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ICANN chief slams African monopolies

Kevin Murphy, March 8, 2010, 13:14:48 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN may have been handed a lemon when it discovered six African nations will be crashing its party in Nairobi, but CEO Rod Beckstrom today sought to make lemonade.

Beckstrom “threw down the gauntlet” and invited IGAD nation leaders to “shatter telecom monopolies” and make high-speed internet access more affordable to the average African.

“If you have a monopoly, what do you have? The most expensive internet access rates in the world. And where are those? Largely in Africa,” he said at the opening ceremony of ICANN’s meeting.

He also called on Africans view the internet as a platform for development, and to dispel the myth that internet resources such as address space are being kept from developing countries.

“There’s a little story that’s circulating that IPv6 is not available to African countries or to developing countries,” he said. “It’s completely false.”

The IGAD is a group of six east-African nations focussed on drought and development started in 1986 in response to the Ethiopian famine.

The heads of state of at least five of these nations are expected to arrive at the same conference centre as ICANN’s meeting is being held tomorrow.

The full opening ceremony transcript is available here.

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