Sharing business perspectives on the road to the WSIS+20 review

29 May 2024 15:00h - 15:45h

Table of contents

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Full session report

Private sector’s role in advancing WSIS action lines: Challenges and opportunities ahead

During a panel discussion at a WSIS-focused event, Timea Suto moderated a session that explored the private sector’s contributions to the WSIS action lines over the past two decades and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Despite initial technical difficulties, the discussion served as a microcosm of the connectivity issues at the heart of the WSIS objectives.

Maria Fernanda Garza, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, opened the panel by emphasizing the need for multi-stakeholder cooperation to unlock the potential of ICT for inclusive growth. She highlighted the persistent digital divide, with 2.6 billion users still unconnected, and the importance of addressing the governance of the internet to prevent policy fragmentation.

Representatives from Telefónica, Microsoft, and Google shared their experiences and insights. Miguel Calderón from Telefónica presented the “Internet Para Todos” project, which has connected 18,000 rural areas in Latin America with 4G, benefiting 3.6 million people without government subsidies. He stressed the importance of government partnerships, innovative network financing, and simplified regulation to bridge the coverage gap and the usage gap in digital connectivity.

Melike Yetken Krilla from Google discussed the company’s mission to make information universally accessible, citing the Data Commons for the SDGs as a tool for tracking Sustainable Development Goals. She also highlighted Google’s efforts to provide accessible products and services, such as Android phones and Google Translate, and their work on skills building through the Grow with Google program.

Ashutosh Chadha from Microsoft spoke about the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in addressing global challenges, such as deforestation in the Amazon. He emphasized the importance of principles like availability, affordability, access, applicability, and adoption to drive the positive impact of technology. He also highlighted Microsoft’s AI for Good lab and the need for an AI economy that is accessible to all.

Audience members contributed to the discussion by emphasizing the role of SMEs in connectivity, the need for cross-industry partnerships, and the challenges of policy fragmentation. They also raised questions about the WSIS institutional framework and whether it needs to evolve to address the changing technological landscape.

In conclusion, the session underscored the private sector’s crucial role in advancing WSIS action lines and the progress made in connecting people and providing valuable services and applications. However, it also acknowledged the considerable challenges that remain, such as bridging the digital divide, ensuring meaningful connectivity, and creating policies that support innovation while addressing the needs of all stakeholders. The discussion highlighted the value of partnerships in achieving these goals and the importance of not duplicating efforts across different forums and initiatives. The need for the WSIS framework to adapt to the changing technological environment was recognized to continue driving progress and inclusivity in the information society.

Session transcript

Moderator – Timea Suto:
will try and connect as many of us as we can from our own devices so we don’t lose the remote connection. I’m very sorry about the technical difficulty getting us started here but perhaps it’s a good incentive to have us all discuss business perspectives on the road to the WSIS Plus 20 review and how all of us here around this table can collaborate as we look ahead to celebrating 20 years of the World Central Information Society to take stock of what has happened, what we’ve achieved and what still needs to be done and how the private sector can be a meaningful partner on this road. So I’m not going to talk a lot here in my role as moderator for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tima Yoshito, I’m the Global Digital Policy Leader at the International Chamber of Commerce and I’m joined here today by a distinguished panel of speakers to have this conversation on really how the private sector has a role in driving forward the WSIS action lines, trying to base our conversation also on experience and best practices that companies around this table will be sharing with us. To kick us off, so I don’t speak too much, I have our Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, Manuela Garza, and following her introductory comments, we will be turning to our distinguished speakers, both online and here at the table with me. So we have joining us online Manuela Sonica, their Director of Regulatory Strategy for Latin America, Miguel Calderon, and here at the podium with me, I have Ashutosh Chandra, Senior Director of UN Affairs and International Organizations at Microsoft, and Melika Yelkin-Kirla, Head of International Organizations at Google. So without further ado, Maria Fernanda, if you can kick us off and set the scene for our discussion.

Maria Fernanda Garza:
Thank you very much, Tima, Miguel, buenos dias.

Miguel Calderón:
Hola, Maria Fernanda, good to see you. Well, I cannot see you, but good to hear you.

