2021 ISIF Asia grant recipients announced

By on 1 Feb 2022

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USD 1.82 million in grant funding has been awarded to 22 projects covering 16 economies; the largest number of grantees in the history of the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia).

Grants have been awarded across three categories: Infrastructure (developing the Internet), Inclusion (accessing the Internet) and Knowledge (skills and research about the Internet). ISIF Asia received 74 applications for this round. These grants are part of the Asia Pacific Internet Development Trust’s 2021 funding for the APNIC Foundation.

Some of these projects cover multiple economies. Three economies are receiving funds for the first time: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Lao PDR.

Grantees include a collaborative project among Asia Pacific research networks to build trust and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) capabilities, IPv6 training, a honeynet cybersecurity project spanning several economies in Asia, and a knowledge-sharing project between Network Operator Groups (NOGs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

Below is the full list of grantees.

Infrastructure

Expand the Central Australian Desert Project to serve the Nitjpurru indigenous community in Pigeon Hole. Distant Curve Remote Area Telecommunications. Australia. USD 150,000.

The Central Australian Desert Project connected the Northern Territory communities of Engawala and Atitjere with an embedded system using solar powered microwave relays. This grant will fund the development of a similar system for the remote community of Nitjpurru. It will integrate a framework for supervising various systems needed to run the relays, cost-effectively monitor them, and ensure they are providing the necessary connectivity.

Sustainable smart villages in rural Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea University of Technology. Papua New Guinea. USD 85,000.

This grant will help develop a ‘smart village’ for Papua New Guinea communities, in order to tackle issues like unreliable power supply and limited connectivity. The project will provide ten community Wi-Fi sites as sustainable services to rural areas, and aims to cultivate partnerships between industry, community, and academic institutions to develop digital literacy packages.

Field-ready network-coded tunnels for satellite links. The University of Auckland. New Zealand. USD 85,000.

This project aims to widen the circle of people able to deploy titrated coded tunnels, create reference systems on actual satellite links in the field, and demonstrate that this technology brings actual performance benefits to real users. This grant builds on a previous ISIF Asia research project. The current project will take it out of the lab and show users that the technology is ready for wider deployment.

Hybrid LoRa Network for underserved community Internet. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 85,000.

This grant will help establish a LoRa Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) gateway on a helium balloon, equipped with Mesh LoRa architecture that has text and voice messaging capabilities, as well as a cloud-based data management platform. It will help overcome a lack of mobile data coverage for indigenous communities in the Chini Lake, Pahang area of Malaysia.

Securing Software Defined Network architectures. The University of Newcastle. Australia. USD 30,000.

This project involves the design and development of techniques for detecting attacks on Software Defined Network (SDN) switches. This small grant will implement security techniques to validate against different attacks on SDN switches and develop a Switch Security Application for SDN Controllers for detecting attacks on switches.

Inclusion

Connectivity Bridges: Reaching remote locations with high-speed Internet services. Rural Broadband — AirJaldi. India. USD 150,000.

This impact grant will help create a hybrid ‘WiFiber’ system that bridges existing under-used infrastructure, particularly large communication towers, and adds capability and coverage to reach users in the mostly rural state of Arunachal Pradesh with fast and affordable Internet services.

Local community-based Internet infrastructure development and Internet utilization in rural Indonesia. Common Room. Indonesia. USD 150,000.

An existing program resulted in the development of a School for Community Networking in the Kasepuhan Ciptagelar region of Indonesia. This impact grant will help the school provide the necessary infrastructure for a ‘build out’ to extend Internet deployment and training for indigenous and other rural communities in and around seven locations.

Equal access to information society in Myanmar. Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation. Myanmar. USD 150,000.

Telco Ooredoo Myanmar is establishing 40 community libraries as part of an existing program, mostly in underserved or unserved areas, and this grant will focus on boosting the digital literacy skills of thousands of participants — primarily youth and women — at these libraries, by combining and scaling three existing programs.

Broadband for all in Yap. Boom! Inc. Federated States of Micronesia. USD 85,000.

This project will establish an island-wide Fixed Wireless Access broadband network on the island of Yap. In 2017, Yap was connected to the world via high-speed submarine fibre-optic cable, but the infrastructure hasn’t been fully connected to island locations. In a recent proof-of-concept, Boom! was able to provide high-speed connectivity to a school in Yap and this scale-up grant will extend coverage to other parts of the island.

Bamboo towers for low-cost and sustainable rural Internet connectivity. National Institute of Technology Silchar. India. USD 85,000.

This project will develop and promote low-cost and sustainable bamboo communication towers to expand access to broadband networks in remote and rural areas of India. The scale-up grant will fund the development of detailed instructions on their construction. Towers will be built to test they are suitable to be placed in any region.

