Countries require a developed and scalable ICT infrastructure, to promote social, economic, and individual progress.
The situation of ICT infrastructure varies from one country to another. Most developing countries have the lowest levels of ICT infrastructure in the world. ICT can enable better access to government services, increased training opportunities through distance learning, delivery of healthcare services through telemedicine, improved literacy, and access to economic opportunities. These new uses of technology should be part of a country’s development strategy; investment in them is important to enhance a country’s standard of living.
Practice has proved the importance of some elements for achieving an adequate development of the Internet-based economy, which will be discussed throughout this course.
By the end of the course, participants should be able to:
- understand the overarching ICT infrastructure development issues, including wired and wireless infrastructure, and issues that account for ICT infrastructure development;
- present the basic concepts and importance of Internet connection costs, and issues that account for differences in costs, including regulatory frameworks, discrepancies in international bandwidth costs, and costs of deployment;
- explain the function of IP protocols, the reasons why upgrading to IPv6 is necessary, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany the new version;
- describe the current debates on the regulatory framework and its importance to the Internet infrastructure to promote a more efficient ICT sector while promoting development and innovation.
- discuss the concept of network neutrality, its importance for the Internet, and the current controversies surrounding the issue;
- explain the DNS and the associated policy development systems, including the function of ICANN, the delegation of top level domains (TLDs), and their management by TLD Registries;
- understand the role of IANA and other main actors in IP address allocation, domain name root-servers, the delegation/re-delegation process, and the complexities of some recent developments in the domain name industry.
The course forms part of the Thematic Phase of Diplo’s Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme (IGCBP). This phase offers in-depth courses that provide deeper understanding of a particular issue. Other courses forming part of this phase - which may run simultaneously or at a later date - include Cybersecurity, E-participation, History of Internet Governance, ICT Policy and Strategic Planning, Intellectual Property Rights, and Privacy and Personal Data Protection.
Excerpt from course materials
Since many big cities in developing countries now have a large number of towers supporting a wide range of different long-range wireless technologies (mainly mobile services Internet), these countries see the opportunity in wireless solutions. In such countries, cell phone penetration is high. Innovators and corporate leaders from some of the world’s leading technology firms have emphasised that bringing down the costs of Internet access could set off a wave of connectivity similar to that which has made mobile phone usage commonplace in developing countries. However, they also agree that making cost-efficient Internet available depends on a complex chain of on-the-ground realities such as strong connections to the global Internet infrastructure via sea cables and satellite systems, domestic connections such as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), an array of competitive Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and a sound regulatory system that encourages fair competition and innovative business models.
Introduction to Infrastructure Development introduces the concept that to promote social, economic, and individual progress, countries require a developed and scalable information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure. The introduction will offer an overview of Critical Internet Resource (CIR) issues and their relationship to ICT strategy.
ICT Technical Infrastructure Development explains the wired technical infrastructure development, the various wired broadband Internet access systems; mainly television cable networks, DSL lines and the various speeds it offers, optical fibres (FTTH), and broadband Internet over power lines, then turning to wireless technical infrastructure. Factors that promote the development of the ICT sector, opportunities offered to developing countries, low-density environments, and spectrum regulation are also discussed in this chapter.
Connection Costs analyses the opportunities that the Internet presents in creating new avenues for foreign investment, new markets, jobs, and customers, bridging the digital divide, the effect of Internet connection costs on regulatory frameworks, discrepancies in international bandwidth costs, and costs of deployment, which all play a part in this important topic.
Protocol Upgrades describes the function of IP addresses and the reasons the IPv4 version is in need of replacement. The chapter discusses the current situation, the new version of IP; called IPv6, and the opportunities and challenges that accompany it.
The regulatory framework analyses the need for an effective regulatory regime, fostering an efficient ICT sector which develops a solid ICT infrastructure, promotes innovation in products and services, and improves the quality and efficiency of service provision. The chapter also addresses the importance of establishing market, legal, and technical frameworks, as well as appropriate policies.
Network Neutrality explains network neutrality as the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. From a technical perspective, network neutrality implies that all IP packets should be treated more or less the same. The chapter details, for example, reasons and concerns that a network operator might use different treatment for IP packets associated with specific services, applications, destinations, or devices, and other facets of this controversial debate.
The Domain Name System (DNS) and ICANN explores the delegation of top level domains (TLDs) and their management by TLD Registries; the registration of second level domain names by registrants through domain name registrars and resellers. This chapter explains why the whole process requires policies that are developed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) within a bottom-up, consensus-driven, multi-stakeholder framework with various supporting organizations and advisory committees involved.
IANA, IDNs, and the Latest Developments in the Domain Name Industry describes in-depth the role of IANA in IP address allocation, the domain name root-servers, the delegation/re-delegation process, and sheds some light on alternative root-servers (Alt Root). It also reviews the history of International Domain Names (IDNs), Unicode and Punycode, the IETF and IDNA2003, IDNA2008, and IDNA2010, the IDN ccTLD fast track process, and software issues with IDNs. It also presents some recent developments in the domain name industry, including discussions on .xxx, DNSSec, and the new gTLD program.
The course includes intensive, inclusive and up-to-date information about the course subject and the references expand our knowledge. It shows and explains all the factors that are related to the course subject.
I think the course did well in covering several important areas in such a short time; it had a good scope. Additionally, I believe the focus of the course was also good, in that it clearly pointed out the various factors which developing countries must improve on in order to bridge the digital divide.