Maria Fernanda Garza:
Oh, I was hoping you could see as well. No. And I just broke everything. Now he cannot even listen to us. Okay, I’m turning my computer back on. Okay, okay. Well, as you… Can you hear me, Paul? I did. Okay. As you very well know, ICC was the business focal point for the WSIS process that started… We cannot hear you now, or I don’t know if it’s me. …of the WSIS Action Lines and chart the path forward together with partners from all stakeholders. So it is my pleasure to open this very timely panel. Together with a distinguished group of industry experts, we will reflect on the private sector’s role in driving forward the WSIS Action Lines. Over two decades ago, WSIS was launched with a visionary approach using ICT to… …strike since 2003. Crucial challenges persist. Despite the progress made, 2.6 billion users still remain unconnected. And those, like us today, who have the possibility to connect, often do not for a variety of reasons, from affordability, lack of relevant services, lack of skills, cultural and normative impediments, or technical impediments like this. Challenges on the governance of the internet. are leading to fragmented policy responses, also influenced by the evolution of digital technologies that are based on or go beyond the internet. And this is why now, as on the doorstep of the 20 year review of WSIS, we must look back to be able to move forward. It is important to take stock of our achievements and lessons learned and strengthen our collaboration to find shared solutions to the remaining and emerging challenges. At the inception, WSIS set out two main considerations that hold true ever since. First, that the information and communication technologies, the internet and digital technologies hold an enormous potential for inclusive social and economic growth. And second, that this potential can only be truly unlocked through multi-stakeholder cooperation between governments, business, civil society and the technical and academic community. WSIS underscores our shared responsibility in shaping an inclusive information society through joint efforts across all stakeholders groups to find meaningful solutions to common challenges. We must uphold these principles as our guiding post as we approach the WSIS 20 process. The business community has been and continues to be committed to this agenda. We actively collaborate with governments and stakeholder communities around the globe to inform and partner for better policy outcomes to reach our shared goals. I’m looking forward to hearing some concrete examples from all our panelists and to discussing together with you all how to set the policy. environment necessary to enable and scale up such efforts. So thank you very much for joining us today. And let’s make of this a very productive session. Thank you.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thanks so much, Maria Fernanda. We are still working on the technology in the room. But those of you online, you’re connected to my personal device. If you don’t hear us well, please just drop a message in the chat and we’ll try and speak up for the time being. Then we can get connected to the big mic here in the room. But it’s a good incentive to start our conversation because what I want to ask our speakers here, and I will start with Miguel online, to share with us a little bit his reflections on what has happened in the past 20 years. What is it that we’ve achieved? What is it that business has achieved around the business action lines? And what are the things that you think we still need to focus on as we look ahead? We will have two rounds of conversations in this meeting. First, we will look into what are the achievements? What have we done? And then we will try and look at what are the challenges and what is it that we still need to do? So for the beginning, the first question to you, Miguel, and then for the same question to the rest of the speakers as well, if you can a little bit about the achievements in the past 20 years, the best practices and the lessons that we’ve learned. And I know you have a presentation to share, so those of you who can connect to a device, try and do that so that Miguel can share his presentation. But those of you online will have the privileged position to see that. So, Miguel, over to you.

