Navigating Challenges and Strengthening Ukraine's and European Internet Infrastructure – TOPIC 01 Sub 02 2023
20 June 2023 | 11:30 - 12:15 EEST | Main auditorium | |
Consolidated programme 2023 overview / Main Topic 1
Proposals: #10 #16 #38 #52
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The main focus of the session is to explore how the Ukrainian Internet community maintains critical infrastructure resilience during ongoing war, highlighting best practices, still-existing vulnerabilities, and international support efforts.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the country's infrastructure and its resilience. Russia’s aggressive actions have caused extensive damage to critical infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, airports, hospitals, and schools, leading to the displacement of millions of people worldwide. But beyond that, the Internet infrastructure has also suffered significantly, resulting in numerous negative outcomes, including disrupted communication channels, limited access to reliable information, the deprivation of emergency services in war zone areas, and other challenges caused by heavy reliance on Internet services in the modern era.
The session will draw on the experiences of key organisations involved in Internet functioning, with a particular focus on RIPE NCC, which has played a critical role in supporting the Ukrainian Internet community and ensuring the inviolability of the country's critical infrastructure. The discussion will showcase the results of consolidation projects and research in this area, as well as proven "practices on the ground." Additionally, the session will explore strategies to counter threats in the European and, above all, Scandinavian dimension, which persist due to Russia's ongoing aggressive actions.
The primary goal of this session is to explore effective practices and approaches that support the operability and resilience of Internet infrastructure affected by war, so that the lessons learned from Ukraine can be applied in other regions experiencing similar crises.
The session will be structured as a 45-minute panel discussion featuring experts in the field and a moderator.
- Articles and Publications:
- Phokeer, Amreesh (24 February 2023). Case Study: Ukraine – A Role Model for Internet Resilience. Available via this link.
- Cowie, Jim (18 January 2023). Internet Infrastructure Predictions for 2023: Ukraine Internet to Prevail, Central Asia to Increase Internet Resilience in Response to War. Available via this link.
- Aben, Emile (10 March 2022). The Resilience of the Internet in Ukraine. Available via this link.
- Aben, Emile (14 April 2023). The Resilience of the Internet in Ukraine - One Year On. Available via this link.
- Siddiqui, Aftab (23 February 2023). Ukraine War: How has the Internet Changed in Ukraine 12 Months on. Available via this link.
- Ibrahim, Hisham (24 May 2023). Fulfilling Our [RIPE] Mandate in Wartime. Available via this link.
- Initiatives and Events:
- EU4Digital Facility (13 February 2023). Keeping connected: connectivity resilience in Ukraine. Available via this link.
- RIPE NCC Open House: Internet in Ukraine (2 March 2023). Discussion on the Internet in Ukraine between RIPE NCC members and the Ukrainian Internet community. Available via this link.
- Other relevant materials and documents:
Links to relevant websites, declarations, books, documents. Please note we cannot offer web space, so only links to external resources are possible. Example for an external link: Main page of EuroDIG
Please provide name and institution for all people you list here.
- Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
- Tatiana Tropina
- Yrjö Länsipuro
The Subject Matter Experts (SME) support the programme planning process throughout the year and work closely with the Secretariat. They give advice on the topics that correspond to their expertise, cluster the proposals and assist session organisers in their work. They also ensure that session principles are followed and monitor the complete programme to avoid repetition.
- Vladislav Ivanets, Free Moscow University, Journalist and Media Researcher
- Liljana Pecova Ilieska, IMPETUS Center for Internet, Development and Good Governance
Focal Points take over the responsibility and lead of the session organisation. They work in close cooperation with the respective Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the EuroDIG Secretariat and are kindly requested to follow EuroDIG’s session principles
Organising Team (Org Team) List Org Team members here as they sign up.
- Amali De Silva-Mitchell
- Nicola Frank
- André Melancia
- Marko Ala-Fossi
- Steffann Sander
- Adam Zagorecki
- Alena Muravska
- Oksana Prykhodko
- Marlene Straub
- Fotjon Kosta
- Gianluca Diana
- Signe Ravn
- Kaj Backman
- Olena Kushnir
The Org Team is a group of people shaping the session. Org Teams are open and every interested individual can become a member by subscribing to the mailing list.
