2022 ISIF Asia grant recipients announced

The APNIC Foundation is pleased to announce the 2022 round of ISIF Asia grants!

The 18 grants – valued at a combined USD 1.23 million – include funding for satellite connectivity to support education projects in Samoa, the development of a Security Operations Center to support SMEs in Thailand, a disaster early warning system in Pakistan and a bug bounty programs to improve security within Sri Lankan government agencies.

This includes the five inaugural funding recipients of the Ian Peter Grants for Internet and the Environment, which will working around Internet availability as part of disaster response and preparedness as well as support for research in the intersection between Internet technologies and climate change. Grantees include the EcoInternet index, IoT deployments focusing on water management and disaster response, as well as efforts to tackle climate misinformation. The Ian Peter grants are split across the Inclusion and Knowledge programs.

Four economies are receiving ISIF Asia grants for the first time – Samoa, Hong Kong, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea . Grant recipients in 2022 overall are spread across 14 economies. The total number of economies supported by ISIF Asia grants now stands at 31 of the 56 in the APNIC Foundation region.

The full list of project summaries is included below. Headings show project title, grantee organization, economy and grant amount. Grants are listed by Foundation program, and by category (Impact, Scale-up or Small grants) in descending order of grant size.

Follow links for easy navigation.

INFRASTRUCTURE

INCLUSION

KNOWLEDGE

IAN PETER GRANTS FOR INTERNET AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Infrastructure

Samoa district connectivity project. Bluewave Wireless Company Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000.

There is a huge need to address the digital divide in rural communities in Samoa and provide Internet access to unserved and underserved communities. Currently the lack of reliable Internet access in rural areas in Samoa prevents communities from being able to fully participate in activities such as digital education, e-commerce and other online digital activities which can enhance their livelihoods.

This impact grant will enable the deployment of satellite connectivity to district sites across Samoa, (mainly rural and village-based communities), who currently have little to no reliable connectivity.  These unserved and underserved rural communities will also require redundancy for disaster preparedness.

These satellite sites will increase Internet availability and provide reliable connectivity access, through a dedicated district server where key social, economic and education initiatives can be delivered for community members.  This aligns with and supports the Government of Samoa’s District Community projects.

OpenLI for the Pacific Islands.  University of Waikato.  New Zealand. USD 85,000.

Conventional, proprietary, lawful intercept systems are expensive to buy, technically challenging to understand and can be difficult to manage.  For smaller economies and providers this substantial overhead that does not contribute to customer services but is often particularly important for law enforcement.

This scale-up grant will work with members of the Pacific Islands network operator and law enforcement communities to provide in-person and online training and support for Lawful Intercept deployment and operation.  It will use OpenLI the world’s only open source, ETSI-standard Lawful Intercept system.  Further development of OpenLI to meet local needs will also be part of the grant.

Open-source SOC-as-a-service for small and medium manufacturers. National Electronics and Computer Technology Center. Thailand. USD 30,000. 

Cybersecurity, though an essential component, is addressed less than other elements in the context of Thailand’s Industry 4.0 program. Strengthening cybersecurity in manufacturing means securing not only the IT (information technology) infrastructure, but also the OT (operation technology) components such as machines, controllers, and shop-floor facilities. To prevent and reduce impacts of cyber-attacks in a factory setting, a complex real-time monitoring and evaluation of cyber risks is necessary.

This small grant will fund the development of a Security Operations Center (SOC) to support small and medium factories in Thailand. This SOC will be implemented with all open-source software to reduce development and operation cost, making this service sustainable and affordable to SMEs. This project will test the prototype SOC services with three small and medium-sized factories. These factories will receive standard SOC services: cybersecurity monitoring, incident response, vulnerability assessment and threat analysis for a period of at least three months. After fine-tuning the SOC operation and service based on feedback from these factories, the prototype SOC-as-a-service model will scale out to serve more factories in Thailand.

IPv6 Deployment Grants

ISIF Asia also recently announced four IPv6 Deployment grants, that are part of the Infrastructure program. They were:

  • BOOM! Inc., Micronesia: USD 250,000
  • Tonga Communication Corporation, Tonga: USD 250,000
  • National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal, India: USD 240,000
  • Yayasan Badan Wakaf Universitas Islam Indonesia, Indonesia: USD 60,000

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Inclusion

Indigitech PacifiCode. Digital Education Limited. Samoa. USD 150,000

In 2019, Digital Education Limited (publicly known as Code Avengers) visited the big island of Savai’i and found that only two out of 61 schools visited had Internet connectivity and access to e-learning platforms. Teachers reported feeling left behind as they had limited access to educational resources.