Miguel Calderón:
Thank you. Thank you, Timina. Thank you, Maria Fernanda. And I’m sorry I’m not being able to be with you down there. Let me see if we can share this. I don’t know if you can see it properly. Yes. Excellent. Yes, yes, we can. Well, thank you very much. Basically, yes, I’m going to talk about connectivity and basically on connectivity, we have a project that we like very much and I believe it could be a milestone or could be an example of what can be done in Latin America. In Latin America, we still have an internet gap, very strong, depending on how you measure it. The figures can shift and we’re going to talk about coverage gap and usage gap in the following slide. But basically, you can say that what is called significant connectivity and that is, you know, having people to really access the internet in a broadband fashion, we believe that there are about 20% of Latin Americans that still are not doing that. And basically, that’s if Latin America has 660 million inhabitants, then we’re talking about 100, 120 million people that are still not benefiting from the internet. One of the reasons is coverage. And basically, what we have come out is this model that we have introduced in Peru, and that we’re looking forward to introducing some other countries that is called Internet Para Todos. And it’s a sharing network, it’s an operator that share its network and it has the participation of different interesting actors, stakeholders, obviously, Telefónica, but Meta is part of the effort, the IDB and the CAF banks are also investing in this project. And basically, this is a wholesale private operator that do not need any subsidies from the government, that operates profitable and sustainable in its own way, that uses a lot of the new technology that is being deployed. It uses, for example, Open RAN, and it uses LEO satellites for the backhaul, and it can provide… internet access in 4G to all the different players using a network sharing technology that is called RAN and it’s basically that all the operators can go into the radio bases, into the RANs of Internet para todos and use their own spectrum but use the same electronic and therefore it’s cheaper and it’s easier for the different operators in Peru to have rural connectivity at a much lower price and basically now we are just celebrating the fifth anniversary of this project and we have been able to install 18,000 rural areas, 18,000 small towns connected with 4G and this has benefited 3.6 million people and this is not only a service that Telefónica uses, our competitors are also using this scheme Entel and Claro and basically this is the way to go because as I said this does not need any subsidies, it’s completely sustainable and it’s already happening five years in the market. With schemes like this we believe that we can cover the coverage gap but still have the usage gap as Maria Fernanda was saying, there are two gaps and basically in Latin America the usage gap is higher than the coverage gap and for that we have prepared different papers of what needs to be done both from the coverage gap which is and if you want in my next presentation I will go into what are the different things that we can do but also the usage gap in which we are currently working and for you we have different papers on how to fulfill this and We’re going to share this presentation with you. But in this QR, you can see the document that we have produced. And I will let the other speakers. I hope I didn’t exceed my time.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much, Miguel. I think we’re correct to the audio. Okay, so we’re back into this microphone. Then maybe we can turn off this audio until we can figure this out. Just so people online can hear us as well, because we do have really good speakers on this panel who are really waiting to share their experiences with us from the room as well. We’ve heard Miguel talk about the challenges and also the opportunities that lie with having innovative approaches to connectivity and connecting rural, remote, and hard-to-reach areas through partnership and innovative thinking. how we provide both connectivity in terms of access, but also how we can work together to incentivize people to connect, give them the right services, the right content that is interesting and relevant to them to drive that connectivity. So in that respect, I want to ask Melike on how we connect this idea of meaningful connectivity to conversations around data, conversations around being online and services online. So what have been achieved in the past 20 years? What are some of the challenges that you think still persist?

Melike Yetken Krilla:
Excellent, I can name a challenge right now for what’s between the screen and here, but I’ll just answer that for now. As many of you know, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. And I say that we’ve crafted that quite deliberately, the universality of the access of our products and how they’re available globally to everybody throughout the world. We take that mission very seriously and it correlates closely to our support for WSIS and for the action lines. Specifically, we think about the connection to the work of the sustainable development goals and how our products can actually help deliver and implement the important work of tackling implementation and global implementation. And I’m going to give you one key example on data and it’s called Data Commons for the SDGs. We partnered with UNDESA, the stats division of the UN and last UNGA launched this mail. Feel free to use whatever browser you would like to look at Data Commons for the SDGs. And what we did is we have partnered with all of these statisticians globally, including the UN to launch measurable implementable data to look at the SDGs country by country, region by region, every indicator that is possible. Before you’d have to go to. to download this PDF and get a data set here and then compare it to the World Bank data and then open the OECD reports and look at what each country did. And the idea is trying to measure through data consumption and through reporting, how we can actually measure implementation of the SDGs so we know a baseline of where we are to understand where we need to go. So I’ll pause there. I have additional examples as we go forward, but thank you very much to the ICC for hosting this. We’re very happy to be here.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much, Melike. It’s great to have you too. And also while we see very fundamental challenges here in the room of connecting people, outside here is a whole event happening on emerging and new technologies. So it’s definitely visible here how these things stack up one on top of the other. So that makes me turn to Ashutosh and ask you a little bit about artificial intelligence, what has been achieved through AI for the WSIS Action Lines, how can we still build on that? And what are your perspective with the past 20 years that we can learn from as we look ahead for the next 20 or 200?

