CONSOLIDATED REPORT CONCEPT/ ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING TASIM/EURACA INITIATIVE

 

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CONSOLIDATED REPORT CONCEPT/ ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING TASIM/EURACA INITIATIVE

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CONSOLIDATED REPORT CONCEPT/ ROADMAP FOR IMPLEMENTING TASIM/EURACA INITIATIVE

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UNDP AZERBAIJAN MISSION REPORT PREPARATION OF CONCEPT PAPER/ROAD MAP FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EURASIAN CONNECTIVITY ALLIANCE (EURACA) PROJECT COMPONENT: “ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EURASIAN CONNECTIVITY ALLIANCE”.

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THIS REPORT CONTAINS FIVE DELIVERABLES INCLUDING THE FOUR ONES REQUIRED BY THE TOR, NAMELY: 1. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS REPORT (REQUIRED) 2. NEEDS ASSESSMENT (REQUIRED) 3. INSTITUTIONAL MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE OF EURASIAN CONNECTIVITY ALLIANCE (REQUIRED) 4. PRESENTATION (REQUIRED) 5. CONCEPT PAPER FOR UN THEMATIC DEBATES (ADDITIONAL) YURI MISNIKOV JUNE 2013 Disclaimer: This report represents the views of the author

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CONTENTS DELIVERABLE 1: Comparative Analysis Report ICT infrastructure in Eurasia: The TAE legacy - Trans Asia Europe fiber-optical cable system Connectivity in Eurasia: TASIM and EurACA initiatives TASIM - Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway Mobilizing international support for TASIM and EurACA Cases of successful international cooperation in large-scale ICT infrastructure development Case 2: Alliance of Civilizations – Non-infrastructural global initiative Conclusions DELIVERABLE 2: Needs Assessment “Digital divide” is changing but not disappearing DELIVERABLE 3: Institutional Management Structure of Eurasian Connectivity Alliance Critical analysis of the present vision and structure of EurACA Key immediate recommendations: Proposed strategy for EurACA Proposed organization & Institutionalization of TASIM/EurACA EurACA Connectivity Centre: Proposed Terms of Reference DELIVERABLE 4: Presentation (slide notes) in Geneva at the WISIS Forum on 15 May 2013 (made by Deputy Minister) DELIVERABLE 5: Concept paper for UN thematic debate 31 35 3 3 4 4 7 9 14 15 16 16 22 23 25 26 28 29 Case 1: Dante Consortium/GÉANT2 Networks – Pan-European/global infrastructural initiative 9

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DELIVERABLE 1: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS REPORT ICT infrastructure in Eurasia: The TAE legacy - Trans Asia Europe fiber-optical cable system T he vast Eurasian region which connects Asia with Europe belongs to the disadvantaged side of the ‘divide’ lacking a modern infrastructure to advance faster. It’s been a long story. Already in 1992, the Ministry of Posts and Communication of China, realizing the problem, proposed to construct the Trans Asia Europe fiber-optical cable system (TAE) between Shanghai and Frankfurt am Main with the link’s total length of some 21,000 km. In 1993, the Agreement for the construction and organization of TAE was signed by telecommunication administrations of China, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Ukraine and Uzbekistan (with more countries joining later). Each participating country was responsible for the construction of its own TAE segment. It was built and modernized as long as new services and technologies (such as ADSL, MPLS) have been emerging over time; originally, the TAE’s bandwidth was planned to be around 140Mbit/s. In 2006, to reflect upon the fast Internet development, it was decided to upgrade TAE to DWDM technology up to 10Gbit/s in certain segments. The TAE system offers modern telecommunication services: high speed circuits, telephony traffic, data transmission, private leased circuits, video, Internet, ISDN. At the moment, it is one of the most important international cable systems, connecting Asian and European continents with the entire world, as shown in the figures below. Figure 1: TAE topology 3

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A t the TAE’s 21th TAE Management Committee Meeting held in November 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan, the future of the TAE System was discussed. It’s become obvious that while the TAE has been highly important in connecting Eurasia to the world in the 1990s, it’s not been to maintain its viability in the rapid spread of more affordable digital technologies in the 2000s. One of the lessons that one can learn from the TAE experience has been its inability to adapt to the fast-changing technology is its primary focus on infrastructure, without addressing the needs of the end–user beyond and above the natural interest of telecom companies. Its focus on technical administration was its strength, yet at the same time it’s been its weakness that has not lead to the formation of strong intra- and inter-regional alliances and partnerships which would also include the growing importance of content and services (in addition to infrastructure) that have become an integral part of the industry’s business model. The TAE business model has become not sustainable from this point of view and could not be maintained any longer under the existing arrangements. From this perspective, Azerbaijan’s initiative to move forward with a new connectivity model which would prioritize more the socioeconomic side of infrastructure development was the right and timely decision. Connectivity in Eurasia: TASIM and EurACA initiatives TASIM - Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway U nderstanding negative consequences of being disconnected, the Government of Azerbaijan initiated • Broadband backbone infrastructure • End-users’ needs • Content and services • Institutions and better governance • Economic and social development • Regional partnerships and cooperation TASIM’s Focus: the TASIM project - Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway. It was officially announced in November 2008 by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology at the Ministers’ Summit held within the framework of the 14th Azerbaijan International Telecommunication and Information Technologies Exhibition and Conference. 4

