In this piece written for the South Centre Bulletin (issue 5, December 2007), Parminder Jeet Singh and Gurumurthy Kasinathan highlight Internet governance issues that are important from a development perspective. The World Summit on Information Society was the first step towards debating issues of Internet governance and its recommendation on the setting up of the Internet Governance Forum which heads into its third year at Hyderabad is an important space which discusses issues of Internet governance.Although the Internet has been recognised as a public good, its governance has been dominated by a singe agency, ICANN, which indirectly reports to the United States and emphasises a commercial model. If the Internet has to be meaningful for the developmental aspirations of emerging economies, the governance of the Internet has to be anchored in governmental and community processes. Important factors like interconnection charges which have a direct bearing on the spread of the Internet, need to factor in development priorities, which would call for reduced interconnection rates and help the spread of the Internet in developing economies. Another way to bring in a development agenda for the Internet is to create a global public domain which would allow for the hosting of any publicly funded information. This measure would create a level playing field and create an alternative to rent-seeking models of information which are the current norm on the Internet.
Read the full article here (page 9 onwards).