With the general election in view, InternetNZ is readying a “manifesto for the internet”, outlining policies that its membership and others interested in the advance of internet services would like to see the major parties adopt.
With InternetNZ sponsorship, TUANZ has already hosted live events in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland to discuss what members of either organisation saw as pressing issues that could be included in a manifesto.
At each event, InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar “introduced the topic; gave some high-level thoughts; and then plenty of robust, open discussions followed,” he says.
Energetic discussion is also taking place on InternetNZ mailing-list forums and will, of course, be picked up at the NetHui, scheduled to run from June 29 to July 1 in Auckland. InternetNZ pointedly lowered the price of admission to this conference to encourage a broader attendance from all sectors.
Topics raised at the live meetings include the controversial characterisation of internet access as a basic human right, which would deter any efforts by current or future governments to activate the dormant provisions of the copyright legislation for internet account termination as a penalty for repeated copyright breach.
In the drafting of visonary manifesto-style documents, one tactic often gets overlooked, Kumar says; “that's to find out perceptions of the community and what they think the important areas are.
“Without this reality check, a visionary top-down approach will be disconnected from the real situation on the ground,” he says.
For example “all the recent UFB talk about fast broadband and speeds was disconnected from what people think their problem actually is- data caps.” There has been considerable discussion among InternetNZ members on the mailing list on the logic of data caps – whether they still make sense in today’s broadband environment, and whether it would be economically viable to ditch them – or raise them to a level high enough not to handicap the bulk of users, while still deterring the occasional video-downloading bandwidth hog.
Other suggested ideas range from more international cooperation on cybercrime and a concentrated effort to track down and repair compromised internet-connected PCs, to increased research and innovation funding and education for improved digital literacy.
Kumar’s full digest of themes at the discussions can be read at http://internetnz.net.nz/system/files/pages/2011/internetmanfiestoafter5s.rtf . And yes, that does say “manfiesto”; InternetNZ’s typo, not ours.