- Alena Muravska, Programme Management Officer, RIPE NCC (ON-SITE)
- Olena Kushnir, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the WebPro.UA LLC (ONLINE)
- Marko Ala-Fossi, Senior Lecturer of Journalism at Tampere University, New Nordic Agenda supervisor (ON-SITE)
- Kaj Backman, Programme Director of YLE, Finnish Broadcasting Company (ON-SITE)
- Kaj Backman is the Administrative Head of the News and Current Affairs unit at the Finnish public service broadcasting company YLE, handling its preparedness and contingency planning. Having been with the company for over 20 years, he has a background in news and current affairs journalism.
Lighting talks given by:
- Andrii Nabok, Head of Fixed Broadband Department of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine (ONLINE)
- Sander Steffann, Founding Board Member and Secretary of the Global NOG Alliance (ON-SITE)
- Oksana Prykhodko, Executive Director, European Media Platform (ON-SITE)
Key Participants are experts willing to provide their knowledge during a session – not necessarily on stage. Key Participants should contribute to the session planning process and keep statements short and punchy during the session. They will be selected and assigned by the Org Team, ensuring a stakeholder balanced dialogue also considering gender and geographical balance. Please provide short CV’s of the Key Participants involved in your session at the Wiki or link to another source.
- André Melancia, Technical community, Portugal (ON-SITE)
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- relate to the particular session and to European Internet governance policy
- are forward looking and propose goals and activities that can be initiated after EuroDIG (recommendations)
- are in (rough) consensus with the audience
Current discussion, conference calls, schedules and minutes
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- dates for virtual meetings or coordination calls
- The Firs Org Team Call was held on April 4, 2023 (find summary below)
- The Second Org Team Call was held on May 8, 2023 (find summary below)
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Rapporteur: Boris Begović, Geneva Internet Platform
- Ukrainian operatives are seeking to share their unique experiences in responding to Internet disruptions, threats, and other challenges with the wider community. A call for action was made at the Best Current Operational Practices Task Force, urging the community to help document Ukrainian operators’ experiences and turn them into practical guidelines.
- These guidelines would cover areas such as rebuilding networks, increasing resilience and creating future-proof infrastructure.
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>>> ANDRE MELANCIA: I hope that you enjoyed your break and are coming back to start our next session.
The next session is subtopic 2, navigating challenges and strengthening Ukraine’s and European Internet infrastructure. To mad rate this session, I invite Andre Melancia from the technical community from Portugal to come on to the stage.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Okay. Thank you.
Welcome, everyone. It is really great to have you all here especially a very big greeting to everyone that’s Ukrainian here today. We’ll get started on the next session, mostly about resilience and we’ll be joined – I will be joined on stage by Alena, Olena, Marko and Kaj and remotely we’ll have others as well. Welcome them as well.
So let’s get started.
This will be, as always in EuroDIG a very interactive session. You are welcome to ask questions, we’ll have two debate slots. If you’re remote, you’re welcome to keep asking questions in Zoom and then later on we’ll read them out loud.
So let’s get started.
We start with a technical problem.
Thank you. I work in Tor IT but was not prepared for this. It is important to talk about the war in Ukraine, leading to the migration of 12,000 people in Poland alone and all of the other surrounding countries and, of course, all of the people that were migrating from Ukraine to Poland and to other countries. They will consume other resources, Internet and health resources and all sorts of resources available in European Union. Putting a strain on all of Europe but nothing compared to the strain and resources in Ukraine, half have been destroyed due to the war and this is the session where we will talk about the infrastructure in Ukraine and what they are doing to be able to cope and adjust to be able to have all of the resources that they actually need.
The first panelist here, we’ll mention one thing, we have Andril Nabok joining us remotely as well, doing a session just an hour ago around numbers, and he will also be joining us for some discussion time, but for now, we’ll talk about some things that RIPE NCC has been working on and we have Alena to talk about that. Thank you.
