Search RPD Archives
Limit search to: Subject & Body Subject Author
Sort by:

[rpd] [pdwg-appeal] SoftLanding BIS notice of intent to appeal

Jackson Muthili jacksonmuthi at
Wed Jan 24 05:57:04 UTC 2018

On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 12:34 AM, Owen DeLong <owen at> wrote:

> While I am sensitive to the idea of not letting one ISP consume the entire
> remaining free pool in one country,

I am glad we share this concern.

This is where specificities of Africa come in. Let me give one example.
Whereas there are a few economies in Africa which because of their
favourable political climate have stayed abreast with evolving technology
and have made an effort to let the internet industry thrive and connect
many citizens, there exists the majority where I can figuratively define
the industry as 'young' and nearly 'virgin'. And these are very many.
Governments, academic institutions and many other sectors are still in the
process of digitising and getting their services online (because the
enabling infrastructure was non existent in the first place). (The
countries characterised by your USA president using that word which has no
place in these discussions ;-o sorry could not help it).

There are other scenarios but such are the scenarios that cannot be

I’m not in favor of protecting those completely late to the party.

> But keeping addresses on the shelf to further subsidize those who still
> haven’t begun to develop infrastructure while preventing those that have
> infrastructure from serving real customers is absurd at this point in the
> process as far as I am concerned.

This ideology would be fair if both the latecomers and early movers were
playing on fair ground using same rules. This might be the case in USA for
example, but obviously not in Africa.

> Let’s be clear… We’re not talking about new entrants with the 24 month
> time limit in this policy. We’re talking about “possible future entrants
> that don’t yet exist and may or may not ever exist.” That’s why I call them
> fictitious. I’d call them vaporware, but it didn’t go so well the last time
> I used that term in reference to an Africa-related policy, so I’m trying to
> learn from past mistakes. ;-)

Based on my example above I hope you see they are neither fictitious nor
vapourware :-)

> I do applaud you, Jackson, for finally actually speaking to the issues in
> your last post (for the first time in this discussion). However, your
> opinions expressed are no more “the facts” than my opinions are. We can
> agree to disagree as men of good conscience often can. I don’t feel that
> there is a need to protect customers that have no ISP from customers that
> have an ISP.

To make sure we fully understand each other. Customer I mostly refer to
here spans from your average hospital to schools and government agencies
and institutions that due to absence of infrastructure and related enabling
frameworks could not get connected. Of course end users here are possibly
directly or indirectly affected one way or another.

> Really, what argument can be made that it is somehow fair to prevent more
> consumers in country A from getting access just so that we can still
> connect consumers in country B who don’t yet have an ISP?

If country A and country B all had fair and equal competing and playing
ground ab-initio, there would be no argument. And of course If the resource
that country A and country B were competing for was not in severe scarcity
mode, there still would be no argument.

> This is what is proposed by SL-BIS and IMHO, it’s bad policy. You may
> disagree with that. You may wish to argue that Nigerian consumers are less
> important than Congolese or Rwandan or Somalian consumers.

This of course has nothing to do with one consumer in one country being
less or more important that the other.

> I argue that all consumers are of roughly equal value

Me too.

> and there is no more fair distribution mechanism amongst various consumers
> than first come first served.

Once again, your statement above can only be right and fair if we were not
in a state of severe resource scarcity. Where is the fairness if the first
few that come first get served the entire resource?

> I can see an argument for limiting the amount of space the guy at the
> front of the line can get so as not to allow the first guy in line to take
> all to the detriment of those who joined the line at approximately the same
> time.

They WILL NOT join at the same time because of the circumstances I have
given in example already.

> What I can’t see is telling the guy at the front of the line that he can’t
> get back in line in case there’s someone else who might want to join the
> line in front of him for the next 24 months.

Extreme scarcity calls for extreme rationing to be fair to slow movers who
are no less important that fast movers largely due to the fact that their
speed was not their choice but rather other factors totally not within
their control. Which is the state majority African economies find
themselves in. It may not make sense when you are in a first world
environment but if you are conscious and aware of history specific to this
region, it will make it easier to see these arguments.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the RPD mailing list