October 1 2014 was a big day for ICANN engagement in Guadalajara, Mexico. Just one day earlier, Fadi Chehadé had given an impassioned plea for greater involvement in Internet governance by delegates at the annual meeting of WITSA, the World Information Technology Services Alliance. As a result, we attracted quite a crowd to our full day of ICANN programming on the margins of the meeting. Organized in partnership with ICANN community members, the day featured three distinct segments. First, stakeholders participated in a roundtable on the future of Mexico's digital economy. The roundtable was followed by an outreach and recruitment drive by the ISPCP constituency within ICANN's GNSO. The latter part of the day was dedicated to the LAC-i Roadshow, one of a series of awareness-raising workshops on emerging technical and policy issues that are shaping the future of the Domain Name System.
The Boston Consulting Group Report Greasing the Wheels of the Digital Economy shows great promise for Mexico, which along with 64 other countries, was studied by BCG to determine the level of "e-friction," or hurdles Mexico faces in fully embracing the global, open Internet to increase economic growth.
Despite being in a relatively high-friction country, Mexican SMEs (small and medium enterprises) still see robust revenue growth (of greater than 7%) when they embrace Internet solutions to run their businesses. Similarly, Mexico's e-intensity score, a measure of the maturity of its Internet economies on the basis of enablement, engagement, and expenditure, shows the demand and enthusiasm of Mexican Internet users to be a strong driver toward increased accessibility and connectivity. After the report was presented, there was robust discussion among the sixty-plus roundtable attendees. Victor Lagunes, CIO of the Mexican president's office, opined on the study's usefulness, a sentiment echoed by Carlos Ponce Beltrán, Chairman of AMIPCI, one of Mexico's leading Internet business associations. Both had already examined the report in detail and pledged to work together to improve Mexico's score in future e-friction studies. Oscar Robles, CEO of NIC.mx and León Felipe Sánchez, of ISOC Mexico and a prominent member of ICANN's At Large community, also shared their perspectives, from the technical and user communities, respectively.
The next segment of the day's program, provocatively titled "The ISPCP: Who We Are and Why You Should Join" was lead by Tony Harris and Christian Dawson. Representatives from Telmex, Telefonica, and other leading ISP and IXP organizations gathered to learn how the work of ICANN directly impacts their business success.
The topics ranged from technical to policy related. Tony Harris introduced the session with a review of key points of ICANN's history, ICANN's structure, and how ICANN's work relates to broader Internet Governance developments. Christian's presentation presented practical related to new including IPv6, DNSSEC, the evolution of WHOIS, and new gTLD related issues such as Name Collisions and Universal Acceptance. Participants appreciated the practical "self check" advice ISPs and IXPs can employ to determine how best to prepare their networks and services.
The ISPCP team concluded with practical information on how to participate in ICANN, whether through formal membership in their constituency, or participation in working groups and solicitations for public comment.
Many of the topics discussed among the ISPs spilled over into the third and final portion of the day, the LAC-I Roadshow. The New generic Top-Level Domain Program and the next generation of the IP protocol were the big stars of that afternoon with inspiring presentations. CEOs of Punto 2012 Aaron and Adolfo Grego shared their experiences on .rest and .bar while Tony Harris (ecomLAC) and Oscar Robles (NIC México) presented the .LAT. All the participants showed an impressive interest: in many cases, it was the first time they learned about the existence of these new gTLDs in their region. Then, the academia (Alejandro Martinez Varela, Universidad de Guadalajara), the private sector (Javier Contreras, Telmex) and the technical community (César Díaz, LACNIC) came together in a multistakeholder dialogue to share success stories, facts and figures about IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The packed agenda also included time for media appearances as well as some very welcome social time the evening before the event. Delicious local delicacies, including tequila (and crickets!) were sampled, along with an impressive selection of Mexican specialties. ICANN VP for Latin America and the Caribbean, Rodrigo de la Parra was an enthusiastic host in his native country. We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome of Internet community in México and look forward to growing participation by the talented and passionate stakeholders there.