OASIS data garden project. SATSOL. Solomon Islands. USD 85,000.

This scale-up grant will fund the development and proof-of-concept testing of a ‘data garden’ that will supply affordable connectivity, power, and a digital payment system in areas with limited access to physical banknotes. An OASIS data garden can be easily transported to any remote location in the Solomon Islands via small boat or vehicle and will operate autonomously.

Internet connection to four villages in San Isidro. Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF). The Philippines. USD 30,000.

This small grant project will connect four villages in the San Isidro municipality of Mindanao via Point-to-Point (P2P) data connections. DMSF will partner with local organizations in each village to develop local capacity for maintenance and security.

Inclusive and efficient access to Internet services and information for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh. Humanity & Inclusion. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.

This project aims to assist people with visual disabilities in Bangladesh, by disseminating standards on accessible web design and screen-reading software. The project will translate visual accessibility standards into the local language and train web developers. It will also engage in policy dialogue and advocacy for people with disabilities.

Empowering remote agricultural communities in Lao PDR through long-range wide area networks. Makerbox Lao. Lao PDR. USD 30,000.

This grant will help develop a prototype technology that uses long-range (LoRa) wireless networking to relay agricultural data (such as soil, weather, and water information) from sensors in remote areas to forecasting experts, then relay that forecast information to farmers in a format that supports their work.

Knowledge

Intelligent honeynet threat sharing platform. Swiss German University. Indonesia. USD 150,000.

This project will extend the existing Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform [PDF] to provide a broader range of honeypot support, with intelligently categorized and correlated threat data, enabling organizations to share threat information with other organizations in a consistent format. Two previous ISIF Asia grants supported the development of the Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform, to link honeypots together in a Honeynet that collects information on malicious Internet traffic for a public dashboard.

Developing a collaborative BGP routing, analyzing and diagnosing platform. Tsinghua University. China. USD 150,000.

This project is a collaboration between National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and research universities in the Asia Pacific, to build the kind of trust and BGP capabilities among NRENs that is seen in the wider BGP-speaking community. An ongoing project is developing a small-scale looking glass platform and BGP routing collection platform. This impact grant will expand the platform to a BGP hijacking detection and mitigation system.

Bug Zero. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000.

Bug bounty platforms have helped many organizations in advanced economies worldwide but South Asia has been hesitant to embrace them. Equipped with empirical research data on published results, SCoRe Lab has already started a bug bounty platform in Sri Lanka called Bug Zero. This scale-up grant will help promote bug bounties as an effective tool and a good economic opportunity for youth while encouraging inclusion.

Training and knowledge sharing: Network analysis for AI transformation. TeleMARS. Australia. USD 85,000.

Research from a previous ISIF Asia grant demonstrated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques can be used to resolve problems when detecting cyberattacks. This scale-up grant will help implement that work on a larger scale. This includes strengthening knowledge sharing across NOGs and CERTs, developing training and mentoring resources, and improving capabilities in the areas of diagnosis, monitoring, and analysis of historical datasets.

Webinar series to support IPv6 knowledge transfer. India Internet Engineering Society (IIESoc). India. USD 30,000.

This project will continue a series of webinars that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, supported by ISIF Asia through a 2020 grant. This small grant will continue and expand a previous series of webinars supported by ISIF Asia that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, in an effort to combat a cycle of misconceptions that makes enterprises hesitant to adopt IPv6.

DIY COW — An inclusive community operated wireless kit for enabling local communications at remote locations. Servelots Infotech. India. USD 30,000.

Using lessons learned during remote mentoring for young women in COVID-19 lockdowns, this project will create a Do It Yourself kit that will allow someone with no Internet access to set up a wireless access point with a local access server. The kit contains all the necessary instructional materials to be set up without an Internet connection.

Cybersecurity education. Passerelles Numeriques Cambodia. Cambodia. USD 30,000.

This project will help develop simple interactive videos and quizzes to test awareness and develop public knowledge about security threats they can encounter in their daily lives. This small grant will focus on youth and women facing digital literacy challenges in Cambodia, which is rapidly digitizing but has limited cybersecurity education resources.

Design, development and operation of an SDN-based Internet eXchange playground for networkers. University of Malaya. Malaysia. USD 30,000.

This small grant will help build on existing training programs by developing an ‘Internet Exchange Playground’ with a Kubernetes cluster that can help introduce SDN-based BGP/RPKI/RDAP knowledge. The Kubernetes nodes will be scattered across different economies, allowing participants to experiment with cross-border network topologies. It will allow for use of VXLAN and SDN controllers in a WAN environment.

The APNIC Foundation thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the members of the Selection Committees for their hard work, and the Trust for supporting these projects. Technical reports on the projects will be published on the ISIF Asia website as they are completed.

For more details on these projects, visit the ISIF Asia site.

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