Context and Objectives

 

The aim of the High Level meeting is to reach a consensus on how best to ensure the continued growth and innovation of the Internet economy. The meeting follows-up on the OECD Ministerial Meeting on The Future of the Internet Economy (17-18 June 2008) and the Seoul Declaration adopted at that meeting.

 

A key role in supporting the growth of the Internet economy is played by broadband which provides the access ramps to the Internet. In recognition of this, countries, irrespective of their level of development, have placed high priority on attaining national coverage of broadband using a range of different policies and technologies.  Sharing these policies and best practices in this area can be important in helping meet this policy objective. In addition to coverage, capacity of networks has become increasingly important with the significant increase in data traffic. New developments resulting from the convergence of broadcasting and the Internet, the development of cloud computing and the eventual shift to ‘smart’ infrastructures will place further pressure on existing capacity.  An exchange of views on how to stimulate private investment to ensure that sufficient capacity is made available and affordable is important.

 

To meet the goal of national coverage, governments need to also consider demand side policies where their role can be significant given their ability to upgrade and invest in areas such as health and education services, using the Internet as a platform to obtain efficiencies.  Smart electricity grids and smart transportation systems using high-speed Internet applications can also help in meeting policy objectives in those areas while providing a stimulus to infrastructure investment. An exchange of initiatives taken in this area can help governments in pursuit of their policy objectives.

 

Metrics play an important role in assessing the effectiveness of policies. In particular, the ability to benchmark national developments against similar developments in other countries can help put domestic growth and economic activity in perspective. An aim of the meeting will also be to obtain consensus on the key measures needed to benchmark developments as well as exchange views on the impact of the Internet, in particular via broadband, on the economy.

 

There is widespread consensus that the openness of the Internet, and the multi-stakeholder framework,  have been key factors in stimulating innovation and economic growth.  As a global resource there is a common interest among countries to find consensus on how to maintain a vibrant and open Internet economy and to exchange views on best practice. Internet intermediaries, which have been important in bringing together and facilitating transactions between third parties on the Internet, have played a crucial role in the Internet economy and it has become increasingly  important to clarify their roles in the context of public policy, their legal responsibilities and related liability limitations.

 

In recent years there has been increasing concern that the openness of the Internet is eroding with negative consequences on the dynamism of the Internet and related economic activity. Industry initiatives and co-regulatory initiatives by industry and government have in many cases facilitated access to and use of the Internet, however there have been instances where relatively heavy-handed government initiatives have been viewed as leading to potential harm. For this reason it is important to consider adopting shared common principles to help policymakers set the parameters for any action taken as well as work towards building trust in the Internet economy both at national levels as well as in cross-border economic activity.