Talk:Bridging the urban-rural digital gap – a commercial or community effort? – PL 01 2018

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Date of the Zoom call: Friday, April 20, 2018


· Kristina Olausson, Policy Officer, ETNO

· Melle Tiel Groenestege, Digital Policy Advisor, VEON

· Mariam Sulaberidze, International Relations and Project Management Office, Georgian National Communications Commission

· Giorgi Dapkviashvili, Head of ICT Development Division, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia

· Maarit Palovirta, Senior Manager, Regional Affairs Europe, Internet Society

· Ucha Seturi, Executive Director, Small and Medium Operators Association of Georgia

· Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, Subject Matter Expert

· Sandro Karumidze, Focal Point

Link to the recording;

Minutes of the discussion:


Connectivity officially is maybe available everywhere in EU, but in rural bandwidth sometimes is not good – in some areas connectivity is provided via mobile or satellite.

With 5G it is going to be the same story –coverage will be firstly provided to the cities and highways

Need to talk about issues related to all EU and Europe

No immediate cure

Need to focus on rural areas


There is broadband plan for Ukraine

EU gave money to Armenia for concavity in remote areas

Need to discuss supply and Demand issue

3G coverage in most parts of Ukraine and 4G rolling from February 2018. Internet use is 50%. Infrastructure not used fully.

In some countries there are government owned fiber optic

VEON supports infrastructure sharing.


Update from Georgia:

1) Regulation of Internet Service Quality by the regulator (Georgian National Communication Commission - comment by S.K. )

2) Broadband Strategy Development for Georgia is going to be supported by World bank

3) Internet Exchange Point problem still exist – affects ISPs in ISPs in remote areas


It is important to know what are the challenges in EU so we learn from that experience ein Georgia?

EU is going support broadband strategy for Georgia


Need to focus on rural – remote area coverage. How to provide access to everybody there.

Government, business, community –what are their roles and how can they coordinate efforts - cooperate

Would be interesting to have speaker form European Commission – to hear about EU picture but also about Eastern Partnership Programs - including regulatory harmonization process

Since it is going to be first panel will be pressure to have high-ranking panelist

Will be pressure on moderator to keep order


It is Important to define goals – objectives for connectivity strategy. Need to define short term and long term goals. E.g – do you want to certain broadband concavity immediately or to solve connectivity problem for many years ahead by building fiber optic backbone.

Also how you define sustainability – for how long project should run before, as an option, it is overtaken by. commercial ISP.


Sustainability is important for community and government built networks as well

ISO is working on case paper of sustainability and plan to launch it at EuroDIG.

So there will be some new information from ISOC side – some lessons learned base on previous experience


The session will start with Tusheti Project presentation, which will lead into discussion


Will check if there is cases of cooperation between VEOM and community


Georgian experience is that larger ISPs went against state fiber optic backbone network in Georgia.


Can share ETNO perceptive – CN good complement

There is demand aggregation

But it should not distort competition

Different business models should compete on same condition

Though they have different quality requirements, completion should not be unfair

It should be technology neutral and business model neutral.


Will check if there are example of cooperation between ETNO members and governments on broadband strategy implementation and with CN.


Wil be nice to follow Tusheti presentation with some examples where commercial ISPs, CN or governments have solved remote area connectivity issues.

EU/EC representative will talk about policy framework and funding perspectives

Businesses about their approach

ISOC about community network experience

But what do we want to solve, what is the objective of the session? What are the biggest challenges?


For me it is how to build broadband strategy for rural areas in Georgia. What is the way forward.


To structure discussion:

Connectivity for un connected

What are typical challenges:

1) Money and how to make projects sustainable

2) Competitive element / technology neutrality – how to ensure that

3) Policies and programs ( e.g. World bank program, Easter partnership, connectivity for All)

4) Regularity hurdles

Can have different angles on this from different panelists


Readiness of community is also important on demand side


So maybe it can be the forth point (and Regularity issue be part of the third point).


Need to discuss - what are the community role in providing internet access. Are CN still relevant? Need to start questioning this and see what comes out of the discussion.


Regulatory issues could be regulation related to network sharing – towers, spectrum etc.

Policies – could mean funding, but also if there are coherent strategy for providing connectivity for all policies e.g. national broadband strategy


Likes four pillars


Need to talk about regularity issues since there are countries prohibiting CN that are not related to incumbent telecoms or the require licensing to carry services through third party


IoT could be important in rural areas - can generate demand. Can provide government with services.


This can generate demand – like this idea


There are technical solution for different environments/condition. Prohibitive regulation is often an issue.

Would be nice if Tusheti project is followed by description of regulatory environment that made this project possible and how cooperation between different parties supported this project.


would be nice to have high ranking speaker from Georgia.


would be nice to have Deputy Minster – this will attract other high ranking speakers.

But he need to be able familiar with the subject, what are regulations and policies in Georgia that supported Tusheti, what are the challenges and plans. Need to be able to engage into discussion.

EuroDIG 2018 PL1 Call #2 - Discussion summary

Date of the Zoom call: Friday, May 10, 2018


Melle Tiel Groenestege, Digital Policy Advisor, VEON

Maarit Palovirta, Senior Manager, Regional Affairs Europe, Internet Society

Ucha Seturi, Executive Director, Small and Medium Operators Association of Georgia

Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, Subject Matter Expert

Sandro Karumidze, Focal Point

Nino Kubinidze, Opennet

Topics discussed:

  • Candidates for the PS roles: Key participants, Session moderator, Remote Moderator, Reporters
  • Session Title
  • Session Scope


Key Moderators:

Decided to have rather 5 Key participants:

Raúl Echeberría, Vice President Global Engagement, Internet Society, ( Global NGO) (confirmed) Giorgi Cherkezishvili, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia ( National Government)(confirmed) Marta Capelo Gaspar, Director of Public Policy | ETNO (ISP industry) (confirmed) Representative of VEON ( ISP industry) (confirmed) Michal Boni (MEP) EU, he is a former Minister of Digitalisation in Poland (to be confirmed or, in order to keep gender balance, as an alternative have female MEP) Session moderator

In order to keep gender balance decided to have female moderator. Org team liked idea to have Maarit Palovirta ( suggested by Nino), pending additional consultations with EuroDIG secretariat in order to avoid impression that there is too much ISOC influence.

Also there is an idea to have co-moderator who will located with the audience, possibly female, young (from YouthDIG), possibly Georgia. Ucha suggested Natalia Saginashvili.

Olivier will provide feedback regarding moderator roles.

Remote Moderator:

Will choose from Georgian participants ( Georgian Org team members will recommend someone)


Need to have experienced people - Olivier will ask EuroDIG secretariat for names.

Session title: Recommended title: Bridging the urban-rural digital gap – a commercial or community effort?

Session Scope:

Decided to keep 4 pillars and touch other topics during discussion:

Financing and how to make projects sustainable Competitive element / technology neutrality – how to ensure that Policies, programs and regulations ( e.g. World bank program, Easter partnership, connectivity for All) Ensuring demand Lightning speech:

Rati Kotchlamazashvili will deliver the speak.

Nino suggested to have remote participants from Tusheti using Internet link. Will need to provide translation.

Other topics:

Decided to give each Key participant only one slide - diagram or other visual to use in his speech

Need to have nice visual on the screen during the period when participants are not using their slides.

This session is the first on EuroDIG and can be used for introduction of other topics/session - e.g. mentioning importance of IoT in the regions will lead to the IoT session.

Need to introduce the photo exhibition covering Tusheti project - can be done by Raul or Giorgi Cherkezishvili.

Here is a recording of the call: