IN CONVERSATION India Can Shape The Future Of Internet’

The CEO of ICANN is gung-ho about India taking on a more central role in the governance of a digital economy and realising its true potential

Photograph by Ritesh Sharma

ADI Chehade, CEO of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), sees India playing a critical role in shaping the future of the Internet; it is already among the fastest growing Internet economies. Backing India as one of the global contenders for Internet regula­tion rights, he believes that it is time for the coun­try to make its presence felt on the world platform and ensure it has a greater say in regulating the flow of online information. He also feels that In­dia is central to the growth of the Internet, as the next billion users will emerge from this country. Speaking to BW \ Bminessworld, Chehade says that ICANN wants to create the world’s first Do­main Name System security’ centre of excellence in India. Excerpts from the interview:

 

soils in the decision-making processes at ICANN.

What are the factors that India should consider while charting its global Internet governance?

First, India needs to build a national consensus involving the private sec­tor, government and civil society. Then, the country should have a national platform that can be institu­tionalised for a longer term to frame its global plan and engagement with Internet governance, which will be congruent with regional and global policies. However, if these policies become ‘unsynchronised’, businesses will end up suffering.

What should India do to develop a robust Internet economy?

There are many frictions that are taking away Internet value and hin­dering the digital economy. Accord­ing to a study by Boston Consulting Group, around the world, 55 factors, including content, policies, indi­viduals and skills, create frictions in the digital economy and deter it from advancing. India ranked 58 out of the 67 countries covered, which is not a very good score for a country that drives much of the digital economy. India will have to improve a lot and the government will have to keep its commitment to
developing infrastructure.

However, India adds 10 mil­lion Internet users every month. It has the skills, knowledge, content and languages to score and grow its share in the digital economy. Among all economies, digital economy has the fastest growth rate. The $4.2-trillion Internet sec­tor is no longer a business sector; it has moved into a horizontal one that affects all other sectors. As Internet goes horizontal, we will move into a place what I call the ‘uberisation’ of all industries — we have seen what Uber did to the taxi sector. How will Internet capabilities help education.

 

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