RIPE NCC Days Tashkent brought together participants from the technical community, academia, law enforcement agencies, and public policy bodies to discuss the state of the Internet in the country and explore prospects for future growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic put on hold most of in-person events all over the RIPE NCC service region. Membership and community development and engagement activities had to be adapted due to travel restrictions. Communities in all countries were impacted, and in countries where face-to-face interaction is essential to the whole culture around business communication – regions such as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East – that impact was deeply felt.
In 2019, the RIPE NCC initiated a new meeting format to focus on local communities, called RIPE NCC Days. The first events took place in Moscow and Kyiv, and another one was planned for 2020 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Due to COVID, the event was postponed for a year, then for another year. In the meantime, the RIPE NCC implemented several virtual events in Central Asia, including Open Houses, Community Forums and Virtual Peering Series together with our partners ISOC and Euro-IX.
Nevertheless, the need for in-person meetings was apparent. And thankfully, in 2022, we were finally able to go ahead, live and in person, with the RIPE NCC Days event in Tashkent.
Life before and after COVID…
In 2019 when we were planning the event in Uzbekistan, the country was undergoing impactful changes in political, economic, and social life. It became more open to internal and external relations. Rapid industry development naturally led to more appetite for better telecommunications. Public authorities asked the RIPE NCC to help develop the national IPv6 Deployment plan.
COVID halted all these changes. While advancement in telecommunications used to be seen as a good opportunity, due to security concerns of the Uzbek LEA community, the IPv6 deployments efforts were slowed down. The RIPE NCC continued the efforts to educate and build the capacity of the community. With the support of industry partners-in 2021, training days have been organised together with ICANN to help the local community understand what IPv6 is, what a root server is, and how to deploy it in the country.
Still, with no root server yet in Uzbekistan, some initiatives to deploy IXPs, a monopoly on international links, and two dozen RIPE Atlas probes deployed in the country, we needed a dedicated and comprehensive approach to turn the tides.
Days with a week-long program
On 19-23 September 2022, the he RIPE NCC organised a week of activities aimed at the technical community, LEAs, and public bodies in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. These activities included IPv6 Basic and IPv6 Security training for RIPE NCC members, a tailored workshop for LEAs, and the RIPE NCC Days. Presentations focused on IPv6 deployment, with the aim to increase the understanding of LEA, practitioners and public bodies that it is required for the future development of Uzbekistan and the region.
We held a special lunch for public bodies and decision makers. In addition, RIPE NCC leadership met with the First Deputy Minister of the Development of Information Technologies and Communications, Top Management of Uzinfocom (the national ccTLD) and Uztelecom (the leading national-wide operator).
RIPE NCC Days Tashkent
The event started with an opening statements from the state bodies. First Deputy Minister Oleg Pekos pointed out the importance of developing telecommunications in Uzbekistan. Hisham Ibrahim, Chief Community Officer for the RIPE NCC, and Emil Gimranov, the head of Uzinfocom, welcomed the audience and shared their anticipation of the event.
135 participants from 7 countries, including telecom operators, CDNs, enterprises, industry development organisations and academia were attracted to the event. The RIPE NCC delivered several presentations about its tools and services, such as RIPE Atlas, RIS and RIPEStat. Other sessions covered routing security and RPKI, IP resource management, and NOG support. The participants had the opportunity to become a new RIPE Atlas probes host and get support from the RIPE NCC staff.
Behind the scenes
In the Eastern part of our service region most business deals are agreed on informally. For this purpose, we arranged a special facility for business meetings.
During one of these meetings, RIPE NCC Leadership met with the management of Uztelecom, and it was decided to develop an action plan for 2023 to boost IPv6 in Uztelecom and Uzbekistan as a whole and support the country with the products and services that RIPE NCC provides to its members. There was also a special agreement that RIPE NCC and Uztelecom will dedicate resources to implement the action plan. Plans were made to potentially host the second Central Asia Peering and Interconnection Forum in Uzbekistan in 2023. Further, the RIPE NCC was invited to present at the main ICT high-level event in Uzbekistan, ICT Week, taking place on 24-28 October in Samarkand.
Finally, RIPE NCC staff Anastasiya Pak (herself from Uzbekistan) interviewed Shavkat Sabirov, Head of Internet Association of Kazakhstan for a RIPE Labs Podcast that will be available on RIPE Labs soon.
Participants of RIPE NCC Days Tashkent decided to evaluate the sessions of the event by raising their thumbs up-very motivating gesture for the presenters and organisers!