Internet Society Opens InternetGovernance School in Liberia -As LTA Stats Show Dismal Access to Internet for Liberians
By Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Commissioner over International Gateway Services at the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Mr. Zotawon D. Titus, has commended Internet Society Liberia Chapter for initiating the first School of Internet Governance forum in the country.
Speaking briefly to reporters Friday, October 16, 2020 at a local hotel in Monrovia, Commissioner Titus noted that the School of Internet Governance is to create awareness among internet users to understand exactly that the internet is a platform that adds value to the surfaces that the Liberia Telecommunications sector provides across the country.
“The Internet Governance School of Liberia means a lot to me particularly as a regulatory official within Liberia. It also says to me that people are acquiring knowledge in Liberia about the internet just as their counterparts and compatriots are also acquiring the same knowledge in other countries”, he said.
According to Commissioner Titus, the broadband internet users in Liberia are over 2 million constituting 38 percent, while about 70 percent of the total land mass has no internet signal, adding that communities without internet access are usually sparsely populated places, thus serving as disincentive to market forces.
He indicated that the country is on the right trajectory from a closed society towards opening up to the whole world, saying the escalation of Internet service is gradual, from more densely populated communities to sparsely modern and medium areas.
Mr. Titus said: “The School of Internet Governance is going to add a number of different dimensions. Firstly it allows young people to understand that in developing society you need to make efficient use of the Internet.”
He added: “This is why we have the universal access program which is a pro poor intervention to be able to connect the unconnected in areas where we have markets”, expressing his gratitude about the awareness of the Internet through the Internet Society Liberia Chapter governance forum.
For his part, the President of the Internet Society Liberia Chapter, organizer of the first Internet Governance School in Liberia, Matthew Roberts, said Internet Governance Forum is an online and live engagement platform to educate Internet users about the importance of the Internet.
“We conduct the activity of the governance process, to train and make educators. This workshop is so important, and it is good we have it”, Roberts said.
As adopted by the United Nations, Mr. Roberts stressed that the availability, accessibility and affordability of the Internet to the population is a right that should be given to every citizen to access the internet from any location.
He urged and expressed optimism that Liberia would build its own internet technicians who will become key actors in the internet ecosystem to compete with their counterparts across the globe.
The Legal Aspect of Governance; Economic and Development Aspect of Internet Governance; Diplomacy and Multi-stakeholder approaches to the Internet at the international/ regional level; and State of the Internet Access and Infrastructure in Liberia amongst others, were areas of engagements at the forum.
The forum was held with the participation of the Internet Secretariat via zoom from Europe and other parts of the world, the Government of Liberia, civil society, enterprises, students among others.
The Internet Society Liberia Chapter is an autonomous body under the Internet Global which is a global advocacy platform for internet users.