First of all allow me to express my gratitude to Diplo and ITU for sponsoring my attendance in the 3rd IGF in Hyderabad City, India. I think everyone shares my feeling that coming to India after the siege on Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel was scary. But life must go on so we attended the IGF without thinking of any harm to come.
On the first day, while the workshops were well organized there was a problem with punctuality. Some workshops did not start on time and some overshot the allotted time thus resulting for some of us not to catch up with the other workshops.
On the second day, Workshop 2 “Challenges Facing Internet Operators in Developing Countries”, the panellists discoursed their points on the issue but somehow overlooked the substantial issue, which is EDUCATION or training of the end users. The lack of education or training of the end users would put the internet operators on the losing end since the use would be limited to those who are knowledgeable. Aside from the putting in their logistics into the business, the internet operators should endeavour to educate or train the end users for the business to be profitable. Government intervention is also necessary to regulate the internet operators from abuse as well as from imposing prohibitive rates thus further extending the digital gap instead of bridging or closing it.
On Workshop 58 “Network Neutrality – Examining the issues and implications for Development” that Diplo Foundation initiated the panellists, which included Ambassador David Cross, discoursed well their views, including our own director Jovan Kurbilaja and tutor Ginger Paque. But to me the simple and concise question that should have been asked was “Is there such a thing as Net Neutrality?” To the businessmen’s point of view business is business come what may. In fact, competition is the spirit of business that without it monopoly arises. On the other hand, should neutrality be also understood as liberality? Meaning, the competitors practice the “live and let live” principle. Or, as the saying goes “mind your own business”. But this should not happen because being in the ICT age now the playing fields for networks in relation to development should be levelled. Except for the minor technical problem, Vlada and Nikola deserve praises for the fantastic work in preparing Workshop 58.