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A special Baku Declaration in support of TASIM adopted on 11 November 2008 at the Baku Regional Ministerial Meeting with participation of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat and representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine and USA, as well as in cooperation with the GAID (UN Global Alliance for the ICT and Development), RCC (Regional Communication Commonwealth) and TAE. The declaration requested the Government of Azerbaijan to coordinate regional efforts to advance the project implementation. The invitation to join the Declaration was also sent to Bulgaria, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan that did not participate at the Meeting. It was suggested to establish a Task Force of seven experts representing Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, GAID, RCC and TAE to coordinate the initiative and appoint the Government of Azerbaijan as a party responsible for the Task Force meetings. The Declaration also asked the Government of Azerbaijan to prepare the Terms of Reference and Action Plan for the Task Force’s work and request the UN General Assembly to discuss and support this initiative. TASIM’s aim is to provide the shortest transit route between the world’s two major internet exchange points: Frankfurt and Hong Kong. The TASIM’s topology is presented on this slide. This is a vast region comprising many countries that are not adequately interconnected. TASIM goals TASIM’s main aim is to provide the shortest transit route between the world’s two major internet exchange points: Frankfurt and Hong Kong and thus become a regional information superhighway. The TASIM’s topology is presented below. The uniqueness of this project is in its potential to converge commercial gains with development goals. The increasing interest to the project is driven by the projected rapid growth in global internet traffic, expanding demand for developed telecommunications infrastructure and the emerging recognition by countries and companies of the needs to jointly build and run the trans-regional networks. 5

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T he major benefits of the project range from commercial, technological gains to social ones, such as: • Improved regional and global connectivity • Route diversification • Improved disaster resiliency • Bridging digital divide and contribution to MDGs • Low latency (information travels on the network faster) – important for finance and ICT industries • Contribution to regional innovation and modernization Developed countries will benefit from the expansion of their ICT/telecom companies to the vast and growing Eurasian markets through media-rich applications, technology transfer, cloud computing whereas the emerging economies will be able to acquire the advanced knowledge and skills needed to implement such applications. This is a vast region comprising many countries that are not adequately interconnected (see figure below). Figure 2: TASIM proposed topology 6

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usefulness as an entirely new communication medium, not just to create a transmission channel. It is about new content and the emergence of new creative industries which take proper account of the end-users’ needs; it is about stronger social impacts, better governance institutions, wider cross-border partnerships. O n the one hand, TASIM builds on the existing TAE system and its planned technical upgrade. On the other, the strategy does not aim at modernizing the TAE infrastructure alone; the overriding objective is to take it the next level of scale, quality and Mobilizing international support for TASIM and EurACA C lose collaboration between governments, businesses and international organizations will be key to realizing the TASIM project for long-term economic and social benefits for the whole region. Particular attention should be paid to connecting remote and economically underdeveloped areas of Eurasia via broadband and building the related content and services. To mobilize international support, in 2009 the Government of Azerbaijan put forward a resolution entitled “Building connectivity through Trans-Eurasian Information Superhighway; it was co-sponsored by Afghanistan, Australia , Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Canada,, Germany, India, Georgia, Switzerland, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Korea, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Moldova, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Japan and unanimously adopted on December 21, 2009 by the UN General Assembly (A/Res/64/186). The Resolution called for the implementation of the TASIM project. Following the adoption of the resolution, Non-Disclosure Agreement was signed, negotiations on consortium governance, terms & conditions have been launched. Operators started working on business plan and MOU. In addition, Booz & CO’s completed the 2nd study on business case. The resolution helped further increase interest from International Financial Institutions, as well as governments, including in regulated telecom markets. Five major regional telecom operators expressed interest to form a consortium. These are Azertelecom of Azerbaijan, China Telecom of China, Kaztranscom of Kazakhstan, Rostelecom of the Russian Federations, and Turk Telecom of Turkey. 7

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support of the UN Member states and was cosponsored by Afghanistan, Australia, Belarus, Canada, China, Georgia, India, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, USA among others. A distinctive – and important – feature of the second resolution is that it contains a new proposal of the Government of Azerbaijan to establish the Eurasian Connectivity Alliance (EurACA). EurACA builds on the TASOM’s commercial goals and is viewed as a platform to bring together government, industry, civil society to address the existing and emerging connectivity challenges, to widen regional partnerships and cooperation to maximize development impacts of ICTs. The Alliance can also facilitate awareness raising efforts, experience and knowledge sharing for possible replication of best practice exchange in other regions. The Government of Azerbaijan intends to hold debates in the United National to exchange views on how to improve connectivity in Eurasia. There is also an intention to start open-ended consultations on the operational side of the proposed Alliance. Azerbaijan strongly believes that TASIM and EurACA will help to further develop knowledge-based economy and support the information society in the region by increasing high-speed internet connectivity and developing multi-media public services. These initiatives will not only benefit the participating telecom operators and countries, but will also help integrate developing countries into the global economy through trade and interaction at all levels – personal, business, government. T o accelerate the project implementation, the UN General Assembly adopted in December 2012 a second resolution (A/Res/67/194) to renew its political support for the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway. The resolution enjoyed unanimous 8