Ashutosh Chadha:
Thanks. Well, yeah, thanks for this. And it’s great that Meghal talked about connectivity. Meghal, you talked about data because I think AI sort of rests and leverages these two foundational layers very, very effectively and importantly, right? And it’s important to have this conversation and look back, as you said, Maria, 20 years behind what’s happened and look forward. I think when we step back, I think there are some fundamental principles that we need to look at as far as how technology can enable lives, right? And we sort of look at it under a 5A perspective, which is availability of technology, it’s affordability, it’s access, how does it enable access to people which covers things like governance, policy and frameworks, it’s applicability. It’s not enough to just give technology or access. technology to people, if it’s not technology which is applicable to me in my daily life, right, or an organization in its daily life. And then obviously, as Miguel initially said, to drive adoption, and adoption can only happen on two counts, if you build skills, and if you build trust in that technology. And I think if we look back in the last 20 years, and we look back at the 11 action lines that we have, they actually very comfortably enable all of these five areas, right. When we specifically look at AI, we have, and I’d like to specifically talk about also one particular example, which is our AI for Good lab, which works on large problems across areas like education, sustainability, climate change, as well as biodiversity and managing biodiversity, and look at examples of how you can use AI to address some of these key problems. And the good thing is that now by the capabilities of technology and AI, you can actually address a lot of these issues. So just for an example, what we’re doing in, for example, Amazon, through satellite imagery, data, which is gathered through satellite imagery, through sensors, which are kept in the Amazon basin and forest, we’re able to look at how and where is deforestation happening, what is happening to the flora, fauna, and the animal kingdom over there. And because all that data can be easily crunched, and easily analyzed using AI, you’re actually coming up with solutions, which people on the ground can actually start implementing to prevent all of these things, which we know if we lose that basin, we will lose a very big part of the planet’s greenhouse. So I think these are solid examples. And when we go look at the going forward, right, I think we need to understand that there is this now new AI economy which is coming. And the important thing is to make sure that this AI economy becomes accessible to all. It’s not just the rich nation, it’s not just the big companies, it’s for everyone, right. And that requires, in our opinion, possibly three key constructs, meaningful connectivity, it requires a lot of compute power which is shared, and easily shared, and build sustainability, and it requires building the relevant skills, not just the technical skills, but the skills on how to use technology.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much, Ashutosh, and thanks to our kickoff speakers here. We’ve gone really full circle, right, we started from connectivity, we’ve gone through data applications for SDGs, we’ve gone through the latest conversations on artificial intelligence and how they can help move forward the WSIS Action Lines and the SDGs. And Ashutosh also told us how this all depends, how it all stacks on one another. And the speakers haven’t really highlighted this specifically, but we also know how much the private sector builds these technologies, the private sector designs these technologies, develops them, deploys them, but not alone, of course, in partnership with governments, in partnership with technical organizations, civil society. So that is all of you in the room. We’ve heard from private sector, but we see a number of other stakeholders in the room. So we have a little bit of time for this session. We want to hear from you, and then we’ll bring it back to the speakers at the end to discuss a little bit about the challenges. But to do that, I want to do this a bit together. So those of you in the room, if you have any perspectives to share on what has been achieved on the elements of connectivity, data, AI, and the WSIS Action. lines in the past 20 years, and then what may be the challenges from your perspective. So, yes, so you’re in the back, if you can speak up, I don’t know if my microphone can reach all the way to you, but try and try and speak out.

Audience:
Okay, I’ll try and speak up, hello to everyone, my name is Pia, I’m from Canberra, India, which is the Brazilian Association of Internet Service Providers, we are a trade association of small and medium enterprises, and I would actually like to hear more about how these small and medium companies can be part of the conversation as well. In Brazil, there is small and medium ISPs, they have connected, in the past 10 years they have connected over 23 million households in Brazil, so we’ve moved from 2.6 million to 26 million internet access points from only the small companies, which are up to, most of them are up to 5,000 clients. So we’re talking about huge universities, so we’re 20,000 companies, 20,000 internet service providers, most of them are really small, and work in small areas, only one or two cities, and right now we have over 50% of the least broadband market share in Brazil, so we have played a big part in connecting Brazil, especially rural and smaller cities. When you look only to cities that have less than 3,000 inhabitants, which would be small cities for Brazil, we have over 95% of the market share, so we’re really working for these rural areas. So how can we bring the perspective from the small and medium companies into the debate?

