Introducing: #rpAccra speaker Steve Song

Thirteen years ago, re:publica started out as a meeting of bloggers and other new media creators, eager to explore the impact of their work and the medium in general on journalism and media, politics and society at large. Even though we have broaden our thematic scope and group of participants since then, we still love to invite people who take the time to share their knowledge and work via blogs. Steve Song is one of our keynote speakers who also actively shares valuable knowledge resources via his blog manypossibilities.net – form an interactive map showing the history of internet backbone infrastructure and undersea cables connecting Africa to the global internet to all issues around access and connectivity, net neutrality and community WIFI.

You cover a range of topics around connectivity and access on manypossibilities.net. When and why did you start blogging?

I started manypossibilities.net for two reasons. First, it was a means of making sense of what I was learning. We absorb so much information these days and often it slips past us before we can fit it into our changing understanding of the world. Having a blog was a means of ensuring that I was making a regular attempt to reflect and learn. Writing forces us to look backward, confirm understanding, make connections, make sense of things. I like the informal style of a blog as it allows me to be personal and to explore ideas with a high degree of freedom. The second reason was to have a means to share new points of view with other people. In a small way I hope to seed new ideas and new ways of looking a problems with my writing. I couldn't tell you how successful I have been with the latter but as a learning tool for myself, the blog has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

You run a social business and you are currently a Mozilla fellow. What are some of the projects you are currently working on?

In 2018, the biggest barrier to making communication an affordable and accessible reality for everyone on the planet are the policy and regulatory frameworks that govern the deployment and development telecommunications infrastructure.  My current work is all about having conversations with regulators and policy-makers about how a more granular framework for regulation could empower local operators, cooperatives, and community networks to build sustainable, local communication infrastructure that will serve everyone.

What’s your vision for the future of Internet infrastructure and access in Africa?

My vision is a future where the Internet is treated as basic infrastructure by governments at both the national and local level. By that I mean that governments recognise that the biggest impact of the Internet will be realised when it is pervasive and inexpensive enough that it is accessible to all citizens, rich and poor, urban and rural, as a civic, economic, and personal enabler.