09:40 29 September 2011
ED. VAIZEY‟S KEY-NOTE FOR UK-CHINA INTERNET FORUM
Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning, it is a great pleasure for me to be here today
and to speak about our role as key players in shaping the policy and regulatory
frameworks necessary to both exploit and cope with the digital revolution.
I have just come from the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which is currently
being held in Nairobi, Kenya; what a success for Africa.
But, in the context of the Internet what really struck me was that all those present, be
they Government, Business or representatives from civil society were all discussing
how to ensure that the Internet remains at the forefront of innovative services and
the engine of creating both economic and social wealth for our future generations.
In the speech that Neelie Kroes from the European Commission gave at the OECD
High Level Meeting on the Internet Economy in June this year, she reflected on the
essential elements to ensure a fully functioning Internet. They being:
To “Keep one Internet”‟ and not allow it to fragment, due to external
pressures, be they regulatory, political or economic;
Ensure that the Internet is a safe place for citizens to communicate and do
That the Internet‟s architecture needs to evolve constantly to meet new and
That there are clear issues like legal liability to ensure that citizens behaviour
is governed by civic norms;
That Internet-based tools can foster democratic life and wellbeing; and
To ensure that the Internet remains multistakeholder and transparent.
In short Neelie went on to name these six Internet elements as a “Compact for the
Internet”: an Internet of Civic responsibility, One Internet, that is Multistakeholder,
Pro-democracy, Architecturally sound, Confidence inspiring, and Transparently
To me, this so called „Compact of the Internet‟ has some compelling features within
it. Firstly, that the Internet is, and must be in the future built on a bottom-up, multi-
stakeholder process; one that allows for the free flow of ideas and a forum to discuss
how to address both technical and policy issues that all stakeholders face in the fast
evolutionary environment which the Internet is today. We believe that the IGF is such
a vehicle and thus are confident that the current review by the UN
CSTD Committee will endorse its pivotal role and current structure at the WSIS
Review in 2015.
Safe Internet and Civic Responsibility
Now let me say a few words on civic responsibility on ensuring that the Internet
remains a safe environment to socially interact and do business from.
The first rule of all governments around the world is to keep its citizens safe. This
rule includes when its citizen‟s interact either socially or economically in cyberspace.
When we encounter people in real life, we expect, quite legitimately, that their
behaviour will be governed by civic norms and social duties. These same norms
should also apply when people are in cyberspace. Where this is not the case, then
the enforcement authorities with the Internet network community should look at how
they can build on existing relationships and cooperation to prevent Internet networks
being used in criminal behaviour.
The challenges cyberspace presents are global and require a global, co-ordinated
response. With this in mind the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague will host the
London Conference on Cyberspace in November. This will provide an opportunity to
launch a sustained and focussed dialogue on how Governments and others should
behave in cyberspace in order to enhance security and confidence in the networked
world and support social and economic development. This dialogue needs to involve
all those who have a stake in cyberspace, and who have helped create and develop
it - including civil society and business. We hope this focused and open dialogue will
lead to the broadest possible international consensus around basic principles that
will guide the actions of Governments and others in cyberspace.
The UK does not claim that we have all the answers. There have already been
bilateral exchanges between our officials on this which I am pleased will continue
later today and I look forward to greater discussion in November among invited
governments and representatives of the private sector, civil society and academia.
Now, a few words if I may on what we are doing in the UK. We have set ourselves a
target of having the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. This is
one of our key priorities, and it is my task to deliver it. Our Broadband Strategy
document, launched last December, sets outs our plans for the future.
By 2015 we will ensure all households will have access to a 2Mbits/PS connection
while at least 90% of households across the country will have access to superfast
Government will contribute £530 Million in funding, some of it for specific pilot
projects. But it is for the private sector to lead
the way. BT and Virgin Media have already announced extensive network upgrades.
OFCOM, the communications regulator, is looking at access issues to ensure the
development of a competitive market. We in central Government are examining how
the legal framework impacts on the potential to use other utility infrastructure, such
as that of the water companies. We will amend legislation if that is what is required to
create a more flexible range of options.
And in parallel with that we want planning and street works to support superfast
broadband roll-out, not hinder it. We aim to issue guidance to local authorities in this
respect by the end of the year.
But the future, of course, is not just fixed lines, but also enhanced and faster mobile
broadband (reflecting the ever increasing demand) and thus plans of OFCOM to
auction spectrum at both 800MHz and 2,6Ghz year earmarked for 4G services
By way of conclusion, let me say that the UK places great value on its relationship
with China in the electronic communications sector. Both the UK and China should
continue to seek closer cooperation on the key issues which I have tried to highlight
We in the UK, see this Internet Forum along with our Memorandum of Understanding
with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as the main platforms for
such exchanges which will enable us to cooperate on such issues now and in the
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
[Word count: 1,092]