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much. So how do we stack the small and medium last mile connections into the large grid? How do we stack the inputs and the policy positions of the same into the large grid of conversations we’re having in events like this? So I’ll keep that in mind. Cheryl, you had a question over here as well.

Audience 2:
Hi, I just had a comment. So I’m Cheryl Miller, the Community Vice President for Digital Policy at the U.S. Council for International Business. Actually, we have some members of this, so I really appreciate the panel’s comments. I just wanted to offer a few thoughts on connectivity because in my former role at Verizon, we were really focused on connectivity. And we actually launched a project called One World Connected in conjunction with different number of companies. And the purpose of this was to really research sort of what’s working with connectivity and what’s not. And it’s very interesting, because touching on some of the comments up here, there are other issues that come up first. For example, if you don’t have electricity, that’s a basic starting point. And so we found through partnerships and collaboration, different companies like American Tower, for example, they were able to not only look at connectivity, but to look at other issues. So vaccinations, keeping vaccinations refrigerated is an issue for several areas of the world. So what they did was they put refrigerators around the bases of their cell towers where people could come, they could bring their devices ready to connect. And you’re also helping to solve the vaccine problem as well. And so I think for the most part, if there are places where people can have these discussions and places where there can be almost a place to educate, because we don’t know what’s possible and every country has different resources. So in the US we have FTC, FCC, all these other organizations that push out information on possibilities or lack of possibilities. Everywhere is different. And so I think finding different forum where you can have equally important and relevant conversations. And the fact that business and civil society and others come and can participate and share sort of best practices and experiences is really has been. really important. And I think that that has definitely helped to improve numbers across the board. So I just wanted to share that.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thanks, Cheryl. So it’s not just the technology collaboration, stacking up from connectivity to data to AI, but also collaboration with other industries and other needs. So electricity, healthcare, I never actually thought about the idea of what I think about how technology helps the healthcare industry, I’m thinking about applications that you use or connectivity that you use, but I never thought about being able to plug the fridge into a South towers of electricity grid. So that’s, that’s, that’s an amazing tidbit there to note. Jimmy also had a comment and then

Audience 3:
yeah, three comments with Jim Prendergast with the Galway strategy group. Ironically, going on at the same time is a session called electricity for ICT. So go be sure to watch that record.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
It’s funny how things stack up. I think that’s going to be the bottom of our session. Anna and then Jorge.

Audience 4:
I’m at ComConnect Center for International Private Enterprise. So just to follow on the comment on including smaller enterprises into the conversation and action kind of notices. Somebody mentioned one of the key challenges here being policy fragmentation. To do that, I would add just, you know, lack of necessarily capacity and knowledge on the issues both among governments themselves, but also private sector tech, even though companies in all industries are increasingly dependent on affected by internet AI new technologies. Some, I’m looking here at Maria Fernanda and thinking about the role of chambers and associations in being that important conduit for understanding the needs, the concerns of the local businesses and communities themselves building the capacity to have meaningful policy conversations with governments and in many countries, in many cases, the fact that that initiative may have to, or the private sector will need to be, as a whole will need to be fairly proactive. Otherwise governments will just copy and paste solutions from elsewhere, which may or may not be ideal or desirable in a particular context.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you. Thank you, Anna. So capacity building for policy conversations. We’ve got Jorge, and then one more, and then I will have to turn back to Dr. Pallon because we will be running out of time, but Jorge, go ahead.

Audience 5:
Yeah, thank you. My name is Jorge Pallon, and I’m a public commenter for this government. And so being a government person, I’m trying to make sense of the GDC and also the WSIS Plus Point of Review. I would like to invite you to be as straightforward as possible in what we do with WSIS and in this point of review and also with the GDC if that’s possible to you. And one question would be, what do you think must grow from the current architecture? Is there anything that is really an obstacle to business being able to provide or to help contributing to the action lines, to the objectives we set in 2005 and we updated in 2015? What do you think is completely essential in this WSIS architecture? What should stay? And what is there that is a gap? Where should we build something new if anything? So before we heard about the efforts to build more computing and computing power, this is something that we didn’t think about five years ago or 10 years ago. Now it’s really a necessity, especially for many developing countries, people, initiatives with, so to say, from the private sector. And we are, for instance, from the Swiss government. thinking about how could we pool resources and how can we link this up with the WSIS architecture. But I would be very interested in knowing your reactions to what must go, what must stay and what can we innovate in the architecture.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you, Jorge. And one last very quick comment over here and then we’ll go back to the panel.