In 2021, Code Avengers and E3 Rural Samoa Trust successfully piloted a coding workshop at Siufaga School in Savai’i. Currently the teachers at Siufaga School are running it as an after-school program which has had a total of 128 students.

This impact grant will increase digital literacy and bridge the digital divide. The project will increase the capacity of 10 schools to deliver ICT education. It will improve Internet access, availability to hardware and professional development of key teachers to deliver an empowered in-classroom program that aligns to the Samoan ICT curriculum and gives students confidence in a digital world.

Be the A11y. PT Suara Inklusi Semesta. Indonesia. USD 85.000

People with disabilities in Indonesia face difficulties accessing vital information and digital services that are currently not following digital accessibility (a11y) standards.

This scale-up grant will fund the further development and first use case of Ba11y. Ba11y is a crowdsourced accessibility reporting platform designed to gather feedback from people with visual impairment across Indonesia to evaluate the accessibility of various local websites and applications. The use case will seek to influence companies or services to take action to improve their level of digital accessibility.

In addition, this project seeks to improve technical capacity through activities such as the pop-up empathy lab, bootcamp, and design challenges. These activities expect to expand understanding and increase technical capacity to build inclusive and accessible digital products and enhance collaboration between technical communities and people with disabilities in Indonesia.

Combating cyberbullying for better Internet inclusivity: An optimized deep learning approach. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 30,000.

There is limited awareness of cyberbullying in developing economies, particularly in areas with recent Internet penetration, and particularly among young people.

This small grant will embark on fostering awareness of cyberbullying threats through several promotional activities in Malaysia and Indonesia. The grant also aims to increase Internet inclusivity by reducing the likelihood of cyberbullying caused by religion, gender, race, and age.

This project will develop an optimized deep learning-based algorithm that can identify cyberbullying incidences automatically. The proposed algorithm will also help in promoting awareness of cyberbullying threats by providing examples of words linked with cyberbullying attempts.

Empowering women, youth, and special needs people in the tech Sector. UULEN TYEKHNOLOGI SONIRKHOGCH ZALUU INJYENYERUUDIIN BULGEM TBB. Mongolia. USD 30,000

In Mongolia, there is a severe shortage of Internet engineers. At the same time, groups like women, youth, and those with special needs experience higher levels of unemployment.

This small grant will help address this skills disconnect.

Most of the technical engineers that work in Mongolia graduated from domestic universities, which means they often have not had opportunities to study cloud technology or developed skills in foreign languages. UULEN TYEKHNOLOGI SONIRKHOGCH ZALUU INJYENYERUUDIIN BULGEM TBB (known publicly as The Cloud Academy) teaches relevant, up-to-date cloud skills with an internationally certified curriculum in Mongolian native language, but with professional technical terms in English to help assist participants to connect with their peers globally.

Affordable Internet for the community by the community. Janata Wifi Ltd. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.

Most of the Bangladesh population uses smartphones as their primary device to access the Internet. They can neither afford to pay for high-quality cellular broadband subscription fees, nor can they bear the initial setup cost of cable broadband.

This small grant will allow for setting up community Wi-Fi hotspots in low-income areas, where people can use high-quality and affordable broadband Internet with the mobile devices they already own. These community hotspots would comprise Wi-Fi access points, wireless access gateway, broadband backhaul, innovative software, and power backup to ensure high-bandwidth uninterrupted Internet connection without data usage limits.

Micro merchants from the communities would act as hosts and marketers of these hotspots and local Internet Service Providers would provide the broadband backhaul. This model provides incentives to all stakeholders to expand and maintain affordable broadband coverage for even the most disadvantaged communities.

Assisting natural beekeeping in rural and remote areas using LoRa-based IoT and Drones. Sejong University. Republic of Korea. 30,000.

Beehive management and monitoring are challenges for beekeepers, particularly those using natural methods, because the beehives are widely dispersed around rural and remote areas where the terrain makes transportation and telecommunication difficult.