>> ALENA MURAVSKA: Since the beginning of the full scale invasion, our researchers looked at the Ukrainian Internet and looked at the certain technical aspects and how we may help the country stay connected.
Research we did highlighted two factors that are contributing to the resiliency of the Internet. First factor, it is very low market concentration at the end user market. If you look at HHI, which is an economic indicator for market concentration, Ukraine will be one of the least concentrated markets worldwide. What’s that mean? It means that there are no dominant players and no individual networks on which the whole pertinent is dependent. It is relatively a small effect, if one of the networks will go down.
It’s important to know that most of the networks provide connectivity to many end users, they are Ukrainian private companies, which means that it is difficult to forcefully cut the connectivity from the outside. That could be from Russia, for example.
The second factor, the interconnectivity, so Ukrainian Internet has a lot of options to interconnect between networks. It comes down between individual networks and so so-called Internet Exchange Points. The database lists 19 exchange points in Ukraine and our measurements indicate that 13 of the exchange points were actively used to interconnect.
In 2023 unfortunately we have seen a decrease of many indicators, and interconnectivity, it is one of them, inevitable after such a long prolonged war. What we have seen, despite some connectivity going down, we have seen new connections created and also have seen the stable amount of SPEs being affected. That’s a signal that the country is very well connected.
On this slide, you see a visual representation of the complexity of the Ukrainian Internet. This is a Ukrainian network, and the pink, it is a foreign network providing transit. You see pink, I hope you can see it on the big screen better, you see the pink all over, there is no one single point where Ukraine is connected to the outside world.
Again, this is also something that shows how con be next Ukraine is.
You can scan this QR code bringing you to the Article of my colleague who you will see much more detailed information about what I just told, you can also have – see the resource we did at the beginning of the war. I would be happy to take questions about that in the discussion.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: In a bit, we’ll have some time for discussion.
You are welcome to start asking questions if you are on Zoom.
Now next up, we were supposed to have another panelist Marko cannot be here because of other situations.
We have underground cables spanning over the globe and we have more communication happening in the oceans than actually happening on land. One of the issues we have had, it is that there has been some sabotage in some underwater cables and that leads to loss of Internet and other consequences that reflect everyday lives. As you all know, the Internet isn’t connected with anything related to even healthcare, anything that’s life threatening, has something to do with the Internet nowadays and the loss of Internet will have consequences for everyone, not just for Ukraine but for everyone around Europe and around the world.
There’s been a situation with a cable in January of 2022 where the cable was actually cut. I will not get into a lot of details. It would have been Marko’s presentation, just to mention that these situations exist and others may exist in the future. This is something that people including NATO are paying very close attention to these days and also the Nordic countries that we have here, Finland, Sweden, Norway, et cetera, are also at great lengths looking at the situation.
We also have as you all know the Nordstream sabotage some time ago and last week, two weeks ago, we had the destruction of the dam in a river can a lot of consequences, not just of course environmental but also consequences for all populations interest the point where it erupted up to the end of the river, more than 100 kilometers away. It affected populations, it affected wildlife and caused massive destruction.
Next up, we have Oksana Prykhodko and we’re happy to have her as a representative of the European media platform in Ukraine to talk to us a bit about some of the numbers related to Internet users in Ukraine.
>> OKSANA PRYKHODKO: Thank you very much.
Thank you. I would like to present results of the project, Internet identifiers in time of war with financial support from RIPE NCC.
This project consists of several parts, just now we completed the Ukrainian end user survey, you can see some results on the slide. I would like to share my personal experience from the Internet use in Ukraine. 9% of Ukrainians survived temporary occupation of Ukraine. 37% of them did not have Internet access at all during this temporary occupation.
What’s that mean? A very close friend, this friend lives in Finland by the way, survived the occupation, aggressors destroyed all telecommunication equipment from the very first day of occupation and this sister could not use any telecommunication communication means, she could not write message electronic message, she could not use mobile telephone, she could not give us a note that she was alive. She only wrote paper notes with telephone numbers and gave them those who tried to escape the occupation and asked them to call these numbers and say to us that she is alive.
