OneWebDay 2015 – Connecting the Next Billion

OneWebDay, held on September 22 every year since 2006, is a global event aimed at giving all participants in this unprecedented turn in human evolution that is the Internet a chance not only to celebrate it, but also to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the open-networking principles that have made it the success it is.

OneWebDay 2015 will be held on Tuesday 22 September 2015. The suggested theme for this year’s events is to Connecting the Next Billion. This aligns with current Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Intersessional Programme Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion. It is considered by the e IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) that, while 3 billion are estimated to be online in 2015, “more effort is necessary in order to connect the next billion and to address the digital divide” and “Collaboration between governmental and non-governmental actors is key to meet this challenge.” It is felt that the tried and trusted multistakeholder approach, as exemplified by the IGF, is the only practical method to bring all shoulders to the wheel.

In a keynote speech at the USA IGF in July 2015, United States Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli ably summed up this point of view, quoting a 2014 report from the Alliance for an Affordable Internet (A4AI) that delineated four critical aspects that any Government should consider as drivers of broadband expansion and affordable access: First, drive broadband infrastructure expansion through increased private investment and removal of barriers; Second, intensify competition and level the playing field to increase access, reduce cost and stimulate demand; Third, open access and infrastructure sharing; and fourth, enable access to spectrum. There’s no quick slogan here, but if any the unifying principal is OPEN ACCESS.

So for OneWebDay 2015, it is suggested that you review, and discuss Ms. Novelli’s remarks  (24 mins),

View on YouTube: (captions available)
Prepared text:
Verbatim transcript:

FURTHER VIEWING: At the IGF USA this was followed by a panel with reps from USAID, Facebook, Google, Comcast, A4AI, & the Internet Society who expanded on the Connecting the Next Billion theme (60 mins):

View on YouTube: (captions available)
Verbatim transcript:

ACTION: So, what can you do?
1) Post, link to, and discuss the themes above, in particular drawing them to the attention of your local regulators. Use hashtags #onewebday and #thenextbillion.
2) Participate in/contribute to the IGF Policy development process by making a written contribution


2 September 2015

: The IGF draft overview & outline of ‘Policy Options for the Next Billion’ has been released today. It will be discussed at Open Consultation and MultiStakeholder Advisory Group meeting in Paris this week. Time: Thursday 3 September 13:00 UTC = 9:00 EDT | A webcast in both English and French will be available..

In the meeting on 2 September 2015, a question was asked as to the ‘Policy Options for the Next Billion’ process. ISOC’s Constance Bommelaer gave an update, see below:

4 September 2015

A 2nd draft of of ‘Policy Options for the Next Billion’ has been released today. It includes a snapshot of how the issue of “Connecting the Next Billion” was defined by different stakeholders (quoted directly below via the online questionnaire) that reflects the diversity of opinions and views of the global multistakeholder IGF community:

How would you define the issue “Connecting the Next Billion”?
“I would define the issue as comprising the very difficult work of providing reliable, affordable and relevant connectivity to unconnected and under-connected global citizens. “

“It is the possibility of allowing people in rural and remote areas of the country/countries to take advantage of the Internet for better, faster and efficient private and public services.”

“Bringing the next 1 Billion of the world’s citizen’s into the Internet Age to enable them to get access to knowledge and improve their economic circumstances through safe e-commerce.”

Connecting the Next Billion means the steps/efforts that need to be undertaken to ensure that everyone, especially those from developing countries. This means putting in place the right infrastructure, adopting the right regulations.”

“Connecting the Next Billion to me is a clarion call to motivate stakeholders to provide Internet access to more people of the World with a focus on the next billion. That call for action requires procedure, best practice. And hence it encompasses protocols, standards, services, security, policies, laws on the Internet. It would be necessary that the next billion connected use the Internet better.”

“It is defined as a network connection networks of knowledge, challenge to build a new model of Educational System: productive and human society to achieve a smart, road to equal opportunities.”

