BasicInternet:UNDP-BasicInternet information exchange Jan2020


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UNDP-BasicInternet information exchange Jan2020
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BasicInternet:UNDP-BasicInternet information exchange Jan2020

Title UNDP - BasicInternet information exchange Jan2020
Place ITS@Kjeller
Date, Time 2020/01/07, 1000-1200
Contact Person Josef Noll
Participants Josef Noll, Gerald Demeules
related to Project BasicInternet
this page was created by Special:FormEdit/Meeting, and can be edited by Special:FormEdit/Meeting/BasicInternet:UNDP-BasicInternet information exchange Jan2020

Main outcome of the meeting

The goal of the meeting was an information exchange between UNDP and Basic Internet Foundation. Gerald pointed out similarities in the goals, and appreciated the efforts of the Foundation to connect the unconnected. Together we agreed on

  • Gerald will further elaborate on how the information on Internet Lite and Village/Health/Information Spots can be useful for UNDP, especially
    • who in UNDP might be interested, e.g. bureau of external relations and advocacy,
    • how further information exchange may take place, e.g. physical meeting in Copenhagen, Webinar
  • Josef provided background information on
    • The advocacy for an Internet Lite, answering the need for affordable access to information on the Internet.
    • Free access to digital public goods, combining the recommendations 1A and 1B from the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. UNICEF has taken the lead in
      1A "affordable access" through the and the GIGA project, and
      1B "Digital Public Goods (DPGs)" through The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfa) of Norway has engaged Josef to contribute to the combination of 1A and 1B, see presentation given at the Vision 2030 meeting in Dodoma in Nov2019: Media:201910_DigitalPublicGoods_Visjon2030_Noll.pdf

UNDP Focus areas

UNDP has 3 main focus areas:

  • Eliminating Poverty and
  • Inequality and Clean and
  • Affordable Energy.

Realisation is a.o. through the “Smart Facility” concept for energy and mobility, ICT and connectivity, security and Internet/IoT has been developed to address these areas. With respect to internet connectivity, two pilot villages in Guyana have been connected to internet with a complete solution including sustainable power. Sensors to support the idea of internet of things are increasingly being used.

Regarding connectivity, recurring costs account for the major part of OPEX expenditures. UNDP has 3-4 contracts with global vendors and local parties for ground segments. Mostly, different technologies like geo station satellite are used. Cost: about 1000 USD/Mbps. Though LEO satellites are cheaper, with costs about half of GEO costs, the ground segment is more expensive. In summary, satellite is expensive with a great distance to the satellite and low bandwidth. It also needs a lot of customers to be profitable. Thus, satellite backhaul is limited to Peacekeeping, emergency usage and similar operations.

Basic Internet Focus

The Basic Internet Foundation was founded by University of Oslo and Kjeller Innovation, to focus solely on "connecting the unconnected". Given the OPEX costs of access, main focus is on a business model for access and an architecture for free provision of information to all.

  • "Internet lite" is the walking and cycling on the Internet, based on a set of light-weight protocols (e.g. accelerated mobile pages) and proxys for the Internet
  • Village information spot, providing free access to information for everyone. Thus, contribute digital inclusion, societal empowerment, and to regain trust in ICT.
Selela at the border of the Serengeti National Park - with 3G/UMTS network measures

The Basic Internet infrastructure, see BasicInternet:Solutions is based a directive antenna to reach out to mobile towers being more than 20 km away, accompanied with a local network control center and a village information spot. Examples of connectivity are the village of Selela, reaching the mobile tower being more than 20 km away.

A village/school/health information spot with free access to “Internet lite” provides free access to information on health, education, agriculture, woman entrepreneurship. Local information in form of pictures and animations (for health information) reaching literate and illiterate locals. A test phase of the village spot has revealed amazing results with a generated medical knowledge increase from less than 20% to 70%.

So far the foundation has connected 10 villages in Tanzania, see DigI:Villages, and is now reaching out to Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mali. The results on knowledge increase have a significant impact for individuals and therefore communities, the country and eventually a global impact. Here we ask for help from UNDP for:

a) Getting the knowledge on Information Spots for education, health, agriculture and innovation out to the world
b) Promoting the free access to digital public goods (DPGs) through a lightweight Internet (Internet Lite).

Common assessment

Infrastructure is key for affordable access, and require regulatory framework and policies on national level to ensure that even remote areas receive infrastructure. Prime example is Canada: entitlement of every house even at far distance to have telephone line at regulated cost.

Though Africa has many examples of leapfrog development, e.g. mobile phone and digital payment, the regulatory framework needs to be in place to reduce inequality and defeat poverty. Mobile phones in Africa have affected communication, and changed payment systems. Considerable results are recorded in the agricultural sector, when whether forecasts enabled perfect timing for harvesting and sales.

Links and background information

1A: We recommend that by 2030, every adult should have affordable access to digital networks, as well as digitally-enabled financial and health services, as a means to make a substantial contribution to achieving the SDGs…
1B: We recommend that a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods, ….
b) Chapter 2 page 12, pointing to reference 59 and the full reference:
"One example of building internet access around community needs, in this case health, is a collaboration between the Basic Internet Foundation and health centres in Tanzania; see Vision 2030, available at