I spent today at the Forum Communications Meeting which is running
concurrent to ICANN.
At ICANN itself today were sessions on ccNSO, GAC, and a bunch of
workshops. The GAC session with the ICANN
Board last evening was so-so, but at least I did not doze off. The China
internet issue was explained by Vint - the gist of
which is that no, China has not created an independent internet with
TLDs. Other issues covered included India taking
over the hosting of the GAC Secretariat and reports by the ICANN and
The Forum meeting kicked off Don Hollander presenting a what happens in
a high-tech Samoa sometime in the future and it was interesting to hear
his vision for the future. The content he covered of course is not limited
to Samoa but would apply globally.
This was followed by the start of the meeting deliberations which
essentially meant adopting the agenda and discussing agenda
An overview of the Pacific Islands Digital Strategy (DS) was provided by
John Budden (Forum Secretariat) where he highlighted
the key aspects of the DS. The DS itself is far-ranging in content and I
hope (as I have stated many times before) that it is adopted
in its entirety and a serious attempt is made by the Pacific Islands to
adopt and implement it.
After this there was a brief overview from 2 papers being presented
covering Mobile Phone roaming agreements in the Pacific and
an overview of policy and regulation matters.
The CROP ICT Working Group presented reports on their activities and I
presented on behalf of the Pacific Islands Chapter, Internet
Society. My punchline was the call for a Pacific ICT Day to be observed
across the region to promote the use of ICT. This would be
an important step in creating awareness and could be regarded as an
implementation of a key part of the DS.
Internet Governance issues were discussed next and my impression was
that most of the delegates had very real interest in what was
being presented judging by the body language. Perhaps some of the
matters presented were a bit too over-the-top for some and it is
likely the audience was not entirely correct but at least the issues
have been put forward to them and in the future they can perhaps
refer to the papers presented as a reference document.
Country status reports were presented next and from my observation, the
theme here was de-regulation of the telecommunications
industry. I was surprised by the number of countries which have
introduced competition in their regulatory space and was most
pleased to hear of some of the initiatives by the smaller countries. I
do hope the bigger countries embark on this process in its
entirety very soon - if the smaller countries can do it, why not the
larger ones? I think what it requires is concerted effort to do whatever
it takes. Of course deregulation should be phased in and done in a
Next came the DS road map and what needs doing for the DS development
Fiji also presented a proposal to become a regional hub for
telecommunications, leveraging on their access to the Southern Cross Cable
system. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.