RIPE 67

Minutes of the RIPE Cooperation Working Group
Date: 17 October 16:00 - 17:30
Chair: Maria Häll
Scribe: Chris Buckridge
Status: Draft


Maria Häll introduced the agenda and provided an overview of the goals of the RIPE Cooperation Working Group and the importance of maintaining communication between the different stakeholder groups, particularly the public and private sectors.

A. Panel: IXPs, Internet Traffic and Public Policy

Moderator: Patrik Fältström, Netnod
Panelists:
- Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos, Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks
- Jane Coffin, ISOC
- Malcolm Hutty, LINX

Patrik introduced the topic of why Internet Exchange Points are such an important issue for a healthy Internet, and why the public sector is taking an interest in this area.

Panagiotis introduced the situation in Greece, where he said the market is largely self-regulated, particularly in terms of IP interconnection, which has developed very well without government intervention. He said the Greek public sector also invested in multi-stakeholder processes for dealing with these issues, and is open to receiving feedback from Greek stakeholders.

Jane noted that much of her work is in developing countries on issues relating to traffic exchange and IXP development, particularly “leveling up” in terms of technical advancement and human capacity and expertise. She said challenges in this area include governments seeing IXPs as something to be regulated – ISOC is working to educate stakeholders in the developing world about the importance of community in establishing IP interconnection models, and has worked in partnership with private sector stakeholders like Google and Cisco to produce a tool kit (due at the end of this year) of best practices that can be adapted by those setting up IXPs. She also stressed the importance of enrolling with members of communities like RIPE to contribute to bootstrapping efforts in developing countries.

Malcolm noted that the topic of IXPs and traffic exchange has become part of the wider Internet governance discussion. He noted the ITU World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF) 2013, and the Opinion concerning IXPs that came out of the meeting, adding that, while not a treaty-making event like the WCIT, the WTPF was nonetheless a major ITU meeting. The UK delegation, of which Malcolm was part, he said, was closely involved in the discussion leading to the final text of the IXP Opinion, which essentially stated that “exchange points are a good thing”. Malcolm noted, though, that this is not an uncomplicated position – the competition environment in some countries does not fit the model of IXPs and operator interconnection, instead favoring monopoly operators. He said that having a statement in favor of IXPs in an ITU document is therefore very useful in promoting IXP development.

Patrik noted a potential contradiction between the sovereign right of countries to develop their own policies and outsiders (often from developed countries) telling them what to do.

Jane agreed it’s a delicate balance, and noted Brazil as a good example, where NIC.br works with governments and is a multi-stakeholder organisation, and Bolivia as another example, where multi-stakeholder dialogue has encouraged the government away from specific IXP legislation and toward a more open regulatory environment. Citing other examples such as Armenia and Kenya, Jane also stressed the importance of building a multi-stakeholder community in the country prior to the physical IXP equipment going in to ensure that the IXP can achieve its potential and facilitate consistent, good-quality, cheaper local traffic exchange. She also stressed the role for government in encouraging national capacity and infrastructure development.

Panigiotis noted that Europe is very uniform in its approach to market liberalisation, but that it can be difficult to find common ground when talking to countries that feel government should regulate everything. He noted that he believes Europe’s higher speeds and better prices and services are due to more open markets. Malcolm added that while many European operators might point to national regulatory differences in relation to IXP development, there are certain rules within the European Union, such as those that allow anyone to start an IXP. He added that this is not true everywhere, particularly where traffic exchange is seen as the job of the local regulator or incumbent.

Wout de Natris, eco/De Natris Consult, noted that, from the work he has done in Africa, he believes there is an assumption that the ITU is the best venue for discussions about these issues. He suggested that there is a need to reach out and work with local governments, and that capacity building has to go through institutions other than the ITU to ensure a wider reach.

Nigel Hickson, ICANN, commended the work of ISOC in this area, but noted that the issues we are now dealing with come down to a fundamental problem of good economic telecommunications management, and that is something that actors in the ITU should be addressing. Malcolm noted that we have to deal with reality, and IXPs are a specific case that can be worked on, specifically in terms of building trust and other specific elements. Jane noted that, in relation to the ITU, ISOC has attempted to work in partnership with the them, though this can be difficult given the top-down nature of the ITU itself. She stressed, though, that the ITU has a great deal of experience and is a known entity to many governments. She said that the message for the technical community is to get engaged and build relationships with the public sector.

