Recognizing that national competitiveness depends on the availability and quality of national Information and Communication Technology networks that support higher education (HE) and research, many countries have developed such infrastructure for their publicly funded HE and research institutes. The National Knowledge Network (NKN), India set up in 2009-10, and the Joint Academic Network (JANET), UK set up in 1984 are examples. These national knowledge networks are embedded within the larger context of HE and research institutions and ICT infrastructure in the country. For an emerging economy like India, effectiveness of NKN is important as resource availability for investment in such a network has to compete with other developmental priorities.
A Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) was set up in 1993 with the objective of overseeing ICT in HE and research and managing JANET. In comparison to JANET, set up in 1984, NKN set up in 2009-10 is still at an early stage. However, it is an opportune time to review its effectiveness as it has a huge potential for all educational and research organizations in India. The evolution of JANET/JISC, not only in terms of the technical capability, but also its organizational form would be of importance to researchers and policy makers in India to formulate the implications for NKN.
Towards this end, in this study we develop a framework for analysing elements that have contributed JANET/JISC to support HE and research. These include rationale, objectives, organizational structure and processes, funding, pricing, outcomes and review mechanisms. We also aim to suggest possible learning from this for NKN. This would have implications for other countries planning similar infrastructure.
The increasing role of Internet in economic growth and social aspects has brought the significance of Internet Governance to the forefront. New paradigms of Internet Governance recognize the contribution and role of governments, private organizations, civil society and other communities. The borderless and distributed architecture of the Internet substantially differentiates Internet Governance from traditional governance, challenging the established dominant role of nation-states in policy-making. Access, human rights, privacy and standards have become important Internet Governance issues, increasing the governance role of nation states.
Many developed countries recommend multi-stakeholder approach where nation-states are only one of the many stakeholders that include private sector and other communities. India’s position on Internet Governance recommends a multi-lateral approach which is at variance with emerging scenario globally. This has isolated India and created a negative signal for investment in the ICT sector.
The approach to deal with emergent issues in Internet Governance requires flexibility, ability to incorporate new technologies and international developments. Studies of Internet Governance have not systematically addressed the issue of design of responsive organizations or national systems for effective governance. This paper contributes by addressing this lacuna by:
Developing a conceptual model for Internet Governance based on both the underlying architecture of the Internet and a proposed framework for evaluating the perceived legitimacy of the adopted processes and
Combining these two frameworks, we propose the Multi-Tier Open Participation approach for its application to India. This approach not only strengthens domestic Internet Governance, but also increases India’s role in regional and international processes.
The study recognizes that Internet Governance principles for India should be in consonance with its democratic ethos and openness and dovetail with the inherent characteristics of the Internet, namely, openness, dynamism, and innovation.