7 September 2015

Today the African Internet Governance Forum held a session “Connecting the Next Billions” – see below

8 September 2015

ASK FROM THE MULTISTAKEHOLDER ADVISORY GROUP: All interested stakeholders are invited to:

  • Join the open-ended editorial group formed to develop the document ahead of IGF Brazil by signing-up to this mailing list.
  • Send additional background contributions by using thisform, or by writing to by 3 Oct.(contributions from national/regional IGFs and Best Practices Forums are welcome on an ongoing basis). They will feed into the next version of the document and will all appear with due attribution on the IGF website.

Next steps:
The IGF Secretariat will be working in the coming weeks on editing the introduction and developing the various sections of the skeleton on the basis of contributions received. A new draft will be made available for the consideration of the open-ended editorial group around 21 Sept. (= ONEWEBDAY EVE!)

22 September 2015

Happy OneWebDay!

To consolidate the “Next Billion” theme, here is one last video – Constance Bommelaer, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy, at the Internet Society, speaking at the African Internet Governance Forum above. Constance fleshes out the theme, and cogently connects it with the various other major policy processes underway such as the WSIS+10 review. She appeals, as we do, for stakeholders to engage in the IGF intersessional policy options development, noting this is the first time that the IGF community has worked between meetings to bring not only best practices, but definitive frameworks that can enhance private and public efforts to improve access via technical, policy, and educational aspects. See below:

View on YouTube:
Download audio:

27 September 2015

As the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Summit convened in NYC, Internet Society President & CEO Kathryn Brown issued a statement including the following:

… in order to leverage the power of the Internet to accelerate our development agenda, we must not lose sight of a key goal:  Connecting the Next Billion.  Indeed, a recent report by the UN Broadband Commission highlights the challenge: “By the end of 2015, there will still be 57% of the world’s population – or four billion people – still offline.” ( Bridging the digital divide is a crucial step to advancing the Sustainability Agenda.

At the same time, there are many reasons to be optimistic.

There are now 3 billion people connected to the Internet. It took over two decades for the Internet to reach its first billion users in 2005; five years to reach the second in 2010; and four years to reach the third billionth person in 2014. In Africa alone, we see remarkable improvement in connectivity across the continent – growing from around 7% of the population with Internet access in 2008 to over 20% with Internet access in 2015.

Mobile Internet service already covers at least 48% of the population worldwide and is increasingly the primary means of accessing the Internet, particularly in developing countries (read more on Mobile developments in ISOC’s 2015 Global Internet Report

Kathy then spoke at the meeting:

Download video: MP4 format

29 September 2015

Dear all,

An updated version of the ‘Policy Options for Connecting the Next Billion’ compilation is now available on the IGF website review platform. This version will be updated on an ongoing basis leading up to the IGF in Brazil.

The community is invited to comment on this version until 16 October using this review platform and is also  to submit additional background contributions until 3 October by using this form, or by writing to

After 3 October only new background contributions from National and Regional IGFs, IGF Best Practice Forums and Dynamic Coalitions will be accepted for integration into the compilation leading up to the IGF in Brazil.

We also encourage all interested stakeholders to join the open ended editorial group by signing-up to this mailing list. It’s also expected that the Secretariat will host a virtual webex meeting to discuss the draft and the editorial process in the coming weeks as well.

The draft main session description is also open for comments.

As many of you may know just this past weekend during the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda was adopted and recognized that ICTs are a crucial platform for the implementation of these visionary goals, and the Agenda sets an ambitious goal to “significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020“. This makes our bottom up work on this effort even more timely!

Best regards,

Constance Bommelaer
Senior Director, Global Internet Policy
The Internet Society

30 October 2015

Dear Colleagues,

After several weeks of hard work, the latest version of the IGF Policy Options for Connecting The Next Billion is now available (pdf).
A short synthesis of the document that we intend to hand out in Brazil is also attached for your convenience. (pdf)

The IGF Policy Options benefited from the input of 15 national and regional IGFs, out of more than 80 background contributions from all stakeholder groups (more than we expected!), as well as comments through the IGF online platform. The draft document will be enriched by the IGF discussion, and a final version released shortly after the IGF event.

On a related note, the 6 IGF 2015 Best Practices documents will be released on the IGF website next Monday.

All these IGF outputs will be discussed during the “Intersessional Main Session” that will be held on 11 Nov. from 2pm to 5:30 pm in the Main Hall. You are all invited to this session!

Thank you and best regards,

Constance Bommelaer