This small grant will study proof of concept ideas for providing Internet availability by using an Internet of Things (IoT) and drone system for remote beehive management.

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Knowledge

Building a model for community networks linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development. Institute for Social Entrepreneurship in Asia, Inc. Bangladesh, China and the Philippines. USD 150,000

This impact grant will kickstart development of a model to understand how community networks can be linked to social enterprise and sustainable local economic development.  The project will explore how these models could contribute to addressing the challenge of sustainability faced by community networks serving poor communities and households that usually do not have the capacity to pay for connectivity services. The project will explore different approaches in Bangladesh, China and The Philippines.

In Bangladesh, the project will support a cellular router system in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, serving women groups and artisans who are already suppliers to a Fair-Trade organization, so that they are connected through the Internet and able to communicate with product designers, quality checkers, and marketing channels. In China, a digital platform will be created to connect smallholder farmers to document, share and showcase their knowledge on quality food production, biodiversity conservation, sustainable farming and local cultural practices. In the Philippines, the project will support innovative schemes of digital networking and marketing addressing poor connectivity to serve community-based coffee enterprises of farmers and indigenous communities as well as organized small-scale producers engaged in the sustainable agriculture value chain.

Government bug bounty program. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000.

Bug Zero is currently actively promoting bug bounties in local private institutions and aims to expand the scope by introducing bug bounties to governmental institutions in partnership with the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and SL Cert in Sri Lanka.

This scale-up grant will help to carry out initial threat modelling for building a threat classification framework for all government and government-affiliated entities, which includes 200+ potential individual government organizations. This will aid in the promotion of bug bounties as an effective tool for government organizations as well as a good economic opportunity for youth.

In the initial phase, the project will run pilot programs for the identified set of government entities to understand the end-to-end pipeline that involves from getting a vulnerability report to an actual fix in terms of helping them with not only using the bug bounty platform but also with the triaging and vulnerability remediation validation phases.

Adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks. Griffith University. Australia. USD 30,000

This project investigates adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks where malicious attackers use machine learning to learn the characteristics of wireless channels to tamper with network communications.

This small grant will implement a Software-Defined Radio (SDR)-based adversarial machine learning attacks in wireless networks and evaluate the impact of these attacks. A good understanding of these adversarial attacks will enable the design of effective countermeasures against them.

PumonAI: Multi Institutional Collaboration for Pneumonia Screening. Universitas Prasetiya Mulya. Indonesia. USD 30,000

Pneumonia is considered one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five worldwide, with one child dying every 39 seconds. In Indonesia, according to UNICEF, childhood pneumonia alone claimed the lives of more than 19,000 children under five in 2018. Such a high number of childhood pneumonia death cases ranks Indonesia among the highest in the world, above all other Southeast Asian countries.

This small grant will help develop a system for fast pneumonia detection with high precision and robustness, accessible through various devices, such as smartphone, personal computer as well as the Picture Archiving and Communication (PACS) workstations used in hospitals.

The project will develop a collaboration platform among hospitals using Artificial Intelligence in vast area in Indonesia. This project will not only be dedicated to early detection of pneumonia, but also reinforcing patient data anonymity and privacy.

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Ian Peter Grants for Internet and the Environment

ISLET Connect. CVISNET Foundation, Inc. Philippines. USD 85,000

The digital divide in the Philippines has resulted in uneven distribution of Internet access points, with them being concentrated in areas with vast population. This threatens the social and economic progress of those living in secluded communities including the islands of Gilutongan, Cawhagan and Pangan-an under the City of Lapu-lapu and the Municipality of Cordova Cebu, Philippines. These islands have only limited to no Internet service connection.

The Internet for Safety, Livelihood, e-Education and Tourism for Vulnerable Islands of Cebu Province (ISLET Connect) Project focuses on providing the identified remote and vulnerable islands a stable broadband Internet solution and a solar powered Locally Accessible Cloud System (LACS) facility for immediate communication and disaster response support which can be used even in the absence of telecommunication and Internet services. The project also aims to establish project sustainability through the promotion of correct utilization of the internet service to maximize the community’s progress in terms of Safety, Livelihood, e-Education and Tourism. 

This grant is in the Inclusion program.

Early warning and communication system for flood risk reduction in Gilgit-Baltistan. Lahore University of Management Sciences. Pakistan. USD 85,000.

Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, as evidenced by multiple climate disasters, including the 2022 floods, increasing Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF), and rain-fed flash floods. This increasing vulnerability to climate change, especially in the high mountain region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, has necessitated installing a Flood Early Warning System that is scalable and sustainable within the economic, infrastructure, and digital divide context of the region. 

This scale-up grant will help us leverage open-source IoT technologies to deploy cost-effective, off-grid flood early warning systems to build the disaster risk resilience of climate-vulnerable communities in Gilgit- Baltistan, Pakistan. We will also explore the solution space of Internet technologies, especially the TV White Space devices, and assess its feasibility as a cost-effective broadband pop-up Internet service.

This grant is in the Inclusion program.

IoT data-driven water management for climate resilient communities. Similie Timor Lda. Timor Leste. USD 85,000.

Climate hazards such as droughts, floods, and heavy rains are greatly affecting communities throughout the Asia-Pacific. Over 80% of Timor Leste’s rural population depends on rain-fed agriculture, and the majority of domestic water supplies are fed by high altitude vulnerable shallow aquifers. The lack of conservation activities regularly results in topsoil loss. Conservation activities around catchment areas have been ongoing in Timor Leste for over a decade. While many communities have benefited from these efforts, the government can be reluctant to include these activities in its national policies, as there is no quantitative data to validate them.

This Scale Up grant will fund and develop Similie’s ability to use data-driven science to monitor conservation and remote water supply activities. Similie’s IoT technology will be deployed and monitor two rural catchment areas, water supply and localized weather activities. The data will then be analyzed and visualized within the Similie online platform.

This grant is in the Knowledge program.

EcoInternet index. DotAsia Foundation Ltd. Hong Kong. USD 30,000.

Following the largest drop in global carbon emissions in 2020 due to the pandemic, emissions levels have bounced back to their highest ever. With the non-stop, explosive growth of Internet use, it is important to figure out the formula for a sustainable and eco-friendly Internet.
 
This small grant will fund the continual research on carbon footprints of Internet infrastructures, efficiency of data exchange, use of renewable energy in the country, and development of digital economy. These would all factor into the EcoInternet Index, which would enable meaningful and comprehensive comparisons among different jurisdictions and observe the changes throughout the years.
 
These analyses would be useful indicators for policy making and implementation, to drive governments and business sectors to join their efforts together to lay out concrete action plans towards an EcoInternet.

This grant is in the Knowledge program.

Tackling climate change misinformation. Faculty of Social and Political Science through the Center for Digital Society. Indonesia. USD 30,000.

Online misinformation usually targets certain demographics that are prone to misinformation due to a lack of digital literacy.

This small grant will help the Center for Digital Society map digital literacy skills, to help counter misinformation related to climate-change and improve digital literacy skills. It will consist of a series of training events dedicated to demographic groups who are most vulnerable. It will also contribute to policy development through research.

The first stage of the project comprises several research activities: desk research, online survey, and sentiment analysis research. The second stage consists of a series of community outreach programs.

This grant is in the Knowledge program.

The APNIC Foundation thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the members of the Selection Committees for their hard work, and the Trust for supporting these projects. Technical reports on the projects will be published on the ISIF Asia website as they are completed.

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2022 ISIF Asia Grants now open for applications

ISIF Asia is now accepting applications for the 2022 funding cycle.

ISIF Asia empowers organizations across the Asia Pacific region to research, design, and implement Internet-based solutions to solve Internet development challenges that support community development and growth. Since 2008, ISIF Asia has supported 99 grants and 29 awards, allocating over USD 5.4 million to 128 innovative initiatives across 27 economies.

An infographic of the grant types

Applications are open to public and private sector organizations, academia, non-profits, and social enterprise organizations.

There are three thematic areas.

  • Inclusion: Initiatives that help ensure everyone has meaningful access to the Internet, online applications and services
  • Infrastructure: Initiatives to increase Internet speed, reduce maintenance and operational costs, and improve reliability and/or security
  • Knowledge: Initiatives that develop technical capacity and/or research around Internet network operations for technical and non-technical audiences

In 2022, ISIF Asia will also include grants across all three programs to support innovative solutions to the environmental impact of the Internet. The Ian Peter Grants for Internet and the Environment will be made to commemorate the life and work of Ian Peter, Internet pioneer and environmental activist.

