Across the Asia Pacific, the availability, stability, speed, cost and security of Internet services vary widely from place to place. Users in many developing economies tolerate conditions that are unacceptable in the developed world, and which seriously limit the benefits the Internet can deliver.
Recognized solutions exist to all these challenges; we just need to invest more in their implementation. From adopting networking best practices to building more open and neutral Internet Exchange Points (IXPs); from providing cybersecurity training to establishing more CERTs and NOGs — we know what needs to be done, we just don’t have the resources.
“The Internet is a grand project of benefit to all corners of society. The “network effect” ensures that when one part of the Internet is developed, the rest will also benefit; that in effect, Internet development activities are magnified exponentially.”
Paul Wilson, Director General, APNIC
Technical and Regulatory
With its growth and increasing importance around the world, the Internet also faces a range technical and regulatory challenges. Where these are not met, the Internet’s benefits will be greatly limited.
- Security and stability: From Denial of Service (DoS) attacks to hacking, malware and data breaches, security remains the top priority of network engineers and managers. Governments are also increasingly concerned with security issues, especially those that affect confidence in the Internet.
- Available address resources: The Internet addressing capacity provided by what’s known as Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is almost exhausted globally. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the only viable option for the Internet’s future growth in the Asia Pacific but it is a significant operational challenge to effectively deploy.
- Efficiency and cost: One way to ensure efficiency and low cost is to localize traffic and content wherever possible. IXPs and data centres allow local traffic and content to stay local, lowering network costs, and increasing speed and efficiency.
- Regulation and governance: The Internet faces novel and unique regulatory challenges, often dominated by new and evolving technologies and services that operate across national borders. Resolving these challenges depends on our ability to nurture the multistakeholder processes of global Internet governance.
- Research: With the Internet’s rapid growth and evolving technologies has come increased complexity and greater technical challenges. Practical, operational research is needed to help us understand where the problems are now, where they will be in the future, and what we need to do to fix them.
If we can invest more in resolving these technical and regulatory challenges, they can be overcome. The Asia Pacific Internet community must find the resources to strengthen and develop new and specific skills and expertise. The success of the Internet will depend on our ability to do this.
Today, the Asia Pacific region – and especially its least developed economies – has a crucial shortage of the properly trained and experienced Internet engineers, technicians and managers needed to overcome these challenges. Just as we all need well-trained doctors to help keep us fit and healthy, the Internet needs well-trained professionals to keep it stable, reliable, efficient and most importantly, secure.
“At the end of 2012 there was a shortage of over 250,000 professionals with networking skills in the region (excluding Greater China and Japan). It predicted this shortage would grow to more than 450,000 networking professionals by the end of 2016 and from there, continue to worsen.”
Technical professionals are on the frontline of the Internet’s infrastructure: constantly challenged to build new services, adapt to new technologies, increase capacity, and deal with security threats; all while also ensuring reliable and efficient 24×7 operations. This is a huge challenge, and one that grows in importance as our dependence on the Internet grows.
A report from technology analysts, IDC, warns of a shortage of such technical skills saying: “The Asia Pacific trends show an increasing need for people with network skills in emerging technologies and for well-trained teams that focus on higher value-added activities”.
The single biggest factor limiting the positive impact of the Internet – despite this success – is the capacity of service providers to properly design, build and manage their networks. To achieve a secure, reliable and efficient Internet, the managers, engineers, and officers responsible, and their respective communities, must all have the technical skills – the capacity – to run and manage their networks to a recognized global standard of best practice.
The role of the APNIC Foundation
The Foundation was established by APNIC to increase investment in Internet development in the Asia Pacific. We are focused on fund raising to support technical training, community development and the use of best practice in the management and operation of the Internet’s technical infrastructure.
By increasing investment in these areas we seek to build and support technical communities so they sustainably grow and develop independently. We also strive to collaborate with other donors in program design and project delivery to ensure meaningful impact. We work to engage with the Internet development community to promote key issues and priorities and as well as collaborate with new partners/investors in support of Internet development in the 56 economies of our region
This is to support a vision of an global, open, stable and secure Internet that is affordable and accessible to the entire Asia Pacific community.
New funding supports three key program areas:
INFRASTRUCTURE: Strengthening and supporting the deployment of Internet infrastructure and deploying tools for operational infrastructure security and monitoring.
INCLUSION: Supporting the Asia Pacific Internet community in providing meaningful and efficient access to the Internet, from a technical and operational perspective.
KNOWLEDGE: Enhancing technical and operational knowledge contributing to an informed and collaborative community.
- For more information about our strategic pillars and program areas, see the APNIC Foundation’s strategic plan.
- To learn about our current projects, see our ongoing projects page.
- To learn about past projects, see our completed projects page.
- To see some results of our work, see our publications page, or check out the gender and diversity page.
The Foundation works with partners to fund and deliver projects focused on this goal, across a range of areas and with many different stakeholders.
The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
As the Regional Internet address Registry (RIR) for the Asia Pacific, APNIC has been dedicated to the healthy development of the Internet in our region for over 25 years.
APNIC has a unique position as an authoritative, respected and trusted not-for-profit. A non-government, membership-based organization, it is one of five RIRs worldwide responsible for managing critical Internet number resources (IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and Autonomous System Numbers) that are essential to the operation of the Internet.
Serving 56 economies in the Asia Pacific that together account for more than half of the world’s population, and where most of global Internet development activity will occur in the years ahead, APNIC supports over 17,000 ISPs and other network operators, who together are building and maintaining the region’s Internet infrastructure.
The APNIC Foundation leverages APNIC’s 25+ years of proven technical and developmental leadership in the Internet to build human and community capacity for Internet development in our region. It actively seeks to raise more funds to support and expand APNIC’s development priorities by building new relationships with donors and partners with the resources to support collaboration.
The technical community in the Asia Pacific
In the Asia Pacific, Internet engineers are building and managing some of the world’s largest and most challenging networks, working hard to ensure they are robust, efficient, and secure. To support this challenging work, professional networks and community organizations are increasingly important mechanisms used by engineers for training, knowledge sharing, and professional development.
These organizations include open and neutral IXPs for Internet traffic; Network Operator Groups (NOGs) for technical and operational development; Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs or CERTs) for security issues; and associations of Internet Service Providers (ISPAs) for industry coordination.
“82% of respondents report a shortage of cybersecurity skills. 71% of respondents report the shortage in cybersecurity skills does direct and measurable damage” according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies 2016 report “Hacking the Skills Shortage: A study of the international shortage in cybersecurity skills”.
These organizations play a key role in helping to coordinate solutions to the technical and security challenges faced by the networks that comprise the Internet in the Asia Pacific. They also make ideal partners for the delivery of training and capacity building for network engineers and others in the Internet community.
Our valued donors
The APNIC Foundation has worked with a range of partner organizations to fund Internet development projects. The logos of these donors are included below. We could not complete the work that we do without them, and we are grateful for their support.