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The Necessity of an Inclusive, Transparent and Participatory Internet

by: Julius Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Lawrence E. Strickling, Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Phillip L. Verveer, U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, State Department

November 30, 2012 - 03:47 PM

On the eve of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), we believe that it is the right time to reaffirm the U.S. Government’s commitment to the multistakeholder model as the appropriate process for addressing Internet policy and governance issues.  The multistakeholder model has enabled the Internet to flourish.  It has promoted freedom of expression, both online and off.  It has ensured the Internet is a robust, open platform for innovation, investment, economic growth and the creation of wealth throughout the world, including in developing countries.

There are those who may suggest next week in Dubai - and in future venues where Internet policy is discussed - that the United States controls the Internet. Alternatively, they may suggest that in the future governments alone should run the Internet.  Our response is grounded in the reality that this is simply not the case.  The Internet is a decentralized network of networks and there is no one party – government or industry – that controls the Internet today.  And that’s a good thing.

The Internet’s  decentralized, multistakeholder processes enable us all to benefit from the  engagement of all interested parties. By encouraging the participation of industry, civil society, technical and academic experts, and governments from around the globe, multistakeholder processes result in broader and more creative problem solving.  This is essential when dealing with the Internet, which thrives through the cooperation of many different parties.

The global community has many serious topics to discuss with respect to the Internet.  Collectively, we need to ensure that these matters are taken up in suitable multistakeholder venues so that these discussions are well informed by the voices of all interested parties.

Our commitment to the multistakeholder model is based on the fact that transparency, inclusion and participation are the 21st century standards governing discussions related to modern communications.  This is a view shared by many around the world and was most recently reiterated by a statement of civil society members and groups from around the world who participated in the “Best Bits” pre-Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting held earlier this month in Baku, Azerbaijan.  The U.S. Government wishes to lend its support to the spirit of the recommendations contained in the statement. 

We have and will continue to advocate for an Internet that is not dominated by any one player or group of players, and one that is free from bureaucratic layers that cannot keep up with the pace of change.  We will work with everyone to ensure that we have a global Internet that allows all voices to be heard. 

Updated: November 30, 2012 - 02:51 PM
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