ISIF Asia’s IPv6 Deployment Grants are also open for organizations planning to deploy IPv6 in the Asia Pacific. IPv6 Deployment Grants range between USD 30,000 and USD 250,000.

In addition, three small grants (USD 30,000 each) will be made available across any program area to economies that have not previously received ISIF Asia grants. A full list of economies that ISIF Asia has supported is available here.

Applications are open now until 15 May 2022 at 11:59 AM (UTC +10). For application and selection criteria please familiarize yourself with the Funding Portal, where you will be able to submit your application.

2021 ISIF Asia grant recipients announced

A large-scale collaborative project among research networks in the Asia Pacific region to build trust and Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) capabilities is among the many Internet development and research projects being funded in the newly announced group of ISIF Asia supported projects.

Other projects include IPv6 training, an extensive honeynet cybersecurity project spanning several economies in Asia, and knowledge sharing between Network Operator Groups (NOGs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

ISIF Asia received a total of 74 applications for this round of funding, resulting in the biggest group of ISIF Asia grantees ever, with 22 projects covering 16 economies. Some of these projects cover multiple economies. Three economies are receiving funds for the first time: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Lao PDR.

The grants total USD 1.82 million in funding, and are spread across three categories: Infrastructure (developing the Internet), Inclusion (accessing the Internet) and Knowledge (skills and research about the Internet). Funding for these grants is part of the Asia Pacific Internet Development Trust’s 2021 funding for the APNIC Foundation.

The full list of summaries is included below. Follow links below for easy navigation.

INFRASTRUCTURE

INCLUSION

KNOWLEDGE

Infrastructure

Expand the Central Australian Desert Project to serve the Nitjpurru indigenous community in Pigeon Hole. Distant Curve Remote Area Telecommunications. Australia. USD 150,000.

Nitjpurru is a community in Australia’s Northern Territory of approximately 140 people, 450kms away from the nearest town. Nitjpurru is accessible only by four wheel drive vehicle and access is subject to flooding during the wet season. Telecommunications infrastructure is limited to a single payphone, shared by the entire community.

The Central Australian Desert Project connected the Northern Territory communities of Engawala and Atitjere with an embedded system using solar powered microwave relays. This impact grant will fund the development of a similar system for Nitjpurru. The project will also integrate a framework for supervising various systems needed to run the relays, cost-effectively monitor them, and ensure they are providing the necessary connectivity.

Sustainable smart villages in rural Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea University of Technology. Papua New Guinea. USD 85,000.

Over 80% of Papua New Guinea’s population lives in rural areas. The government is promoting agriculture and education as key aspects of its development goals, but is challenged by limited connectivity caused by unreliable power supply, a lack of appropriate communications technology, and a shortage of skilled people to maintain infrastructure and train users.

This scale-up grant will help develop a ‘smart village’ solution, seeking to address all these challenges, connecting mobile devices to enhance education and provide information in the local language, supported by a reliable power system monitored by sensors and calibrated based on machine learning techniques. Data traffic, together with power consumption data, will be used to develop a business model for scaling the smart village model further.

The project will provide ten community Wi-Fi sites as sustainable services to rural areas, and aims to cultivate partnerships between industry, community, and academic institutions, to develop digital literacy packages as a cost-effective solution to closing the digital divide for diverse user groups in the community.

Field-ready network-coded tunnels for satellite links. The University of Auckland. New Zealand. USD 85,000.

This project aims to widen the circle of people able to deploy titrated coded tunnels, create reference systems on actual satellite links in the field, and demonstrate that this technology brings actual performance benefits to real users.

This project builds on a previous ISIF Asia project which researched how coded tunnels over satellite links can accelerate individual packet flows. The current project will take it out of the lab and show users that the technology is ready for wider deployment.

This scale-up grant involves a partnership with Gravity Internet and Te One School on Chatham Island, with Gravity Internet being familiarized with the new technology. They will work with an engineering link to Chatham Island using a satellite link to connect to the school.

Hybrid LoRa Network for underserved community Internet. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia. USD 85,000.

The Chini Lake, Pahang area of Malaysia has challenging terrain with thick foliage. These conditions mean that the 500 indigenous Orang Asli residents, spread across six villages, lack access to mobile data coverage.

As a solution, LoRa wireless technology has been proposed. The scale-up grant will help establish a LoRa Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) gateway on a helium balloon, equipped with Mesh LoRa architecture that has text and voice messaging capabilities, as well as a cloud-based data management platform.

This will give local residents access to digital materials through a messaging system, accommodating users of all different literacy levels, as well as water level alerts for mitigation of flooding and drought situations, and an avenue for promoting local products and services through the cloud-based data management platform.

Securing Software Defined Network architectures. The University of Newcastle. Australia. USD 30,000.

This project involves the design and development of techniques for detecting attacks on Software Defined Network (SDN) switches.

SDN has proven useful for handling the growing complexity of networks. It is widely deployed in Enterprise, Cloud, and Internet Service Provider networks. As SDN becomes more common, so do cyberattacks that exploit SDN vulnerabilities. There is a growing need to enhance security in SDN networks. This small grant will implement security techniques to validate against different attacks on SDN switches and develop a Switch Security Application for SDN Controllers for detecting attacks on switches.

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Inclusion

Connectivity Bridges: Reaching remote locations with high-speed Internet services. Rural Broadband — AirJaldi. India. USD 150,000.

Various Internet infrastructure initiatives have deployed technologies across parts of India using both wired and wireless Internet. However, rural areas aren’t easily connected leading to some infrastructure being under-used, particularly large communication towers.

This impact grant will help create a hybrid ‘WiFiber’ system that bridges existing infrastructure and adds capability and coverage to reach users in the mostly rural state of Arunachal Pradesh with fast and affordable Internet services.

Local community-based Internet infrastructure development and Internet utilization in rural Indonesia. Common Room. Indonesia. USD 150,000.

An existing partnership between Common Room, the Association for Progressive Communications, and the UK’s Digital Access Programme has resulted in the development of a School for Community Networking in the Kasepuhan Ciptagelar region of Indonesia.

This impact grant will help the school provide necessary infrastructure for a ‘build out’ to extend Internet deployment and training for indigenous and other rural communities in and around seven locations.

The project will provide towers, wireless equipment, servers, and training. It will also provide support as community-based Internet is rolled out, to help demonstrate ways the Internet can benefit these communities.

Equal access to information society in Myanmar. Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation. Myanmar. USD 150,000.

This project will help the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation combine and scale three programs: Mobile Information Literacy, Tech Age Girls Myanmar, and the Business Startup Development Program.

The Beyond Access project has already equipped 210 libraries around Myanmar with Internet, enabling 360,000 people to use a digital device for the first time. Telco Ooredoo Myanmar will invest in an additional 40 community libraries, mostly in underserved or unserved areas.

This impact grant will focus on equipping thousands of participants — primarily youth and women — at these 40 additional community libraries to develop digital literacy skills.

Broadband for all in Yap. Boom! Inc. Federated States of Micronesia. USD 85,000.

This project will establish an island-wide Fixed Wireless Access broadband network on the island of Yap.

In 2017, Yap to the world via high-speed submarine fibre-optic cable. There is still a lot of work to be done before this improved capacity can be used to provide broadband connectivity to island residents. In a recent proof-of-concept, Boom! was able to provide high speed connectivity to a school in Yap, having obtained the necessary licence and wavelength agreements. This scale-up grant will extend coverage to other parts of Yap.

Bamboo towers for low-cost and sustainable rural Internet connectivity. National Institute of Technology Silchar. India. USD 85,000.

This project is a collaboration among the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), National Institute of Technology Silchar (NIT Silchar), and Uravu from India. The project will develop and promote low-cost and sustainable bamboo communication towers to expand access to broadband networks in remote and rural areas of India. The scale-up grant will fund the development of detailed instructions on how to construct bamboo towers — including selection of bamboo, treatment, testing of bamboo culms and their joints, structural design considering connectivity requirements and structural specifications, optimization, foundation design, erection of the tower, and its maintenance. Towers will also be constructed to test the proposed methods, and they will be able to be built in any region. Detailed multimedia manuals will also be developed and available on a dedicated website.

OASIS data garden project. SATSOL. Solomon Islands. USD 85,000.

Some communities in the Solomon Islands are faced with the challenges of a lack of electricity for digital devices, and limited means to access money electronically. This means that residents have to travel to a town to access banknotes.

This scale-up grant will fund the development and proof-of-concept testing of a ‘data garden’ that will supply affordable connectivity, power, and a digital payment system.

An OASIS data garden can be easily transported to any remote location in the Solomon Islands via small boat or vehicle, and will operate autonomously. The data garden will support remote villages and communities where it can provide for individuals, households, businesses, schools, and clinics.

Internet connection to four villages in San Isidro. Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF). The Philippines. USD 30,000.

This small grant project will connect four villages in the San Isidro municipality of Mindanao via Point to Point (P2P) data connections. A P2P connection is a closed network data transport service that traverses the public Internet but is inherently secure with no data encryption needed. A P2P network can also be configured to carry voice, video, Internet, and data services together over the same point to point connection. DMSF will partner with local organizations in each village to develop local capacity for maintenance and security.

Inclusive and efficient access to Internet services and information for persons with disabilities in Bangladesh. Humanity & Inclusion. Bangladesh. USD 30,000.

This project aims to assist people with visual disabilities in Bangladesh, by disseminating standards on accessible web design and screen-reading software.

Around 20% of the population of Bangladesh lives under the poverty line. As Internet adoption rapidly climbs, new opportunities in employment and education are presented via the Internet. However, people with visual disabilities face added challenges in Internet accessibility.

The project, funded with a small grant, will translate visual accessibility standards into the local language and train web developers in these standards. It will also engage in policy dialogue and advocacy for people with disabilities.

Empowering remote agricultural communities in Lao PDR through long-range wide area networks. Makerbox Lao. Lao PDR. USD 30,000.

This project will leverage the possibilities offered by low-power/long-range Internet of Things solutions to bridge the technological and communication divide between urban centres and remote agricultural communities in Lao PDR.

The small grant will help develop a prototype technology that uses long range (LoRa) wireless networking to relay agricultural data (such as soil, weather, and water information) from sensors in remote areas to forecasting experts, then relay that forecast information to farmers in a format that supports their work. The design also considers local conditions such as the absence of power grid connections by developing a solar power support, which LoRa is ideally suited to handle due to its low power consumption.

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Knowledge

Intelligent honeynet threat sharing platform. Swiss German University. Indonesia. USD 150,000.

This project will fully extend the design of the existing Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform [PDF] to provide a broader range of honeypot support, with intelligently categorized and correlated threat data, enabling organizations to share and exchange the threat information with other organizations with a consistent format.

This impact grant will support a partnership between Swiss German University, Badan Siber & Sandi Negara (Indonesia’s National Cyber and Crypto Agency), and the Indonesia Honeynet Project (IHP).

A range of economies are participating in the project, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and Viet Nam.

Two previous ISIF Asia grants supported the development of the Honeynet Threat Sharing Platform, to link honeypots together in a Honeynet that collects information on malicious Internet traffic for a public dashboard. To facilitate cooperation among participants, the Cyber Security Community Information Sharing and Analysis Center (CSC-ISAC) was also established.

The project involved four types of honeypot: Cowrie (SSH honeypots), Dionaea (Multi-Service Honeypots), Elastichoney, and Conpots (Industrial Control Honeypots).

Developing a collaborative BGP routing, analyzing and diagnosing platform. Tsinghua University. China. USD 150,000.

This project is a collaboration between National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) and research universities in the Asia Pacific, to build the kind of trust and BGP capabilities among NRENs that the wider BGP-speaking community relies upon. Currently, there is no large-scale cooperative monitoring system for BGP routing and no collaborative system for BGP hijacking and mitigation among Asia Pacific NRENs.

An earlier but ongoing project resulted in the development of a small-scale looking glass platform and BGP routing collection platform. This impact grant will expand the platform to a BGP hijacking detection and mitigation system and foster the emerging NREN network operations and security community. In addition, the team will analyze the robustness of routing in the Asia Pacific region and suggest how to improve the reliability of Internet routing through cooperative interconnections.

The organizations involved include CERNET (China), SingAREN (Singapore), ThaiREN (Thailand), BdREN (Bangladesh), LEARN (Sri Lanka), AfgREN (Afghanistan), MYREN (Malaysia), NREN Nepal (Nepal), APAN-JP (Japan), ERNET (India), DOST-ASTI/PREGINET (Philippines), HARNET/JUCC (Hong Kong), Gottingen University (Germany), Surrey University (UK), and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication (China).