Audience 6:
I’ll keep it short, thank you very much. I’m Anna from the GS Mesa and the Digital Kuvion team there. And we did a lot of work about activity and I would just want to mention the importance of the human aspects of Digital Kuvion and the digital future. We didn’t have this innovation from the world connectivity where it’s also the importance of the small businesses. So it was small businesses who partnered with large telecom operators to provide advertising service in areas that were most feasible to external conversion. But then when the infrastructure was there, we only saw uptake of voice and mobile money, but only 2% of the individuals started using the mobile internet. So it shows that just putting the infrastructure there, it’s we need to rethink about the digital skills but also getting the devices and the hats for people that are able to access the internet.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Great, thank you so much, Miro. So we’ve heard quite a bit from the audience and I’m going to turn back to the panel and ask you to speak in the reverse order than you spoke before and to highlight at this time the challenges that you see and perhaps if you have an idea of the solution to the challenge that you highlight also that, but what is it still remaining, what we need to do now that we look ahead to the next years of WSIS. So we’ve heard from the room, connecting SMEs into the policy conversations. We’ve heard fostering partnerships or unlikely partnerships across various industries. We’ve heard conversations around policy fragmentation. and building capacity. We’ve heard driving both the supply and demand side of connectivity, content online together with access. And then we’ve heard a provoking question there from Jorge who is really driving us to provide concrete ideas on how are we changing the, or do we want to change the institutional framework here at the UN that deals with these issues? Do we have the tools in the WSIS in the past 20 years to deal with these challenges? Do we need new ones? Do we need different ones? So with those, I’m turning first to Ashdosh and then Melike and then Miguel online, if you can, if you have heard us, everything. Miguel, if you didn’t hear us, we’ll try and repeat some of it.

Miguel Calderón:
More or less, thank you.

Ashutosh Chadha:
I guess it’s a one minute?

Moderator – Timea Suto:
You can get, yeah, I think you can have two or three. We’re running a bit behind time.

Ashutosh Chadha:
Okay, so no, I think, let me step back and great questions, especially the question that you pushed on, what should we be doing differently, possibly over the next 20 years, drop or continue? And I think as Sheryl also talked about, electricity is a foundation. So if you really look at the new AI economy that we’re all in today and right, it’s an extremely dynamic economy, which runs from the need for electricity, connectivity, chips at the base, humongous compute power and the accessibility of that compute power to various countries, organizations, et cetera, data for training models. And then of course, up to the models and applications that get used, right? So that’s the entire stack that we talk about, the new AI economy tech stack that people look at. And it’s important that we not only have everybody participate here, but as private companies and as organizations, we create the frameworks that you have, you build this inclusivity, right? So you, so for example, day before yesterday, we were talking about the departments to. Connect, we talked about a pledge that we were additionally making, which is around the fact that when we are building AI solutions, are we making sure that we’re taking all perspectives and are we looking at all data? And one of the areas that we feel that there’s a strong data desert is, for example, in people, you know, data about people with disabilities and the solution that can be built around people with disabilities. Similarly, how can we look at small and medium businesses, right? And AI, for example, is a great tool to actually address information dissymmetry for small and medium businesses who want to export. I mean, I was given a problem statement by IEC the other day saying, how can we ensure that a coffee bean farmer, a small coffee bean farmer in Kenya can actually export coffee beans to Germany without going through middlemen? Now that’s a great problem to solve, right? So when we look at this, I think there is the need to build a framework which drives innovation and enables competition, enables everybody to participate. And actually, we as Microsoft, we did something a few months ago, we talked about our access principles. And we talked about access principles of our three fundamental areas. And I’m not saying that that’s the whole answer to the problem. But we talked about it access to infra development to tools and models, so that people can train and deploy at their leisure wherever they want to with complete access. So there is no lockdown. The second is fairness, we need to make available public APIs and fairness for organizations to be able to free to move from one service to another service. So it’s not that necessary that you have to work on our cloud services, you can move to another cloud service or whichever way it works for you. So that that’s a fairness part. And then you need to do it responsibly, right? And responsibility is about addressing human rights, making humans at the center, as well as looking at issues related to sustainability. We’re talking about huge compute power. But are we even calculating the cost of those data centers? So we need to make sure that you’re building those data centers responsibly and driving things ethically. And in terms of where should these action lines go to, my one statement to that would be, I don’t know whether it’s to drop something or add something, but I would say moving from actionable insights to actually driving programs which can build action on the ground is something that we need to look at. And that’s where WSIS should actually start focusing on. So because there are a lot of conversations which are anyway happening globally on what should be the ethics, what should be the governance frameworks, et cetera, WSIS should possibly start looking at, in that architectural framework, is there something that we can do to help countries, organizations, and civil societies to actually help implement?

