union states in central Asia, where there is no ALAC presence. This is felt to be tightly correlated with the fact that the position that these countries bring in the international debate are only depending on government opinions. In order to promote ICANN’s multi-stakeholder approach, ALAC should make an outreach effort to these countries with the objective of gaining members. The general opinion is that this will be a difficult objective to achieve, but nevertheless it is strategically important.
> ·         The current location of Armenia in APRALO is creating serious problems. It should be noted that the Armenian ccTLD operator is a member of CENTR (the European ccTLD operators organization), ISPs are getting their addresses from RIPE (the European Regional addressing organization), but the Armenian ALSes are forced to be associated to APRALO. Considering the point above, i.e. the Armenian multi-stakeholder model that brings together different interests to cooperate at the national level, we have the strange situation that national domain names and IP addresses depend from Europe, while At-Large structures depend from a different region. Moreover, there are at the At-Large level cooperation projects ongoing that are coordinated by the European Union, and the location of Armenia in the AP ICANN region does make little sense, if any. For instance, if EURALO develops itself as the partner of the European Union for such European projects, it would be extremely impractical to have participating ALSes being in a different region. Further considerations have been the location of Armenia in Europe in a number of different international organizations.
> ·         Armenia, being part of the former Soviet Union, has kept a network of contacts at the technical level with other operators that are part of the Community of Independent States (CIS). One example is also the Regional Commonwealth in the field of communications (RCC - http://www.en.rcc.org.ru/index.php). This network is also important in the discussions related to internet governance and for the decisions in the ITU.
> ·         One question was raised, about what can ALAC do for the users. This is a key issue, because it is hard to motivate individuals and organizations to join ALAC if the only thing that they get is the opportunity to participate in policy development. Budget should be earmarked for initiatives that are useful for the internet users, like training.
> To this, I would like to add some personal considerations on the development of ICT, and specifically Internet, in Armenia.
> I have travelled extensively, in cities and in rural areas, and have been staying only once overnight in a place without internet connection, and only once in a place that had internet connection but not WiFi. Please note that I have never stayed in fancy hotels, but rather in hostels or guesthouses, always in inexpensive places. This gave me the feeling of the ubiquity of the internet in Armenia.
> Besides internet, I witnessed the diffusion of mobile communications. It seems to me that everybody has a mobile phone. I have seen not only bus drivers talking on their mobiles (a plague that I see very often in my country), but also shepherds in the countryside with mobile phones. Considering that the next frontier of the internet is mobile devices, this is promising.
> Unfortunately, I failed to ask confirmation at the meeting with ALSes, but my impression is that Armenia took advantage of the progress in technology in the years of their independence, and moved straight to new technologies, when telcos in Europe and US (for sure this was the situation in Italy 20 years ago) were resisting change in order to protect and further exploit their investments in previous technologies.
> Another simple example of how the internet is affecting common behavior is the police. This is the only country where I have seen police cars displaying instead of the simple “Police” word in the local language the url of the police web site: www.police.am. It might be the case in other countries as well, but I have noticed it here for the first time.
> Best regards,
> Roberto
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