Jim Reid, DNS Working Group Chair, noted a perception in some public sector circles that people and large companies in developed countries get Internet or IXPs for free, while the developing world has to pay and subsidise the rest of the world. He said that needs to be countered by demonstrating the benefits of better local traffic exchange, and ISOC and the RIRs can do that in an ITU context. Malcolm agreed, but suggested that the way in which that message is delivered depends on who you’re talking to.

Patrik turned to how people can engage in this work. Jane suggested speaking to staff and participants in technical organisations like the RIRs, ISOC and the IETF.

Malcolm agreed with the need for more people to engage, noting that while ISOC can make the case in various forums, they need ammunition (concrete data, case studies, etc.). Paul Rendek, RIPE NCC, agreed that ISOC and the RIRs should facilitate greater involvement from community members.

Panagiotis stressed the need for government representatives to learn about and from all of these forums, allowing them to make policy based on the knowledge that can be gained from these events.

Maria also noted the role that TERENA and the many national educational research networks can play in this area, in terms of education and facilitating broader engagement across stakeholder groups.

There were no further comments.

B. Update on EU Developments and Engagement, Including Proposed eID and NIS Legislation

-Athina Fragkouli, RIPE NCC

This presentation is available at:
https://ripe67.ripe.net/presentations/329-EU_Developments-coopwg.pdf

Carsten Schiefner, DENIC eG, asked about how the proposed legislation would be affected by the European Union elections next year.

Elena Plexida, Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks, noted that the eID proposal has already been discussed, and is currently being looked at article by article, and that this is therefore a good time to provide input to council. She noted that the NIS legislative process is unlikely to be completed under the current presidency, and also the links between the proposed NIS Directive and the Single Telecom Market (STM) initiative; if the STM is approved then the NIS Directive will likely not go ahead.  

Carsten also asked whether the RIPE NCC (or others) could assist in identifying those MEPs with an interest in these issues. Malcolm Hutty, Linx, suggested looking at who is part of the specific parliamentary committees examining the proposals. Malcolm also sought advice from Elena on how best to engage with the council. Elena suggested first going to your national ministry to identify the best person to speak with. Paul Rendek, RIPE NCC, noted that this is also an area where the RIPE community can assist the RIPE NCC, by reaching out to national representatives using documentation and arguments developed by the RIPE NCC and the wider community.

Jane Coffin, ISOC, asked whether the new package recognises the importance and integration of open standards. Athina noted that from her reading of the NIS proposal, this is unclear.  

Wout de Natris, eco/De Natris Consult, suggested there may be a need for the RIPE NCC to invest in a dedicated person in Brussels to follow these issues, noting the difficulty of timely and effective engagement. Chris Buckridge, RIPE NCC, noted that the RIPE NCC, currently and for the foreseeable future, has limited resources to devote to this activity, and that this has necessitated a strategy of working with our community members and other stakeholders to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Panagiotis Papaspiliopoulos, Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport & Networks, noted that the European Commission will work with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to produce common European standards in relation to implementation of its regulations. He also noted that the NIS proposal, as a proposed directive, would give member states the right to adapt their own legislation in ways they see fit, to meet the requirements of the directive.

There were no further questions.

C. ICANN European Strategy Development

-Nigel Hickson, ICANN

This presentation is available at:
https://ripe67.ripe.net/presentations/357-RIPE_67_-_ATHENS_.pdf

There were no questions or comments.

D. RIPE NCC External Relations Update: The Year Ahead

-Chris Buckridge, RIPE NCC

This presentation is available at:
https://ripe67.ripe.net/presentations/353-2014-Coop.pdf

There was a question from a participant regarding the RIPE NCC’s hiring process for a new External Relations Officer based in Russia, and the importance of the RIPE NCC working with the local technical community in developing strategies and positions regarding Russia. Chris noted that the new position had been created to provide the RIPE NCC with closer knowledge of the Russian industry and public sector, and that there would continue to be close cooperation with the Russian technical community.

There were no further questions.

E. Planning for RIPE Cooperation Working Group Co-Chair

Maria noted that there are several parties who have expressed interest in the position of Cooperation Working co-Chair, and that this should be discussed on the mailing list, with a view to settling the question of co-Chairs ahead of the RIPE 68 Meeting.

Z. AOB

There were no further comments.

Maria thanked everyone for attending and closed the session.