What will the APNIC Foundation achieve, and how?

By on 27 May 2016

Categories: Community, Development

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The APNIC Foundation is being established to support Internet Development in our region, and APNIC’s vision of “A global, open, stable and secure Internet that serves the entire Asia Pacific community”.

More specifically, the Foundation will support the APNIC Development Program, which delivers training, professional development and technical assistance for network operators of our region. The intention is to increase the scale and impact of those activities through external funding, which will be clearly separated from, and additional to, APNIC Member funds.

Projects and activities funded by the Foundation will be designed and managed by APNIC, in collaboration with funding agencies interested in Internet development. Activities will be implemented by APNIC and our partners, which include a growing group of community trainers and technical advisors, and other like-minded organizations. A priority will be to support and build the capacity of these partners, and to spend Foundation funds in the region instead of relying solely on APNIC’s resources.

I have often said that the difference between Internet services which are stable, secure, efficient and affordable, and those which are none of these things, can be a matter solely of human capacity – of the skills and expertise of the people who are building and managing those services. Those technical professionals are on the frontline of the Internet’s infrastructure: constantly challenged to build new services, adapt to new technologies, increase capacity, and deal with security threats; all while also ensuring reliable and efficient 24×7 operations. This is a huge challenge, and one which gains higher and higher importance as our dependence on the Internet grows.

The practical focus of the APNIC Foundation will, therefore, be human capacity building; to advance professional development among APNIC’s core community – the network operators who are building and running the Internet in our region. Along with training and technical workshops, the Foundation may also support direct technical assistance which is often required in many specific circumstances.

Priority topics for this work should be familiar to members of our community: promotion and deployment of IPv6, security of routing and DNS infrastructure, development of exchange points and related infrastructure, and promotion of operational security practices. However, this “curriculum” will likely increase with demand in future. In the coming APNIC Survey, we will find out more about the technical challenges and priorities of the community, which will also help to guide the Foundation’s priorities.

A “traditional” feature of a healthy Internet environment is an active technical community. Through active collaboration, engineers can ensure the stability, security and sustainable growth of their networks, even while their employers may compete with each other. Network Operator Groups (NOGs), CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams), IXPs (Internet Exchange Points), and similar groupings are emerging throughout the Asia Pacific region, but often need support and guidance in their evolution, and still need to be initiated in many locations. The APNIC Foundation will work with such organizations as partners, both to build their capacity and to implement local projects according to local needs.

Finally, there are many groups outside of our familiar community which rely on APNIC and our work as a RIR. There are organizations with interests in the Internet from government, public safety, law enforcement, business and end-user perspectives, who need to better understand the Internet in their own work. The demands imposed on and by this community are ever increasing, with the growing complexity of the Internet itself, and our increasing dependency on it. A proper understanding of Internet infrastructure management, policy, regulatory and related issues is essential for this community to do its work, and it is APNIC’s responsibility to provide that, at least in connection with our core technical focus. Our success in achieving this is essential to the future of Internet governance in our region, and therefore, to the Internet itself.

The wide variety of activities described above may be carried out in any part of the Asia Pacific region, according to the needs, priorities, and opportunities, which are more acute, of course, in developing economies. We hope that in many cases the Foundation will identify and support projects in association with other telecommunications infrastructure initiatives, such as the installation of new optical cables, which continues throughout out region with support from international development agencies. We are already working with such agencies, both in existing and continuing projects, and are in discussions about future possibilities.

The Internet is a grand project of benefit to all corners of society, and the “network effect” ensures that when one part of the Internet is developed, the rest will also benefit; that in effect, Internet development activities are magnified exponentially. The APNIC Foundation will seek support from development agencies and those industries most dependent upon the Internet (for instance through the CSR or “Corporate Social Responsibility” of the largest companies), in order to enhance that development and maximize the benefits of the Internet for our region.

If you wish to support the APNIC Foundation or receive more information, please contact foundation@apnic.org.

Read more in this series:
Introducing the APNIC Foundation
The APNIC Foundation: structure and function

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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