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you, Asher. Nalika, same question to you.

Melike Yetken Krilla:
I associate with everything you just said. I would just also add that we need to ensure continuing the multi-stakeholder model with WSIS, of course, that’s a given, but beyond that, ensuring that the implementation that is being clocked and tracked is fair and measurable and implementable across the action lines in a way that does not duplicate existing efforts. And that’s the thing here. As we talk about international implementation of the action lines, the SCGs, we’re building international AI governance frameworks that have to have transparency and accountability and redress and all of these types of things. We need to make sure that the same conversation is not happening in 15 places that are gonna look like krypton answers. And WSIS is a great forum to be able to unify those conversations, unify the action, and really focus on the goal of impact for all of us. In a time when the conversation and education of the technology continues to rapidly grow. And so that being a model for trust and inclusion, is an incredible important component here. Going back to your original question on challenges, not to be too boring here, but obviously with a third of the world not connected, that is a growing area. For Google, we’re not innately a telecommunications company. However, we participate in developing and creating subsea cables. For example, the most recent one runs from Portugal to the continent of Africa, and will land four separate places, transforming connectivity throughout Africa. Then, so you get people connected, that’s great, wonderful. Now what? They need accessibility. They need products to be able to get online. For us, that looks like our Android phones. We have 24,000 versions of them at any price point available globally to be able to target and help people get online and access. Once they’re accessing, what are they accessing? They can’t speak the same languages. For us, having a product like Google Translate that’s available in over 200 languages to be able to connect people, communicate together, share cultures, get jobs, get online, it’s a major deal. And obviously all of this correlates to priorities and the action lines. And then lastly is skills building. How are we getting people skilled to learn about new technology, to get jobs? We have a program called Grow with Google, which we’re very proud of that offers online certifications to people of all ages. Your children can take this if anybody wants their kids to get into STEM or what have you. And you go online and you take courses virtually. You can have them in many, many different languages and you get a certificate at the end that shows you have an X, Y, or Z scale. Well, we didn’t stop there. We actually then partner with companies that are going to offer jobs and offer internships and offer expansion capability and opportunity so that people are not only getting skills, but they’re getting connected with new markets and new public opportunities. Speaking of the opportunities, lastly, on early warning systems and addressing global challenges. We are really excited to partner with the World Meteorological Organization on something called Flood Hub. So using much of our data that we collect through Google Maps and other areas of geospatial data and our subsea cables, we’re able to map and figure out flood forecasting. And so we’ve partnered with over 80 countries and UN agencies to be able to identify seven days in advance when a flood is going to happen. So we’re able to get people out of harm’s way, identify how to save crops and farming capabilities, etc. And it is affecting now 460 million people. We are working every day to find new partners to roll this out and then replicate it in terms of wildfires, in terms of earthquakes and other things. Again, just examples of this, of the AI and how it’s going to be able to leapfrog the aspirational goals and what the action lines and entities have said, but some tangible examples and partnerships where no one entity can do this alone.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much, Marike, for highlighting the value of partnerships that I think is one very good solution to take forward to the West as we go into the conversations. We are a little bit behind time, but we really started a lot behind time. So for those of you who can, I ask you to bear with us for a little bit longer. I know some of you have meetings to get to, so if you need to go, I’m happy to let you go, but I hope you can stay a bit longer. So if we hear our last speaker, who was also our first speaker, Miguel, the same question goes to you. What are the remaining challenges that we need to address and how do we leverage that for the conversation at the highest policy levels in the WSIS plus 20?

