The IEEE Internet Initiative is hosting a workshop and briefing session on 24 and 25 April to discuss accelerating strategies for connecting the estimated 60 percent of the world’s population that remains unconnected to the Net. The “Internet Inclusion: Advancing Solutions” event is being held at the Park Hyatt Washington Hotel, in Washington, D.C., and the briefing session on 25 April is being live-streamed on IEEE.tv.
The Internet Initiative’s mission includes increasing the organization’s involvement and contributions in global technology policies.
More than 150 experts from around the globe who are involved in technology, policymaking, and digital connectivity infrastructure investments will be attending and presenting, including IEEE Fellow Vint Cerf, father of the Internet.
FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMANITY
The workshop is intended to bolster sustainable projects on the local and regional levels and highlight opportunities for supporting interoperability and scalability. One goal of the event is creating more advocates for Internet inclusion, a cause aligned with the IEEE mission of advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
“The world’s citizens increasingly rely on the Internet for access to education, health care, employment, commerce, and information. The emerging Internet of Things has the potential to dramatically increase the positive social and economic impacts of global connectivity,” according to the IEEE Position Statement on Universal Access to the Internet. “IEEE calls upon the worldwide community of engineers, scientists, industry leaders, policy experts, and others to apply their knowledge and skills to address the challenge of universal access to the Internet, and the associated issues of security, safety, trust, privacy, governance, participation, fairness, and prosperity.”
The event will provide an environment through which global policy experts from many areas of technology and industry can make the leap from concept to concrete action for the good of everyone.
PROGRESS AND PLANS
Around the world, digital connectivity is considered an essential infrastructure development, similar to roads, water, and electricity. A series of successful IEEE Internet Initiative events in 2016 yielded a road map forward for Internet inclusion. From that work, several working groups were organized. The following five groups will be meeting during the workshop on 24 April and will provide overviews of their progress and plans during the briefing session from 9 to 11:45 a.m. EDT on 25 April.
- Community networks: Identify and address the key challenges in the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of Internet infrastructure in local areas
- Public access: Dedicated to the proposition that any realistic strategy to meaningfully connect and enable the unconnected billions must have a public-access component, such as libraries and similar facilities with Internet connection
- Digital gender divide: Identify approaches to build on and successfully scale programs that help close the current gender divide in Internet access and bring awareness to universal and affordable access, digital literacy, and the cross-cutting catalytic role of information and communications technologies and broadband
- Innovative business models: Surface and share last-mile connectivity solutions, identifying barriers to greater investment, and coalescing around specific activities that can lead to greater scale and impact of innovative models
- Evidence-based research: Bridge the technical and development communities to improve and measure progress in social outcomes driven by universal access (IEEE Member Christopher Yoo, professor of law, communication, and computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and director of 1 World Connected, is leading this working group and has coauthored an article on the topic in the IEEE Internet Initiative newsletter.)
Visit the IEEE Internet Initiative website for more information on these working groups and the Internet Inclusion event.
Karen McCabe is IEEE’s senior director of technology policy and international affairs, in Piscataway, N.J. She leads the organization’s partnerships with the United Nations and other international bodies, with a focus on engagement of the technical community and the intersection of policy and technology in information and communication technologies. She is a member of the Internet Society and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Internet technical advisory committee.