NetHui Wrap Up from the Issues Team


Phew, so another NetHui done. I had a truly incredible time at this year's NetHui - thank you to all of you that I met and talked with - and apologies to all of you that I didn't! I loved watching all of those rooms filled with people that wanted to debate important internet issues facing New Zealand in a collaborative, multi-stakeholder fashion. It was fun and I am glad I got to share it with you all.

On that score, I want to call attention to the NetHui participants survey that we have just pushed out. It is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DSXK7VV. This is a vital part of our NetHui feedback loop to ensure that we are getting feedback to keep refining and improving the event.

The InternetNZ Issues team always learns a lot about what issues are coming up from the Internet community in New Zealand, and how those can be built into our programme of work from here. So, this post is a bit of a debrief from us on that score, and an invitation for all of you to come chat to us about how we can work together from here.

Some of the Issues we heard about at NetHui where:

  • Digital inclusion. This has a natural fit with our work on Internet Connectivity/Access, and indeed is something that we think about a lot already, but is becoming ever more important; as connectivity itself spreads, it is making it even starker that there are significant barriers to internet use in pricing and skills. We need to start turning our attention to those - its no good building a network if a significant proportion of New Zealanders can't afford to access it or don't know how. I lead our work here and am thinking about how we can better dove tail into the fine work of our partners, the 2020 Trust, in particular.

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. We intend to build our response to the TPPA into our wider work on Copyright, and our Internet Law and Rights Portfolio that James leads. He is working up a plan as we speak that we will look to share with you in coming weeks about how we continue to build off the paper we published earlier this year on Copyright law reform, and meet the challenges that the TPPA may pose.

  • Maori-specific perspectives on the Internet. How can we build an appropriate Maori voice into InternetNZ's Issues work? What issues do we need to focus on to do this justice? Again, this is a conversation that I will be following up on as I continually improve the way we work on Internet Issues at InternetNZ. We've picked up on a specific challenge around uptake and practical enablement of non-english character sets in the .NZ domain space, and around the world. If the Internet is everybody's business, then we need to respect everyone's domain names!

  • Net neutrality and peering. The Net Neutrality session was fantastic at demonstrating the wide variety of views as to what, if anything, the problem actually is here. Ben is leading our work on working out what InternetNZ wants to advocate for here, with explicit reference to this range of perspectives. It wasn't lost on us though how important peering is to fair network management in New Zealand. We are keen to learn more here.

  • Digital distribution. We've seen massive uptake of online video services, and there was a number of different points on both the InTAC and the NetHui agenda that talked about the challenges and opportunities here. There was generally positive and respectful conversation about the uncertainties that remain post the Global Mode settlement; clearly there are different views on the legitimacy and benefits of geo-unblocking. NetHui was a great venue for exploring these things, and James has since come away energised to learn more and think about how this works into our Law and Rights portfolio of work. We are keenly aware that there is more to this than just consumption too - and that's an Internet Use piece that Ben has to mull on.

These are our initial take outs - but we aren't omniscient super beings (yet, cue evil laugh). So, what have we missed? As always, we welcome your thoughts, interactions and opinions. You can always get in touch with me at andrew@internetnz.nz, Ben at ben@internetnz.nz and James at (surprise surprise) james@internetnz.nz.

And do please complete the NetHui survey!