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Development - other

2015

According to EurekaAlert! 'Even for free online education, socioeconomic disparities remain' the students who most need access to low-cost online courses may be the least likely to take advantage of them.

"A dialogue on zero-rating and network neutrality" was the title of one of the main sessions of the IGF2015, held in Joao Pessoa in Brazil in mid-November. A comprehensive report from the session is now available at the IGF website. The report summarises discussions led on four levels: the needs for more research on the effects of the zero-rating models, especially in developing countries; understanding different types of zero-rating and possible alternative approaches; exploring case-studies and current approaches to zero-rating in various countries; and identifying harms and benefits of zero-rating for economic growth, openness and online rights.

With its subtitle 'Evolution of Internet Governance: Empowering Sustainable Development', the IGF 2015 promised to be a discussion hub on digital development. Issues such as affordable access and the digital divide featured prominently in debates, with relevance scores of 92.5% and 100% respectively. Furthermore, several reports were presented, such as the Broadband Commission's Broadband Targets for 2015 and the IGF's draft report Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion - which is currently generating input. More on the discussion of development issues at the IGF can be found in the IGF summary report.

UNESCO has recently published the UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030. The report monitors the global evolution of science, technology and innovation (STI) since 2010. The report includes many references to the Internet and ICTs, mainly in relation to infrastructure, ICT innovation, digital development, and online education. Click here for the full report, key messages and the executive summary

Net neutrality and zero rating were this year's 'hot topics' at IGF 2015. With the issues being debated in a number of sessions, one of the main questions was whether the provision of zero rating services in developing countries serves to empower such countries, or whether the services represent a ‘walled garden’ approach which conflicts with policies of access and social development. Is limited access better than no access at all? Or is it the case of ‘If you want to give us access, don’t give us these tricks, give us real access', as one speaker aptly put it? Scroll down for IGF 2015 updates on the topic, and view more in-depth IGF 2015 updates.

‘The internet is a common good for humanity and ensuring its good governance will help bring its benefits to all people in the world,’ European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and Members of the European Parliament said in a joint declaration. The statement was signed by the EU delegation in Brazil during the 10th Internet Governance Forum. Access GIP Digital Watch resources from IGF 2015.

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