Bug Zero. SCoRe Lab. Sri Lanka. USD 85,000.

Bug bounties are when organizations offer rewards to those who are the first to report a problem in their software. This helps them stay ahead of emerging security vulnerabilities.

Bug bounty platforms have helped many organizations in advanced economies worldwide but South Asia has been hesitant to embrace them. Equipped with empirical research data on published results, SCoRe Lab has already started a bug bounty platform in Sri Lanka called Bug Zero.

This scale-up grant will help promote bug bounties as an effective tool for organizations, while also promoting them as a good economic opportunity for youth and encourage inclusion in an area that has generally been male-dominated.

Training and knowledge sharing: Network analysis for AI transformation. TeleMARS. Australia. USD 85,000.

Research from a previous ISIF Asia grant demonstrated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques can be used to resolve problems when detecting cyberattacks. This scale-up grant will help implement that work on a larger scale. This will involve strengthening knowledge sharing across Network Operator Groups (NOGs) and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), developing training and mentoring resources, and improving professional capabilities in the areas of diagnosis, monitoring, and analysis of historical datasets.

Webinar series to support IPv6 knowledge transfer. India Internet Engineering Society (IIESoc). India. USD 30,000.

This project will continue a series of webinars that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, supported by ISIF Asia through a 2020 grant.

It can be difficult to encourage enterprises to adopt IPv6. One of the issues is a lack of understanding about the technical aspects of IPv6 among some enterprise technicians. Sometimes, technicians seek training but management does not always see the business case for adoption. This small grant will continue and expand a previous series of webinars supported by ISIF Asia that have helped enterprises develop IPv6 skills, in an effort to combat a cycle of misinformation that makes enterprises hesitant to adopt IPv6.

DIY COW — An inclusive community operated wireless kit for enabling local communications at remote locations. Servelots Infotech. India. USD 30,000.

Using lessons learned during remote mentoring for young women in COVID-19 lockdowns, this project will create a Do It Yourself kit that will allow someone with no Internet access to set up a wireless access point with a local access server.

Establishing network connections in remote communities is difficult and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t always see a commercial case in establishing Internet services in small areas. This project funds the creation of kits that can be immediately deployed to connect these communities without relying on any existing Internet connection.

This small grant will help develop kits that allow for the rapid establishment of a server capable of hosting applications that can immediately be used by the community. The kit contains all the necessary instruction materials to be set up without an Internet connection. It can also be connected to the Internet when and if the Internet gateway becomes available, and the set-up materials can easily be adapted to other languages

Cybersecurity education. Passerelles Numeriques Cambodia. Cambodia. USD 30,000.

This project will create fun and accessible online learning content on security issues faced by the public and organizations while navigating the Internet. Cambodia is rapidly digitizing, due in part to the rapid adoption of smartphones. However, with increased Internet adoption comes an increase in cyber-threats. The Cambodian government is currently in discussions to establish a cyber-crime law.

In the meantime, there is a need for greater cybersecurity awareness. This project is a partnership between NGOs Passerelles Numeriques Cambodia and The Foundry. It will develop simple interactive videos and quizzes to test awareness and develop public knowledge about security threats they can encounter in their daily lives. This project, funded with a small grant, focuses on youth and women facing digital literacy challenges.

Design, development and operation of an SDN-based Internet eXchange playground for networkers. University of Malaya. Malaysia. USD 30,000.

Network operators have access to a variety of technical training programs, some include the use of simulations, which are useful to put theory into practice but can be limited to simple configurations for experiments.

This small grant will help build on existing training programs by developing an ‘Internet Exchange Playground’ with a Kubernetes cluster that can help introduce SDN-based BGP/RPKI/RDAP knowledge. The Kubernetes nodes will be scattered across different economies, allowing participants to experiment with cross-border network topologies. It will allow for use of VXLAN and SDN controllers in a WAN environment.

To enhance access, there will be four on-line training, tutorials and seminars aimed at fostering participation, particularly among women. The project will be fostering participation from Bhutan, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The APNIC Foundation thanks all applicants for sharing their ideas, the members of the Selection Committees for their hard work, and the Trust for supporting these projects. Technical reports on the projects will be published on the ISIF Asia website as they are completed.

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