What will happen if countries carve up the Internet? Students’ research findings revealed at international conference About the university

Ertina Dyrma, Lakmal Liyanage and Janthira EngesetEveryone will lose from the creation of multiple Internets, but societies with fewest resources and least knowledge are likely to be the biggest losers, according to new findings from four postgraduate students at the University of Greenwich Business School. Developing countries also say that fragmentation of the Internet would lead to increased trading barriers, bureaucracy, and costs.

The findings are based on research commissioned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the coordinator of the Domain Name System for the Internet.

The Greenwich study explores the potential economic, social, and political costs of an Internet run by individual countries or regions, rather than by global participation, as it is now. It finds that trading links among nations will not generally be affected by fragmentation, although more countries may trade with Russia. The study also shows that fragmentation could pose problems for global companies with respect to storing and securing data in multiple locations and communication between the parent and subsidiary parts of their organisations.

Dr Aaron Van Klyton, Senior Lecturer, International Business and Economics at the University of Greenwich Business School, says: “Over the last 25 years, the Internet has revolutionised the way the world thinks, communicates, and does business. It has been an open source of free-flowing information across geographical, economic and cultural boundaries. Security, stability, and openness had been ensured by mutual agreement between many governments and partners, through the not-for-profit public-benefit corporation, ICANN.

“Now, worried by security concerns, some governments want to ‘police’ the Internet within their own borders, leading to possible fragmentation of its governance. That could usher in a new era for the management of everything online, with massive implications for the future – these are the issues that our students have been asked to investigate by ICANN.”

Three of the four students are studying on Greenwich’s MBA programme for International Business: Agnes Kovatsova, Ertina Dyrma and Lakmal Liyanage. The fourth, Janthira Engeset, is studying for an MA in International Business.

Lakmal Liyanage says: “It has been fantastic to work on a hotly contested and relevant research project for ICANN. Being able to present our findings to an audience of global stakeholders, including government ministers, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Nigel Hickson, VP, IGO Engagement, ICANN says: "It has been a real pleasure in working with Aaron Van Klyton at the University of Greenwich, and his excellent group of students, on this exciting and important project. I have been tremendously impressed with their dedication and intelligence but most of all their unbridled enthusiasm. I am really looking forward to their session at the ICANN meeting and our continued engagement" 

The students will present key findings to the international ICANN50 conference in London on Monday 23 June, as part of ICANN’s development and public responsibility programme, NextGen@ICANN50, that aims to engage the “next generation” in the Internet ecosystem. This is part of a greater initiative ICANN is overseeing to support and promote the global public interest in the Internet through building trust in the Internet and its governance ecosystem, and ensuring that it becomes, and continues to be, stable, inclusive, and accessible across the globe so that all may enjoy the benefits of a single and open Internet.

To find out more about studying at the University of Greenwich Business School: http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/business/study

To find our more about ICANN’s Public Responsibility:


Story by Public Relations

Picture: From left, Greenwich students Ertina Dyrma, Lakmal Liyanage and Janthira Engeset.