LACNIC Prepares a New Strategic Plan
According to Wardner Maia, new Chairman of the LACNIC Board, the Internet has become as essential as running water or electricity and consequently, as Information Technology professionals, his organization should take care that “the Web is always working and meeting people’s expectations.”
This year, Wardner Maia, a Brazilian engineer specializing in the field of Telecommunications and Information Technology who has been involved with LACNIC for ten years, assumed as Chairman of the Board of the Regional Internet Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean.
In an interview with LACNIC News, Maia announced that LACNIC is preparing a new strategic plan combining the expectations of the region’s various stakeholders. “The LAC region has made significant progress, (but) there is still much work to be done,” admitted Maia.
How do you view current Internet development in Latin America and the Caribbean?
Latin America and the Caribbean are characterized by a significant diversity of cultures and socio-economic realities, a fact reflected in a wide disparity in terms of Internet development. Areas that are well-served coexist with others with a pronounced lack of availability and quality.
Although in recent years Internet penetration in the LAC region has made significant progress, there is still much work to be done to achieve a level comparable to that of other regions, both in terms of penetration as well as in terms of connection quality.
In this sense, LACNIC’s leadership role is very important in driving actions and incentives for the sector.
Do you think the Internet has changed much since you became involved in ICTs?
The Internet is constantly changing as a result of the natural evolution dictated by technological development, its consolidation as a source of information, and the creation of new and innovative services.
An apparently inexhaustible number of applications are created daily and are quickly incorporated into users’ everyday activities as if they had always existed, thus increasing the importance of the Internet in the lives of people.
How does the Internet impact your daily life?
In recent years the Internet has evolved considerably, to the point of becoming almost transparent to all of us, just as electricity and running water among other examples.
We are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet, while we paradoxically pay less attention to its existence because it is usually there, quiet and transparent. Nowadays we only remember water or electricity when they are not there; the same thing is now happening with the Internet.
For this reason, as a user of the Internet, I think its major impact on our daily lives is directly related to its lack of availability and/or improper operation. As professionals working in the field, we must take care that the Web is always working and meeting people’s expectations.
How long have you been involved with LACNIC? What were the most important changes LACNIC underwent during this period?
My first contact with LACNIC was in 2006, when I requested an ASN and IP address blocks. At the time, numbering resources for Brazil were already being allocated by LACNIC, not by Registro.br.
I confess I knew practically nothing about how resources were managed from the point of view of the RIRs, and nothing at all about participation mechanisms.
In 2008, while working in Uruguay I had the chance to visit the organization’s headquarters —much smaller than they are today— and began to follow LACNIC’s activities. In 2010 I was nominated for a position on the Board, to which I was elected that year and re-elected in 2013.
There have been many changes throughout these years: the organization has consolidated its regional leadership in Internet-related actions, with increasing professionalization of its staff and the constant implementation and improvement of participation and transparency initiatives
How do you envision the road ahead for LACNIC in the coming years?
I think in the coming years LACNIC should follow a road defined by a combination of the expectations of the various actors involved with the organization, including its members (customers), staff, related organizations and Board of Directors.
To periodically outline how the organization should act, LACNIC reviews its strategic plan based on the perceptions of these actors. This has proven to be an effective way to manage our actions.
Specifically, 2016 will be marked by one of these periodic reviews, a process that is already well underway under the coordination of our CEO. This process will initially involve all those interested in shaping the foundations of the process by reviewing and compilation expectations; the plan will later be structured and discussed.
What is the role of LACIC in the regional Internet ecosystem?
LACNIC’s institutional mission within the regional ecosystem is to manage Internet numbering resources (IP addresses and autonomous system numbers), a mission we have attempted to achieve with efficiency. I think the institution is succeeding in this task by promoting policies for managing these resources in a democratic and participatory manner.
In addition to this key mission, LACNIC has also contributed to regional Internet development through other initiatives that promote and defend the interests of the regional community, thus helping create conditions that will make the Internet an effective tool for social inclusion and economic development for all the countries and citizens of the region.
The study by LACNIC and CAF on the status of IPv6 in the region shows that only 1% of Latin America and the Caribbean is ready for the Internet of Things. In your opinion, what might be the reasons for this low adoption rate?
First, it is important to highlight the initiative that led to conducting this research. While its results show a situation that is far from ideal, it offers various indicators of the approach the institution should take as regards to the measures needed to change this reality.
We could point to several reasons that might account for the low adoption rates, including the poor IPv6 connectivity offered by certain players in certain regions, the problem of IPv6 support in customer terminals, etc. However, it would seem that the main reason lies in the fact that many actors do not see IPv6 adoption as a priority or a benefit for their business, when in fact they should be assessing how failure to adopt the protocol could be harm them in the future.
In this sense, LACNIC has played an important role in encouraging IPv6 adoption, promoting not only training and capacity building activities but also events that bring together the different stakeholders involved in the IPv6 implementation process.
What is your assessment of the discussions on the proposal for the global community to assume stewardship of the IANA functions?
Many things have happened and much work has been done since the discussion process began in early 2014 after the historic announcement by the US government of its intention to transition stewardship of the IANA functions.
After more than two years of discussions involving different communities (the number community, the domain name community and the protocol community), the final result shows that the community is mature enough to adopt a multistakeholder governance model.
The future of this process is still uncertain, as it not only depends on the stakeholders directly involved so far. However, given the consistency of the work that has been done, it would appear that the community’s efforts will be rewarded with a more permanent and sustainable ecosystem.
What are your expectations for the LACNIC meeting in Cuba?
The last event LACNIC held in Cuba was in 2003, thirteen years ago. Much has changed in LACNIC since then and the organization’s meetings have grown substantially, not only in terms of size but mainly because of the intense participation of its members. Cuba also deserves to be highlighted for its great prominence in the current scenario because of the prospects for changes in its geopolitical reality, which are giving way to the country’s even greater integration within the global community.
Many new additions will make their debut at this meeting, including the women in IT panel, the government representative panel, and many others.
All of these ingredients lead us to conclude that the meeting in Havana will be unique and will undoubtedly mark a milestone in the history of LACNIC.