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Cases of successful international cooperation in large-scale ICT infrastructure development Case 1: Dante Consortium/GÉANT2 Networks – Pan-European/global infrastructural initiative the UN aegis. Perhaps the most notable and remarkably successful initiatives of a similar nature have been implemented by the European Commission in the creation of modern ICTbased infrastructure for research and education (funded mainly by the succession of Framework Programmes over years). The work of Dante Consortium in creating truly global and regional networks is especially worthwhile to look at closer (see figures below). T here are no comparable examples to follow (except purely commercial global enterprises, which are excluded from the present review. However, those that are available provide valuable lessons for EurACA as an intergovernmental initiative under Figure 3: GEANT Global reach 9

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D ANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) is an interesting and successful example. It is a not-for-profit Limited Company registered in the UK, whose shareholders are Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). DANTE plans, builds and operates advanced networks for research and education. It is owned by European NRENs (national research and education networks), It works in partnership with them and in cooperation with the European Commission. DANTE provides the data communications infrastructure essential to the development of the global research community. What distinguishes DANTE’s strategy in this respect is its objective to connect institutions and people – researchers and educators – through modern, high-speed internet infrastructure. DANTE has built and operateed the pan-Europe GÉANT2 – the highbandwidth, academic Internet serving Europe’s research and education community; serving over 30 million end-users from 34 NREN national networks. DANTE spends c 30 - 40M Euro annually on telecom infrastructure world-wide through tenders. It also manages regional research and education networks outside Europe such as in North Africa and Middle East (EUMEDCONNECT), Latin America (ALICE), Asia (TEIN2), etc. (see figures below). 1 Figure 4: DANTE Eurasian reach Figure 5: GEANT Central Asian reach 1. See more on DANTE strategy 2012-115here http://www.dante.net/server/show/nav.2549; other references include http://www.geant.net/Resources/Media_Library/PublishingImages/maps/10G_fibre_2009.jpg, http://caren.dante.net/Media_Centre/Pages/Presentations.aspx, http://www.tein3.net/Pages/home.aspx, http://teincc.org/teincc/c/about http://teincc.org/teincc/files/2012/01/GANNTChart2013-15-updated1-revision.docx.pdf. 10

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Figure 6: CAREN project for Central Asia Figure 7: Asia and Pacific reach 11

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Figure 8: Africa reach O ther projects of the EU co-funded communications networks include the European grid Infrastructure, AfricaConnect, TEIN4, UbuntuAlliance Lessons learned from Europe in building and managing infrastructure for research networking: • it is not sufficient to build a network, it must be operated by a dedicated institution; • managing IPs and Internet access services is not enough for successful networks; • priority should be given to the price of access to communication infrastructure, not to its cost Endusers’ needs. 12

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Silk Road & CAREN A s far as the Central Asian region is concerned, a Silk Road project should be mentioned as well which pioneered research networking in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Originally the Silk project was initially envisaged as an infrastructure creation project to provide first-class Internet connectivity to research and educational facilities in a number of countries in Southern Asia by means of the most up-to-date satellite networking systems (which was felt to be the most practicable approach at the time) to insure against a potential fall in academic achievement. This system was fully operational by early in 2003, facilitating cooperation via easy communications between teaching and research establishments throughout the region and between this region and similar establishments throughout the rest of the world. The countries most affected were to include Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The project has been succeeded by the CAREN (Central Asian Research and Education Network) project. Today, the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN) is upgrading this route to a 21stcentury high-speed Internet highway for research centres and educational institutions throughout the region. Co-founded by the European Union and launched in 2010, CAREN interconnects researchers, academics and students at over 500 institutions in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, with Uzbekistan also a candidate country. Thanks to the interconnection with its pan-European counterpart GÉANT, CAREN allows seamless collaboration between Central Asia and Europe, providing the region with a gateway to global research collaboration. UbuntuNet Alliance S imilarly, the emphasis on end-users is typical for the UbuntuNet Alliance, which is the Regional Research and Education Network for Eastern and Southern Africa. It capitalises on the emergence of optical fibre and other terrestrial infrastructure opportunities to establish a high speed research and education backbone, which interconnects all National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in the region. Tertiary education and research institutions throughout the rest of the world are connected to the Internet and to each other using fast low-cost fibre connections. This gives them a huge research and learning bonus as they are able to share resources across locations easily. Until recently, most of Africa has been missing from this interconnected world. However, this is changing with the emergence of UbuntuNet Alliance which enjoys close linkages with the Association of African Universities and the regional higher education bodies. 13

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