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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Access tops debate @ WAIGF’10

As the three-day 2010 West African Internet Governance Forum (IGF) ended in the city of Dakar, Senegal, last weekend, the issue of affordable internet access topped debate.

Various participants, especially those who made country representations, all seem to be singing the same tune; internet access and its affordability.

In his remarks to welcome participants to the occasion, the national chapter president, Internet Society Senegal, Dr. Alex Corenthin, noted that at the beginning of the global IGF in 2006, which was held in Athens, Greece, access, policy and cost were some of the key issues deliberated upon.

In addition, he said that the first IGF discussed openness, free circulation of information, security and language.

He also said that the forum is essential because it would help participants to strengthen stakeholders’ relationship across the government, civil society organisation, mostly in developing technologies and for developing nations in order for IGF to make sense to all.

Equally, he said, the IGF mandate speaks on capacity building for developing countries.

Presenting Nigeria’s country report at the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Edet of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), reiterated the call at the Nigeria Digital Sense forum recently on IGF that internet should be fundamentally accessible.

“Nigeria believes that internet should be a fundamental access and service offerings to the people with disability should be improved,” he said.

Stressing that the journey of national IGF started in Nigeria in 2008, when it was organized by the Ministry of Information and Communication, and in 2009 as well as this year, a forum was organized by Digital Sense Africa (DSA) as part of public, private partnership in Lagos and another forum is billed before December this year.

According to him, the 2008 forum also discussed that countries on the continent should host their root servers.

Nigeria, he said, is open to internationalization of the internet domains, and efforts are up in training core stakeholders on the importance of migrating from the Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) to IPv6.

Also, he said, Nigeria has established local internet exchange points, though it was discovered that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were just resellers of bandwidth.

“There was also a suggestion of internet registry, and need to optimise .ng against foreign domain names,” he said.

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