[EURO-Discuss] R: Trip to Caucasus - Chapter 3 - Georgia

Wolf Ludwig wolf.ludwig at comunica-ch.net
Wed Jul 10 14:19:46 UTC 2013

Thanks Roberto for these interesting Caucasus reports! Just one remark on Wolfgang's question on media freedom in Georgia. According to Reporters without Borders, Georgia ranks on position 100 what doesn't really prop your personal impression "I don't believe there is one." See --  

Best, Wolf

Roberto Gaetano wrote Sat, 6 Jul 2013 01:31
>Thanks Wolfgang.
>I stand corrected for the balloon.
>I heard nothing about governmental control of the media, and based on my
>personal impressions, I don't believe there is one.
>About the .ru, I have not checked any site, but I exchanged emails with
>people having email addresses under .ru, and had no problems. I am under the
>impression that the relationship with Russia are normalizing. The fact that
>the Russian/Georgian border is now open for all nationalities is an
>indication of this.
>I heard back then about the cable damage, but I had completely forgotten
>about when I was in the Caucasus, and heard nothing about it neither in
>Armenia nor in Georgia.
>> -----Messaggio originale-----
>> Da: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org [mailto:euro-discuss-
>> bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Per conto di "Kleinwächter, Wolfgang"
>> Inviato: venerdì 5 luglio 2013 17:01
>> A: Discussion for At-Large Europe
>> Oggetto: Re: [EURO-Discuss] Trip to Caucasus - Chapter 3 - Georgia
>> Thanks Roberto for the very informative report.
>> Did you hear anything about Internet censorship, governmental control of
>> media and the blogosphere in this country? How was the access to the .ru
>> domain, which was stopped during the Georgian-Russian war a couple of
>> years ago? Is there any discussion about the case where the line to
>> was cut (by a digging woman) which led to an Internet blackout in Jerewan?
>> See you soon
>> wolfgang
>> BTW, the Google project is not with satellites but with balloons
>> http://www.google.com/loon/. Here is an interesting legal question. The
>> balloons are flying 20 km about sea level, that is in the airspace of a
>> The border line between airspace and outerspace is about 80 km. However,
>> if the balloon is over the ocean (20 km from the coast line of a country)
>it is
>> not under any national jurisdiction. And the Convention of the Law of the
>> has no paragraph to regulate this.
>> ________________________________
>> Von: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org im Auftrag von Roberto
>> Gaetano
>> Gesendet: Fr 05.07.2013 14:37
>> An: 'Discussion for At-Large Europe'
>> Betreff: [EURO-Discuss] Trip to Caucasus - Chapter 3 - Georgia
>> Hi all.
>> Following up my previous reports on Armenia and Azerbaijan, I would like
>> continue with Georgia. I will also have some final considerations on the
>> region, and some recommendations, but that will be part of a future
>> message.
>> My main contact in the country was Ramaz Kvatadze, from the Georgian
>> Research and Educational Networking Association (GRENA -
>> http://grena.ge/eng/). I had a very good meeting with him, and other short
>> occasional conversations with other folks.
>> The main points that came out from the discussion with Ramaz were (to the
>> best of my recollection, in random order, after validation by Ramaz):
>> ..         There is an ISOC chapter, not member of the At-Large, some
>> are participating in ISOC Community Grants programmes.
>> ..         The infrastructure is in average good, but there are
>> differences between big cities and remote villages.
>> ..         While the main problem in the countryside is connectivity, that
>> must be improved, the main complaint in big cities is compliance of the
>> operators with the promised quality of service.
>> ..         The government has undertaken efforts for developing
>> as of today there are many applications that allow citizen and
>organizations to
>> obtain certificates and make declarations online.
>> ..         The scientific and research community is not active on ICANN
>> matters because there is no benefit associated to its participation.
>> ..         The scientific and research community has strong collaboration
>> with similar communities in other Caucasus countries as well as other
>> geographical areas worldwide, but the main interest and efforts are
>> to cooperation with Europe.
>> ..         Although Georgia feels strongly more European than Asian, the
>> current location in AP as ICANN geographic region is not felt as an
>> However, the main goal of Georgia is to become real member of European
>> community.
>> ..         The adoption of new technologies (mobile telecommunication,
>> internet) have been slowed down initially by the monopoly situation, but
>> now the competition among operators favours rapid development and
>> strong improvement of the infrastructure.
>> ..         The main obstacle for further improvement of the ICT
>> infrastructure is lack of financial resources, as private business is
>unable to
>> invest in development in rural/mountain areas as these are scarcely
>> populated and there will be not enough return on investment.
>> ..         Georgia has good relationships with both Armenia and