When under occupation, it was for 256 days, telecommunication equipment was not destroyed, but Internet traffic was rerouted to Russian ISPs. We just had discussed One World, One internet, there is no One World, One Internet, at least two worlds, two Internets.
And inhabitants experienced this on their own. Just now we have to – of course, every Ukrainian had used this, but it was extremely dangerous during the occupation. Just now, you have to understand what is going on the left bank after that terrorist act on the electric station where aggressors blocked the Internet and mobile access to prevent sharing of information regarding flooding and to prevent asking to save lives for inhabitants of this territory.
The situation in unoccupied territories, before attacks on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine, access to the Internet was more or less table by huge costs for all providers. After the beginning they had electricity on a few hours a day or even in a week, or maybe no electricity for very long time.
What does it mean? It means that majority of Ukrainians are alone, long distance remotely, they could not do it without Internet access, you could not pay for food or with a card, you could not call the Internet taxi, so on, and actually I would like to stop here and not comment on the situation from the perspective of Internet providers because there are Ukrainian Internet providers here and online.
Thank you very much.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you. We will continue to talk to you for a bit. Let me try to get the next slides, we have one or two issues with this. Here we go.
This is a question that I wanted to ask you, we’re now in the debate area and I wanted to ask you about what about the players, not the individual users of the Internet but the players themselves, what’s happening with that as well?
>> They have alternative smartphones, power banks, even generators, they’re very small in the housing and there is one more danger because of fires and so on because it is not – how to say, fitted for such use.
On the other side, you have the point of instability, so you can go to shelter, you can go to some private entity to recharge our smartphone, to access Internet, so on. Just now I would like maybe we can return to the previous slide. If we’re talking about the resilience of Ukrainian Internet, our respondents did not – do not see any of the same threats such as energy blackout or destroying of telecommunication equipment, but they say threats from disinformation, misinformation, fake news, so on.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you. Before yesterday, we had a session on fake news and that covered a lot of topics related to the current situation where the fake news brings out the narrative that justifies in some way all of these war, all of the scenarios.
Anyway, I wanted to open up the floor for anyone who would like to ask questions, any volunteers? Please go ahead, please join us.
>> Thank you very much. I’m from Portugal, from the governmental side.
I just saw the responses to the questionnaire, and I’m a bit puzzled with the responses, like only 9% of the people, they perceive threats in Ukraine on the Internet? Only 9% of people perceive threats on fake news? 8%, lack of personal data protection, and 8% network availability. I found these numbers really small. I would expect something much more higher. What’s wrong here or is there nothing wrong? It is the situation as it is now?
>> Thank you for this. I was surprised with such results.
First of all, I would like to explain the question was data protection, concerns about data protection in Ukraine is extremely Lou because there’s no data protection culture in Ukraine and this is one explanation.
Regarding fake new, I think that you have extremely powerful campaign on counteracting disinformation and actually even our Ukrainian activists shared fake news by themselves on Facebook and then explained just maybe funny, you did not know that this is how a Ukrainian student wins metaverse Olympics, something like that. A lot of – a million of sharing of this disinformation and then the order of this had – the author of the information said are you crazy, how can you believe in this? Please check what you do share. This is another explanation.
The main conclusion for us, it is that Ukrainians are – the Ukraine mobile operators, other, they can secure Internet in Ukraine. This is my.
>> AUDIENCE: Users believe in the Internet?
>> Yes. Absolutely.
>> AUDIENCE: Okay. Very interesting. Thank you.
>> I would like to say some of them have changed Internet providers, and they changed – how to say – priorities for not the lowest price, the highest speed, but maybe new technologies, independence of electricity, so on.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: We have one more question.
>> Just a comment on connectivity and service providers in Ukraine. I don’t know – was already told that there are many competitions, open market, so on, so on, so on, I just tell you the numbers.
In my parents’ house, in Kiev, it is just a 9-story building, a regular building in this district, there are 19 Internet service providers, 19 cables came to the house. 19. For Europe, it is amazing, but it is true.
