Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan

Arjuna Sathiaseelan <arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk> Wed, 17 February 2021 10:15 UTC

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From: Arjuna Sathiaseelan <arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 10:15:25 +0000
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To: Jane Coffin <coffin@isoc.org>
Cc: Matogoro Jabera <jaberamatogoro@gmail.com>, David Johnson <david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com>, gaia <gaia@irtf.org>, Leandro Navarro <leandro@ac.upc.edu>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan
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Dear Jane,
I think there are two specific things that could be done:

1. Would be good to define a common toolkit on how networks can be made
more sustainable and empowering these networks to explore, act and also
contribute to the common toolkit - I think APC was working on such a
toolkit?. Donors should mandate active participation. Emphasis on revenue
should be embedded from the very start of the conversation rather than a "I
can tap into further funding mindset". Donors/grant bodies could probably
give interest free loans rather than grants, so that there is a need to
earn revenue to repay (to tap into follow on interest free loans).

2. As a funder, define impact guidelines and mandate for any follow on
funding, proposed impact metrics are met. The biggest flaw in funding
regimes (including in academia) is we write great pathways to impact
statements but rarely achieve them! The funding bodies do not even check
whether an applicant has achieved what he has previously claimed before
making any funding decisions. I strongly believe donors/grant bodies need
to have clear impact metrics and organisations have to achieve these
metrics for funding (and follow on funding).

The underlying premise is more the organisations get free money without
accountability, lesser the actual impact will be in the longer run. There
is a strong need to enforce commitments and accountability from the very
start.

Regards
Arjuna

On Tue, 16 Feb 2021 at 21:43, Jane Coffin <coffin@isoc.org> wrote:

> Arjuna –
>
>
>
> The issue you raise below re “impact” is really important.  It can mean
> different things to different humans, based on your filter (donor,
> contributor, community member, etc.).
>
>
>
> We have a doc in process with Prof Heather Hudson on measuring impact.
>
> If the GAIA community finds it useful, we can let you know when we put
> this out for comment?
>
>
>
> Agree 100% on accountability.  Many networks are not prepared to handle
> the $, plan for the future, and to take a hard look at sustainability.
>
>
>
> What are your thoughts on how best to prepare networks to move from
> start-up phase to an intermediate phase?
>
>
>
> Jane
>
>
>
>
>
> *From: *Arjuna Sathiaseelan <arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk>
> *Date: *Friday, January 22, 2021 at 4:35 AM
> *To: *Jane Coffin <coffin@isoc.org>
> *Cc: *Matogoro Jabera <jaberamatogoro@gmail.com>om>, "
> david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com" <david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com>om>, "
> gaia@irtf.org" <gaia@irtf.org>rg>, Leandro Navarro <leandro@ac.upc.edu>
> *Subject: *Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan
>
>
>
> As part of a Gaia effort it will be good to document how many community
> networks are actually having a network and are successful (e.g Guifi) and
> how many networks are ideologically staying around without actually having
> any impact whatsoever? The concept of community networks should evolve
> through facts and not mere hype stories.
>
>
>
> This is important for donors to really understand where their money is
> being spent and how.
>
>
>
> I know a handful of community networks that are conceptually around but
> nothing has really happened. I dont want to publicly name them here. We
> need more accountability to avoid misuse of funds.
>
>
>
> Arjuna
>
>
>
> On Thu, 21 Jan 2021, 19:44 Jane Coffin, <coffin@isoc.org> wrote:
>
> Hi Matogoro –
>
>
>
> Happy 2021 to you.
>
> Leandro and I have brought in many CNs to the GAIA forum (in person in the
> past : ) and virtually, now).
>
> You are quite right about the old systems (gold plated/not as agile).
>
>
>
> We would be happy to have you speak about the great work you are doing in
> Tanzania and your findings with respect to deployments.
>
>
>
> Jane
>
>
>
> *From: *gaia <gaia-bounces@irtf.org> on behalf of Matogoro Jabera <
> jaberamatogoro@gmail.com>
> *Date: *Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 6:59 AM
> *To: *"david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com" <david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com>
> *Cc: *"gaia@irtf.org" <gaia@irtf.org>rg>, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <
> arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk>gt;, Leandro Navarro <leandro@ac.upc.edu>
> *Subject: *Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan
>
>
>
> 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 battlefield.
>
>
>
> We will debate on this topic next week and would like to welcome everyone
> to attend this session.
>
>
> https://www.internetsociety.org/events/summit-community-networks-africa/2020/event-4/
>
>
>
> 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.
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
> MATOGORO Jabhera
>
> Open Internet Engineering Fellow, 2019 - 2020
>
> *Mozilla Foundation*
>
> Website: www.tzcna.or.tz
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *Error! Filename not specified.*
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>
>
>
> On Tue, Jan 19, 2021 at 2:00 PM David Johnson <
> david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> 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 <
> arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk> 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, <david.lloyd.johnson@gmail.com>
> 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 <leandro@ac.upc.edu> 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
> http://people.ac.upc.edu/leandro  http://dsg.ac.upc.edu
>
>
>
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-- 

Arjuna Sathiaseelan | http://sathiaseelan.org