>> organizing regional meetings in Georgia is easier than in the neighboring
>> countries. In fact almost all regional meetings are organized in Georgia.
>> To this, I would like to add some personal considerations.
>> I have travelled extensively, in cities and in rural areas, and have found
>fair to
>> good internet connectivity. I have experienced a difference between cities
>> and countryside, which confirms the feedback I had from Ramaz.
>> However, the improvement of the connectivity seems no simple task, and
>> other comments I have gathered from different sources, mainly individual
>> internet users, is that the overall connectivity is not the first
>priority. From a
>> different source, I have learned that Georgia is planning to lay down a
>> backbone cable that should connect east and west Georgia running close to
>> the southern border (unfortunately, I was unable to get confirmation of
>> from other sources). It seems that addressing the risk of a cut in the
>> Georgian communication (between east and west Georgia) is a higher
>> priority than addressing the connectivity in remote areas. The reason
>> appear obvious to people who know the recent history and the current
>> threats of the region.
>> I am under the impression that tourism, that is a flourishing business in
>> Georgia, and rightfully so, can be an incentive to the improvement of the
>> internet infrastructure. For instance, my last day was in Batumi,
>touristic area
>> on the Black Sea, close to the border with Turkey. I have found a large
>> number of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, that were offering free WiFi.
>> the other hand, I compare this with Mestia, in the Svaneti, another place
>> with high touristic potential, but on the Caucasus mountains, where no B&B
>> offered WiFi, and I was unable to find any establishment included it. My
>> assumption was, although it was difficult to verify this with the local
>> that the limited bandwidth in some areas was the limiting factor.
>> But, as I said, it is just my personal speculation.
>> I had another example of the situation in remote areas travelling to the
>> Tusheti area (in the Caucasus mountains, north-east Georgia). The electric
>> and telephone lines, installed in Soviet times, were abandoned because the
>> cost of maintenance was too high, leaving the whole area without power and
>> connectivity. It has to be said that the road itself to Omalo, the largest
>> in Tusheti, is passable only by 4x4 vehicles and the Abano pass itself is
>> from October to May because of snow. However, the population got
>> organized: almost every household has solar cells and is therefore
>> autonomous for electrical power, and there are GSM (solar-powered) cells
>> that ensure mobile phone connectivity to the valley. I was impressed by
>> and thought that this could be an example for other parts of the world,
>> where laying cables is too costly. Incidentally, at about the same time I
>> the recent news about the experiments on internet connection via satellite
>> in New Zealand, which shows that new ways are being explored.
>> Talking about mobile phones, there seems to be excellent market
>> penetration.
>> While it is true that the monopoly situation has slowed down the progress,
>> my observation, in cities and also in remote areas, is that the initial
>delay has
>> been caught up. There is a wide offer, and if you get a local SIM card you
>> reload it also at ATM-like machines that are widely available for
>> types of payments.
>> The last comment is about the geopolitical collocation of Georgia. I have
>> say that travelling through the country I had the impression to be in
>> Just the signs in Georgian alphabet reminded me that I was in the
>> As a matter of fact, this proximity to Europe made me forget to inquiry
>> another topic I wanted to get information on: the need, or not, for IDN.
>> However, I have the feeling that, while this is probably an issue in large
>> the main problem in scarcely populated areas remains the connection.
>> Best regards,
>> Roberto
>> Additional note for EURALO: we need to seriously think about the regional
>> distribution of the countries. I have seen the latest recommendation
>> (http://www.icann.org/en/news/announcements/announcement-22jun13-
>> en.htm),
>> maybe we should have a quick check in Durban about the subject.
>> _______________________________________________
>> EURO-Discuss mailing list
>> EURO-Discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>> https://atlarge-lists.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/euro-discuss
>> Homepage for the region: http://www.euralo.org <http://www.euralo.org/>
>> _______________________________________________
>> EURO-Discuss mailing list
>> EURO-Discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>> https://atlarge-lists.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/euro-discuss
>> Homepage for the region: http://www.euralo.org
>EURO-Discuss mailing list
>EURO-Discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>Homepage for the region: http://www.euralo.org

EuroDIG Secretariat
mobile +41 79 204 83 87
Skype: Wolf-Ludwig

EURALO - ICANN's Regional At-Large Organisation

Profile on LinkedIn

More information about the EURO-Discuss mailing list