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High Tech Policy

Earlier this week, I attended the UN’s Broadband Commission meeting in Ohrid, Macedonia, where we discussed initiatives to reach the Commission’s goals by 2015:

1) All countries have national broadband plans;

2) Broadband is affordable in developing countries so that entry-level broadband services cost less than 5% of average month income;

3) Broadband is adopted by 40% of households in developing countries; and that

4) Broadband penetration reaches 60% of the worldwide population and 50% in developing countries

To support this vision of an ever expanding Internet that people see as essential, Cisco sponsored the 83rd Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting last week in Paris. At the IETF, more than 1,400 of the leading Internet engineers and technologists from around the world gathered to further develop the standards which provide the foundation for Internet services such as domain names, email, the Web, and instant messaging.

The IETF is nearing its 30th year of developing standards that have contributed to an Internet that is now utilized by over two billion people, fostered by a governance model that is largely self-regulatory and multi-stakeholder.

The Internet has grown up and is now essential to the 21st century global economy and a key driver of social development. But current challenges remain, such as extending the Internet to under-served areas and people, especially through wireless technology, and addressing issues of trust.

To achieve the UN Broadband Commission’s goal, and to expand the use of the Internet to the next billion, and the four billion people after that, the IETF and the Internet’s multi-stakeholder technical community must continue to address challenges, getting ahead of issues before they become problems.

The tremendous rate of growth of the Internet has been fueled by conscious decisions along the way that provided a vibrant and open environment where innovation flourishes. The Internet was not an accident. The technical community, encompassing the IETF and others, plays a critical role in leading efforts to continue this rapid expansion of the benefits of connectivity, while ensuring the future and freedom of the Internet. And we are committed to the IETF as one of the key forums where Internet standards are developed and core Internet principles are protected and fostered.

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