If somebody is suffering from a fiber cut, so on, it is easy to switch because of high competition in even in war time.
The second, price of the connectivity, it is about 5 euros per one gigabit a month. The prices are quite low for Ukraine, even now., I talked – there are essential providers, 3 or 5 simultaneously.
So there’s a lot of devices that can switch their cable automatically if some problem is with one provider, just switch wi-fi to another one. That’s why the network availability is not a big problem, you know, in main cities, it is not a problem at all, in small cities, in villages, there are more than one cable, so it is possible to make a choice and redundant connectivity even in the villages.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Not sure if you want to make a quick comment on this?
>> We have highly competitive market in Ukraine. We had. But now, no competition, maybe I’m wrong, but this is from the point of view from end users, for example, all three mobile operators, they organized all national roaming, so that you can choose anyone. Before full scale aggression, each of the operators, they were fighting for every client but now they are united with their forces.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: I think we have one last question for this debate round and then we’ll come back to a different debate.
>> It is really good to be in person again. A lot of steps, thank you very much.
>> There was a prop significance, we have the Minister of I fairs so –
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Later on we’ll have more speakers that can help with this, especially Andril Nabok maybe.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Are you there remotely?
>> ANDRIL NABOK: I am.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Welcome.
>> ANDRIL NABOK: Thank you. About Starlink, it is very important thing to maintain our people, to maintain the connection for access to information.
For example, after liberation of the territories, Starlink is the only way done next to the Internet because after liberation, a lot of networks are destroyed and interactive operators are not able to reconstruct the network immediately because of a lot of territory, a lot of mines, so the operators need the procedure of territory data mining. For example, after liberation, our mobile operator installed portable base station but there is no source of traffic because all fiber networks are destroyed.
On the of second day, after liberation, we transfer it and it was 200 Starlink terminals and mobile operators used the terminals as a source of traffic, as well as fixed operators as they installed the Starlink terminal, they were it the main traffic and the backbone operators restored the backbone network.
As part of Starlink, we installed at 5 points. After liberation, a few weeks, people didn’t have any connection, any secular connection, any Internet connection, so we installed Starlink terminals in a few points of the city and people were able to connect to wi-fi, to call relatives, friends, say, we’re okay, we’re alive after liberation. After last actions, actions of Russia in the South of Ukraine, destroying of the base station, so also in these situation, people had only one week to connect to the Internet, to the Starlink terminals. So Starlink, it is very important, and the satellite Internet, during the war, it was usable not only for militaries but for others. Thank you.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you very much, Andrii.
>> Very quickly, the question is more with the realities, because I don’t understand, the years to install any satellite equipment in any country, including Ukraine, it should be certified, legally imported and should be – the frequencies should be registered in the registry.
The question or the situation, it is that it is a very big amount of traffic so no, all of the formalities was not maintained. It just – even just the tax for import were canceled for these devices. I think for formalities, it will be fulfilled after the victory, but right now, it is just a an emergency situation, there was no formalities, even as you may know, the Ukraine has one of the world’s strongest Internet censorship in the world right now, even stronger than Russia, but Starlink company does not comply with it and it was okay for this situation because of the need for lack of connectivity.
Also there was some initiative from the ministry, to the usage of Starlink for personal usage, just for governmental or for the military, but – people were very angry about it, this initiative, it was canceled and regular people could use this.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you.
Would you like to address this? No.
Would you like to continue and address this part as well, please?
>> ANDRII NABOK: So I can answer to the question all of my concerns and all my thoughts about the impact before I mentioned in the presentation. If you have questions, I can answer.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you very much.
Indeed, if you haven’t seen Andrii Nabok pre presentation at the beginning of the day today, look at the videos when available. Okay. Next up, we have another remote participant, Olena.
>> OLENA KUSHNIR: Thank you very much. I’m Director and cofounder of a Ukraine company, and Russia had sent 20 drones and there are challenges that make us stronger. And, of course, the challenges give us new experience.
