Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan

Matogoro Jabera <> Tue, 19 January 2021 11:59 UTC

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From: Matogoro Jabera <>
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2021 14:59:22 +0300
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To: David Johnson <>
Cc: Arjuna Sathiaseelan <>, gaia <>, Leandro Navarro <>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan
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We all have a common understanding that telecommunication systems were not
designed for the poor. Most of us, we are working to change that
philosophy. It always comes with alot of cost for pioneers.

It is good that the community networks cooperative is soon going to win the

We will debate on this topic next week and would like to welcome everyone
to attend this session.

Can we have a community network as a major topic at IETF and GAIA space? I
recommend this to be clearly capitalized as an alternative to bring online
the unconnected population.

Open Internet Engineering Fellow, 2019 - 2020
*Mozilla Foundation*


On Tue, Jan 19, 2021 at 2:00 PM David Johnson <>

> I hear you Arjuna - this is a tough space
> I think a robust debate is needed on the right mix of government / private
> company / community involvement in sustainably expanding access
> The ideal model for me is
> - Government create a very open environment with spectrum / licensing
> policy that encourages new small companies to enter the market and prevents
> e.g. incumbents charging high inter connect fees to block new players from
> market share, open access for towers, fibre, spectrum sharing for unused
> spectrum etc.
> - Gov or private-public partnerships create a wholesale access network
> that extends into areas with lower market viability with tax incentives
> etc. to encourage private companies to do roll out
> - Small retail ISPs or cooperatives /  community networks connect to this
> wholesale access network to private access services ... whether it should
> be cooperative (community network) / small private ISP will depend on the
> local situation in the country - I've seen how tough it is to get a
> community network to work in a low-income area in South Africa ...
> especially where members are worrying about having food for their family
> over the next week. In some cases it may make sense to start with the
> infrastructure installed and run by a small micro-ISP or NGO (with a high
> percentage of local employees) based on a pure commercial model or
> cross-funded by an NGO which may have education/health/youth development
> funding that needs connectivity - perhaps with a view of slowly
> transferring all ownership to the local community and starting with the
> services and content component following a cooperative / community network
> model with members deciding on the rules for what content and services are
> available in the community and what user policies to put in place.
> My views on the right model are constantly changing as I see what works
> and what doesn't
> Regards
> David
> On 19 Jan 2021, at 12:35, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <
>> wrote:
> I think there is a fundamental problem gaia/or anything related needs to
> strongly address..
> Based on some of our experiences trying to work with communities to solve
> their own connectivity/content problems
> 1/ there is relatively no money to be made for organisations (either no
> willingness to pay - they want free services or just cant afford to pay)..
> this is a fundamental problem..we have been working with several community
> networks now - for them to deploy infrastructure they need either ISOC to
> fund it or a similar organisation to fund it.. without external funding
> none of these organisations can sustainably deploy or maintain their
> infrastructure..there are outliers but that depends on the community's
> purchasing power..
> unless markets are opened up for new entrants - which is again correlated
> to money - sustainable connectivity is never going to happen.
> 2/ there are other problems to solve like power outages, infrastructure
> financing requirements, obsolete/sub standard mobile phones etc that are
> key to be solved (again in a sustainable way)..
> this all points out to government/regulatory angle that needs more work..
> privatisation and competion is key..
> all the community work is great but if there isnt an effort from the
> government i dont think anything is going to happen in this space. If there
> isnt money to be made nothing is going to happen is the bottom line.
> regards
> Arjuna
> On Tue, 19 Jan 2021, 10:20 David Johnson, <>
> wrote:
>> Hi all
>> Those are great topics Leandro. I have a few pet interests this year
>> which may be relevant
>> - I received some funding from the Ford Foundation on looking barriers to
>> contributions to open source "digital infrastructure" from Africa  - the
>> label given by Ford Foundation for all the protocols / applications etc.
>> that make up the Internet and the WWW. This could be a wider topic on how
>> to ensure that there is more representation from all countries rather than
>> just a few in the Global North to IETF, projects on GitHub related to
>> protocols / application son the Internet.
>> - I really feel like Covid-19 has forced many educators to rethink the
>> way learning happens - not just in lockdown but beyond and I think it may
>> be interesting to pick this specific topic for IETF ... its connected to
>> many of these topics (public vs private nets, network for everything and
>> people  etc.) but with a lens of thinking  of new ways of learning that
>> provides more equitable education in more vulnerable communities.
>> - Related to the above - I noticed a few countries attempting zero rating
>> - making education / health / government sites free on all networks  during
>> lockdown - but if often doesn't work very well because of https, embedded
>> links, sites making use of general platforms like Youtube for video
>> delivery etc. I think it would be an interesting topic to dig into - how to
>> make zero rating work well but also ensuring that communities have a say in
>> what is zero rated
>> Regards
>> David
>> On 19 Jan 2021, at 12:05, Leandro Navarro <> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I hope 2021 is way better than 2020+1. This is a message to share ideas
>> for a 2021 plan to discuss topics in different events (IETF meetings and
>> interim) and volunteers to present or organize themes.
>> What you’d like to see?
>> Some initial ideas:
>> - internet minimum common denominator: roadblocks, opportunities,
>> solutions for an internet for everyone (tech, legal, regulatory,
>> investment, etc)
>> - internet for people and the planet: the internet as part of the problem
>> and part of the solution? (how an internet for everyone can be sustainable)
>> - a network for every-thing and people: challenges and opportunities
>> (IoT, home networks, new satellite internets/ISPs, IPv6 finally?, corporate
>> nets, mobile public & community nets)
>> - public vs private internet: traffic, content, neutrality
>> - the maintenance of a public internet commons: software, protocols
>> interoperability, applications, infrastructure (e.g. NTP, IXP, etc)
>> - the pandemic and post-pandemic Internet
>> I can volunteer to organize a couple of sessions on some of these topics,
>> and I’d be happy to support new faces too.
>> Best wishes,
>> --
>> Leandro Navarro
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