Ministry of Digital Infrastructure NL

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Jaap van Till:

"In line with the expressed wish of our King, his highness Willem Alexander, to improve ‘verbondenheid’: cooperation and connectivity between people, I have established ‘het Ministerie van Digitale Infrastuctuur‘ (ministry of digital infrastructure NL #MinDigInfra) ‘van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden’. Such ministry must provide leadership and policy on the continuity and improvement of the digital infrastructural facilities that enable our interwoven communities, society and business ventures to flourish and create wealth in a trans-local and transnational context.

This establishment took place at the 20th anniversary meeting of DDS (digital city of Amsterdam) in Pakhuis de Zwijger, Thursday, January 16, 2014, 22:46 in front of a cheering crowd of internet pioneers and digerati."


Jaap van Till:

"There are a number of reasons why the installation of such ministry and the addition to our national cabinet of somebody responsible in this field is urgent.

1. Many issues on which our government make policy, laws and decisions have large public interest infrastructure components in ICT, telecommunication and Internet. It is no longer possible to decide on such issues without having people with up-to-date knowledge and vision at the table of these things, structures and networks and their effects on civil society, business and state.

2. Leadership and direction must be given urgently to a number of fields where the market forces fail to agree, slow down or even block important ways to overcome stagnation, while they are vital for survival and work. Examples: the FttH infrastructure rollout; VLAN standards, adresses and interfaces; safe and robust backbone networks for businesses and (cloud) serviceproviders and mobile operators; the dark fiber and underground physical facilities, real-estate). Some of these infra-facilities are no longer possible to run uninterrupted and grow on their own by commercial operators. Also bi-directional transport of goods, people and energy all become intertwined with computer networks.

3. In the civil society there are many new internet related possibilities and threats. The technology changes fast and is improved and replaced at a rapid pace, which hard to keep up with, understand, manage and regulate. Legislation must be updated and kept up to date by people from the field who are at the leading edge and really know what they are talking about. And these should be involved in important decisions which have not only legal or economic aspects, like for instance: security, stability, digital surveillance, privacy and other Human Rights, Internet Freedom.

4. ICT infrastructure policy and implementation must be aligned with similar policies of our neighbor countries UK, Belgium and Germany and with the Digital Agenda of EU Commission as directed by mrs. Neelie Kroes, since effects of these technologies and systems far transcend nation state borders.

5. Knowledge transfer, research and education in the digi-infrastructure field need to be explored, renewed, developed further and boosted. Awareness and involvement does start young with wireless field tests, lightpaths in the SURF community, FabLabs, connect experiments, code lessons for ALL kids etc."

More Information

  • Since a few weeks Germany has such a ministry, the ‘Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur’, as part of the new German Government chaired by Frau Merkel. The new BM minister is Alexander Dobrindt (@Datenminister on Twitter) and his Staatssecretärin für digitale Infrastruktur is Dorothee Bär (@DoroBaer on Twitter).