Miguel Calderón:
Thank you. Thank you, Camila. As I said, I believe we have two gaps that we have to cover, the coverage gap and the usage gap. For the coverage gap, we believe there are three main things that… that we may do, that we can do, and we must do. First of all, work out with the governments very closely. In this model that I presented you, Internet para todos, or Internet for all, the government had to create a model of concession. He had to create a new model of a mobile independent rural operator. It has to allow network sharing. In some countries in Latin America, network sharing either is not permitted or is very limited. And we believe network sharing is one of the ways to go. We need to reduce the spectrum prices. A spectrum is, spectrum prices and the spectrum cost per revenue has increased 60%. And our revenues, our revenues per user have decreased 40% in real terms. So virtually we are having a margin squeeze because of the cost of spectrum is, we need more spectrum to provide more services to provide more traffic. But at the same time, the spectrum costs are increasing instead of decreasing. And this is one of the main issues that we have to attack. Permits to install infrastructure are fragmented, are scattered in municipalities, and we need to have an homologation of those permits. We need to work on the second thing is in the innovation in the network financing. In different studies to be able to provide meaningful connectivity to at least 95% of the Latin American population, we need to invest between 30 and $40 billion. We have a traffic increase of 22% each year. And we still have parts that, as I mentioned that we need to cover with 4G and eventually with 5G. So basically we need to innovate in this network financing. And the third to breaching the coverage gap, we need a simplification and relaxation of regulation. We are over-regulated and basically sometimes it’s cheaper just not to to provide connectivity than to provide it because of the different regulations that we have. It doesn’t make sense, you don’t have a business case just for the regulation that you have to fulfill to go and cover a new talent. In closing the usage gap, also we need a partnership with government basically for digital literacy and skills. In Telefonica we have a huge amount of free courses that we can share with the governments and with the people and with the schools to provide the literacy and skills not only to the students but also to people that need to re-skill themselves to be able to be competitive in the digital market. That for us is a key issue. We have to work on the devices and access to those devices. By the way we just won a prize with WSIS for EcoSmart devices. It’s a tool that where you can go into and you can find the most friendly device for your needs and also for very affordable. We need to work out in the relevant content and accessible service for all in the language. Basically in Latin America we are speaking Spanish or Portuguese speaking people. We need to deliver content that is relevant to the people. The usage that we have right now is very limited to social networks, to games but we need to move forward so that the internet can really be a tool for the people to change their lives. And lastly but not least accountable and trustworthy governance in the whole digital ecosystem. Thank you so much.

Moderator – Timea Suto:
Thank you so much for those perspectives. I hope that you can take away some actionable recommendations from the panel in this conversation. If we look at just what happened here today, the private sector is here to connect us to the Internet and provides us devices and programs, applications, data to be able to share what’s happening in a small room like this with all of you in your homes and offices. And also, the private sector has perspectives on policies that helps them do what they do best and also helps, drives towards collaborations across all groups to be able to empower shared goals forward. So that’s what I’m taking away from the panel. I’m also taking away to highlight all of this in policy discussions at the highest level as we move into the Global Digital Compact and the GDC. And there was these frameworks next year. So multi-stakeholder approach to safeguard that, enabling policy environments, nimble and flexible approaches to regulation. I’m taking away that and providing seats at the table when we discuss policy issues. So that’s another element that I think we can learn from today. I’m very sorry that this was so ad hoc, but I think it provides us to have a bit more collegial conversations. I hope that next year we can report on more progress and we can report on better technology as well. So thank you all. And I hope you enjoy the rest of the program. Thanks for being here with us today. Thank you. Thank you so much.

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Ashutosh Chadha

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Melike Yetken Krilla

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Miguel Calderón

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