Could you give please next slide, is it possible? Here are some of the challenges we face every day and during the war, blackouts, constant missile attacks, destroyed infrastructure, constant cyberattacks, dangerous working conditions, mobilization and lack of Ukrainian resources. 80% were destroyed by massive attacks and home providers have actively switched technologies. Business providers, they have more difficulties because it was necessary to equip the technical side with the power supply systems and generators. Also providers using Starlink especially are free from the occupations and you can see the city immediately after the liberation and a return back to – you have not correct information, that the infrastructure, it was not destroyed.
The next page. If this is possible.
Next page of my presentation, please. Is it possible?
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: We have technical issues and will be back in a second. Sorry about that. That’s what happens when we have the live sessions.
>> OLENA KUSHNIR: Yes. This is the challenges.
Next slide, please.
Yes. This, of course, these people, they just come to the central part to look at the possibility as said, calling their relatives, saying their alive. Many were shelters, and there are hidden shelters where you can find free Internet, free tea, comfortable workplace.
Next slide, please.
This is the Director, owner of a provider in a region. It is only 50 kilometers from heavy occupied had continued, and due to lack of employers, a person spent a night at the technical side to control the work of the generators.
Next slide, please.
Ukraine is still subjected to a large number of massive attacks and drone strikes every day. The telecommunication structure, it was in various regions and suffered serious damage.
Next slide, please.
As Andrii talked in the presentation, this is an important picture, in 9 of March this year, Russia launched 81 missiles, at different regions of Ukraine, and some missiles hit infrastructure which were monitoring and on this slide here, you can see the drone around the slide, you can see how the traffic slowed and how this region remained liaison statement without communication.
Next slide, please.
Of course dangerous working condition. This QR code, you can find a link to the Google folder where you will find many folders from the war, in the Telecom sphere.
This is a sad story about one of the biggest Ukrainian Telecom operator, the driver, they were seriously in charge. We have strong, unbreakable and we risk our lives every day that the Ukrainian Internet will not fragment from the World Networks and, of course, thank you very much for our Ministry of Digital Ideation for Ukraine for supporting, and of course – this is a voluntary to keep the Ukraine connected.
Thank you very much that you stay with Ukraine. Thank you very much.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you very much.
Within we have Alena talking about community efforts and staying in place to address these issues.
>> ALENA MURAVSKA: Thank you. You have seen and heard personal stories today, you all know from the news that Ukraine, the Ukrainian technical community is not an exception, going for unprecedented times, and they’re dealing with all possible threats every day. We organized an open house, and we also invited Ukrainian operators and an owner of a small XP who said that they have learned to make decisions quickly, react to threats and to use new technologies, and thanks to this, they kept Ukraine connected.
Ukrainian operators are building this unique experience of how to respond to such threats and they’re willing to share the experiences to the broader community. Those who have the most experience, one of the persons on the Olena slides, they were sleeping in the data centre, they have other priorities, they need to deal with daily with, and they need help to translate that experience into Best Practiced. So the we did a call for best actions at the taskforce, at the ripe age of 6 this year, and we asked the community how Ukrainian operators could document their experience and turn it into Best Practices. The practices could be, for example, how to rebuild destroyed network, how to make existing networks more resilient, but also how to build networks from scratch and this is a valid point for Europe also, if you want to invest in the network, you can learn from Ukrainians where you better invest in that equipment and how it will help you reach through difficult circumstances. Why this work is important, why this work is important now, experiences that are not documented, they often get lost and if documented and shared, it can save valuable time and even lives.
We have formed a group of volunteers from the community who will conduct a series of interviews as Ukrainian operators and to record this experience, this will become a basis for the future document with the current working title best operational practices to survive natural disaster or war. The RIPE NCC, we’re a Secretariat for the community and we provide support to this work and we will report on this work, at the progress in the next RIPE meeting in Rome this year.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you very much. Next up we have Kaj Backman working for the Finnish broadcasting company YLE, because of technical problems, I’ll hang on to this, otherwise we’ll spend all night here.
Let’s move on.
We do have some issues.
