A word from the Foundation’s new CEO Raj Singh

The Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Rajnesh (Raj) Singh as Chief Executive Officer, effective December 11 2023. Raj comes to the Foundation with extensive experience in the Internet technology sector and private capital, having most recently served as the regional Vice President for the Asia Pacific at the Internet Society.

In its relatively short life, the Internet has served us well. From its humble beginnings as a research project in the US, it has spread to almost every corner of the globe. I say ‘almost’ because despite the staggering growth in Internet capability and coverage in the past few decades – along with the exponential growth in applications and services – there are still areas that are unconnected or face digital deficits that hamper their economic and social potential.

The Internet didn’t just spread on its own. Getting it to where it is today took a lot of hard work, passion and commitment from people who could see the potential of a global open and interconnected network.

APNIC has played a key role in that story in the Asia Pacific. More recently, the Foundation has sought to fill in the digital development gaps in the region. This started with training initiatives to harness the human potential of the region and has grown to encompass infrastructure initiatives to build out the Internet for the unserved and the underserved, and supporting research to understand how best it can serve the community and remain secure.

This has all been in service of the Foundation’s vision of a global, open, stable and secure Internet that is affordable and accessible to the entire Asia Pacific community.

The pandemic highlighted the challenges to achieving this vision, even as it showed in stark detail how crucially important this task is. Communities faced economic, health and humanitarian challenges as COVID-19 wreaked havoc. The virtual world of the Internet provided a very real economic lifeline to much of the world.

But still: The gaps remain. And in some cases, the digital divides continue to deepen.

There are gaps in connectivity for rural and remote areas. Gaps in gender representation in the Internet industry, and in the use of digital technologies. Gaps in Internet infrastructure needs and resilience. Gaps in security that leave networks open to cyberattacks. Gaps in accessibility for people with disabilities. Gaps in economic opportunities for communities with digital deficits. Gaps in our understanding of how the Internet works and the need to support its open globally connected nature.

Some may suggest that eliminating these gaps entirely may well be an impossible task, but that just ensures we always have something to strive for. It is my mission to push the Foundation forward in achieving holistic Internet and digital development for our vast and diverse region, no matter how daunting the challenges.