Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan

Mallory Knodel <> Wed, 17 February 2021 15:29 UTC

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Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 10:29:00 -0500
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To: David Johnson <>, Arjuna Sathiaseelan <>
Cc: gaia <>, Leandro Navarro <>
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From: Mallory Knodel <>
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Subject: Re: [gaia] Ideas for a 2021 plan
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Hi all,

Fascinating ideas, thanks for starting the thread Leandro and others who 
are sharing their informed views.

Out of Leandro's ideas, I find these the most compelling for the moment:

> - 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)
Serious focus on sustainability and internet is long overdue.
> - public vs private internet: traffic, content, neutrality
For me, I think they might be rather the same from an outputs 
perspective. In fact I think wrt policies mentioned by David below, 
public networks are often lacking. How do we share best practice around 
writing, creating, and enacting solid policies that respect human rights?
> - the maintenance of a public internet commons: software, protocols 
> interoperability, applications, infrastructure (e.g. NTP, IXP, etc)
Following my last point, this item makes me wonder how do we ensure that 
no matter the nature of the operator that the entire infrastructure, 
including policies, are developed and governed in the public interest?

Connecting it to David:

On 1/19/21 6:00 AM, David Johnson wrote:
> - 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 /
... Particularly this part:
> 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.  Â

>> 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 problemsÂ
>> 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 relevantÂ
>>     - 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 ratedÂ
>>     Regards
>>     David
>>>     On 19 Jan 2021, at 12:05, Leandro Navarro <
>>>     <>> wrote:
>>>     Dear all,Â
>>>     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
>>>     <>Â
>>>     <>
>>>     _______________________________________________
>>>     gaia mailing list
>>> <>
>>>     <>
>>     _______________________________________________
>>     gaia mailing list
>> <>
>>     <>
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Mallory Knodel
CTO, Center for Democracy and Technology
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