>> KAJ BACKMAN: In times of crisis, an armed conflict, pandemic, social or financial turmoil, the public need for news journalism ceases and this is why news organizations, especially public service ones have to be resilient and prepared and have a good contingency planning. The Finnish Broadcasting Company worked a lot with these issues for decades due to Finland’s location and history but still the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine made us think about a shift in preparedness paradigm, see if we can get that next slide.
We used to think that in a time of major crisis, we would centralize our operations, go underground, work from bomb shelters, bunkers, but now we think differently. We think more about scattering out around the country, working from different locations using cloud technology and like with production tools. This way of working requires uninterrupted and seamless access to the Internet and especially the international Internet outside Finnish borders. We wanted to see what happens if access to the global Internet is cut. For example, if sea cables connecting Finland to the worldwide web are damaged or cut.
So in April we built a newsroom, staff it had with journalists and computers, working the way they would in a breaking news situation, and cutoff access to the global internal from this room. The only Internet available was the Internet moving within Finnish borders just to see what happens.
Findings were to some extent surprising, some extent not. We found the exercise still very useful. Of course, we had no access to everyday working tools, and office programmes. We knew that, and that’s why we have backup systems. We have problems in getting access and logging in to the backup systems. We are used to redistributing everything, guidelines, manuals through emails and chats. If they don’t work, that’s a big problem.
Interestingly enough, we found that several Finnish authorities, agencies, websites, they were inaccessible, located either outside of the Finnish borders or a connecting point needed outside of Finnish borders to reach them.
We’re going do more of exercises like this, we have to make the staff familiar with the situation where international Internet access may be disrupted and we have to have more manuals on paper, readily printed out, spread throughout our offices in the entire country and updated annually. And we need to get the paper phone directory back. We’re used to using digital phone directories online and if they don’t work, who will you call when the crisis hits?
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you.
We’re short on time, we’ll move to Sander Steffann, welcome, responsible for a project, keep Ukraine connected mitigating a lot of the issues, please talk to us about that.
>> SANDER STEFFANN: Next slide, please.
Here are pictures from network operators in Ukraine just to show you, it has been mentioned, there is lots of smaller operators and there are – one back, please – there is lots of fiber in the ground and for some reason this seems to be incompatible with the exploding tanks, if you look at the bottom picture in the middle, the guys with the red jackets, what’s in the background is actually the wreckage of a tank. What we did was we looked at what Ukrainian operators needed and we tried to provide it to them from the Internet community.
The community is really strong. We started this project and we have been overwhelmed with support from all around the community. If you look, we shipped 3775 different items, some are small ISPs, small things, some are 37 high routers, and we did 16 trips, we collected over 200,000 euros in financial donations and those are actually used to buy, for example, fiber splices, the devices necessary to fix broken fibers.
So a lot of the things that we aim for were already mentioned, and we’re not directly supporting the government, the military, the big mobile operators. They usually have lots of resources and connections. Were focused on helping the smaller ISPs in the region, providing them with equipment to fix their networks, helping them rebuild the data centres. We have seen pictures of the data centres around Kiev that were occupied and then the Russians moved away and destroyed everything on their way out.
So they needed everything from routers to PCs, power equipment, you name it. We have lots of different companies from all around the world donating all of this type of equipment.
Like I said, we actually focused on what the Ukrainians need.
We don’t want to just ship the old junk to Ukraine. We actually asked what do you need and then tried to provide it.
So power equipment, splicers, those were really important, and difficult to get secondhand. We got lots of equipment from Microsoft, sending a massive shipment our way, and so we got a lot of support from the community and I’m really proud to see the technical Internet community has achieved here.
>> ANDRE MELANCIA: Thank you very much.
We’re very short on time. We have some remote –
– some remote comments. Please go ahead.
>> Unfortunately, we don’t actually center time to go to remote comments as we are ending our session time. And we would like to encourage you to continue this discussion, both online and offline. We will be back in 15 minutes, at 12:30 to start subtopic 3, protecting citizens in times of crisis. Thank you very much. Thank you to the peek speakers and to the moderator, Andre Melancia, for this session.