The internet is a resilient network. During the pandemic, the internet’s underlying protocols and infrastructure were capable of handling skyrocketing demand and stress. However, in recent years, global internet has also been under growing threat from fragmentation. Competing visions for the future of the internet have led to an increased politicization of its technical architecture. At the international level, there is a widespread deficiency in trust and shared visions. And as a result, technical solutions for improving the internet’s resilience hold new weight, with higher stakes for prosperity, security and human rights around the world.
For countries in the process of digitizing their infrastructure and defining their internet policy (sometimes called ‘digital decider’ states), maintaining internet resilience is an urgent priority: particularly when existing infrastructure risks creating internet ‘walled gardens’. In recent years, internet service providers (ISPs) and information and communications technology (ICT) companies have experienced a monumental shift in their roles and responsibilities vis-a-vis reconciling competing visions at the internet’s different layers, particularly in ‘digital decider’ countries.
Reflecting on this landscape, this panel conversation starts by unpacking key trends across the different layers of global internet: from telecommunication cables to its upper protocol layers and applications, including domain name system (DNS) resolver issues. Drawing on the panel’s experience, this conversation will explore the coalitions and solutions necessary for ISPs and ICT companies to uphold internet resilience at different levels and ask questions about how to address the risks associated with the internet’s ‘breaking points’, consolidation and fragmentation.
Building on Chatham House’s conversations about the future of the internet(s), this event is the second in a series of discussions in Trends in Technology, with the support of DXC Technology.
This panel and reception will be held in-person at Chatham House and streamed online. Please email Isabella Wilkinson if you are interested in attending in-person.