Action Plan 2021

Empowering People to Create a Bigger and Stronger Internet

The Internet Endures

No one could have predicted the events of 2020. 

Through it all, the Internet has been the one constant in many people’s lives. It has been our unwavering connection to the world around us. 

Because of its underpinnings, the Internet has remained reliable, and resilient – a lifeline for so many people throughout the globe. 

More than any other year, 2020 has reminded us of the importance of our mission.

We need to keep working to ensure the Internet is there for everyone.

Continuing on the path to 2025

As we do so, we are marching toward our strategic goals for the Internet to be open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy. 

Our Action Plan for 2021 is the next step in this journey. 

We will stay focused on building, promoting and defending the Internet in the areas where we can make the most difference, so that it remains a force for good in the world, and brings opportunity to all.   

A renewed sense of purpose and urgency

Growing the Internet

Everyone should have access to the Internet. It is a life-changing resource, and as long as it remains necessary, we will not stop working to increase the Internet’s reach and resilience. We are committed to closing the digital divide by bringing together the people and technology that are needed to give everyone the access they want.

Growing the Internet

Building Community Networks

Each day without Internet connectivity is a day of lost opportunity.

We plan to bring more people online by

  • Bridging the connectivity gap and expanding access
  • Supporting the human network
  • Supporting new and existing CNs
  • Building a global network of community networks champions
  • Focusing on local capacity
Fostering Infrastructure and Community Development

In many places, Internet access is marked by slow speeds, high costs, and unreliable service.

We plan to expand the Internet’s infrastructure by

  • Building the communities that build the Internet
  • Creating new and enhancing existing IXPs
  • Building capacities and leadership
Measuring the Internet

We can be a leader in helping the world to understand how the Internet is changing.

We will use data to help others strengthen their understanding of the Internet by

  • Offering insights into the health, availability, and evolution of the Internet
  • Continuing to provide a valuable platform that anyone can reference to identify trends, generate reports, and tell data-driven stories about the Internet
  • Partnering with measurement groups and economists to further enhance the platform

Strengthening the Internet

The Internet has radically transformed our lives for the better. In just a few decades, it has become a critical resource offering those with access virtually infinite opportunities to innovate and work together for the collective good. This didn’t happen by accident. The Internet owes its strength, resilience, and success to its open architecture. It was literally built to be built upon.

Strengthening the Internet

Promoting the Internet Way of Networking

If we don’t consider how our actions could harm the Internet, we risk breaking the underlying foundation that makes it work for everyone.

We will advocate for the ”Internet Way” by

  • Keeping the Internet strong, resilient, and a place for infinite opportunities
  • Protecting the “network of networks” that is the Internet
  • Training others about the critical properties of the Internet Way of Networking
  • Promoting the use of the Internet Impact Assessment Toolkit
Extending Encryption

The Internet is under threat – governments around the world are finding new and unique ways to undermine the use of strong encryption.

We will stand up for encryption by

  • Addressing the threats to protect and promote encryption through 2021 and beyond
  • Mitigating government attacks on encryption
  • Increasing the adoption of end-to-end (e2e) encryption by growing Global Encryption Coalition membership
  • Rallying around strong encryption with the launch of Global Encryption Day
Securing Global Routing

Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) are vital to an Internet we can all trust.

We will help improve the security and stability of Internet routing for everyone by

  • Reducing global routing incidents
  • Increasing uptake in routing security measures
  • Assessing the community’s readiness to lead MANRS
Preserving the Open Internet Model

Open standards are as critical now as they were in the early development of the Internet.

We will protect the open standards that underpin the open Internet model by

  • Taking a proactive approach to the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA)
  • Advocating for greater openness, transparency, and collaboration
  • Getting the message out to our community and partners

Empowering People to Take Action

People who champion the Internet are at the heart of what we do. The Internet Society’s strength comes from our Individual Members, Organizational Members, Chapters, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that constitute us. We work together with other communities of interest, partners, and allies to ensure the Internet thrives and meets the needs of all people. Thanks to that collaboration – volunteerism, funding, and policy and technical support – we can more effectively promote a bigger, stronger Internet.

Empowering People to Take Action

Supporting Community Participation

People who champion the Internet are at the heart of what we do.

We will better support their participation by

  • Attracting and engaging Individual Members
  • Providing fundamental information to our Chapters
  • Improving the function of Special Interest Groups
  • Strengthening our community connections and participation
  • Focusing on content to support participation
Building Expertise and Capacity

We can build up those who support our mission with with knowledge-sharing and learning opportunities.

We will strengthen our community by

  • Driving action through knowledge
  • Preparing future Internet advocates
  • Sharing cutting-edge knowledge
Securing Resources for Growth and Greater Impact

By cultivating broader financial support for the work of the Internet Society, we demonstrate our commitment to inclusiveness and ensure that our work responds to the needs that others perceive.

  • Targeting outreach for new, diversified funding and partnership

Financial Plan

Summary Statement of Activities

Our work in 2021 is supported by a financial plan that will ensure the Internet Society remains fiscally strong and operates effectively as a charitable, not-for-profit entity. The financial plan allocates resources so the Internet Society can continue to deliver on its mission to support and promote the development of the Internet as a global technical infrastructure, a resource to enrich people’s lives, and a force for good in society. The tables below provide further details of this year’s financial plan.

2021 Budget

(All amounts in US $000’s)

Memberships, Sponsorships, & Registrations$1,479
Grants & Contributions$3,046
Public Interest Registry Contribution$35,000
Action Plan Projects
  Building Community Networks$2,011
  Fostering Infrastructure and Community Development$1,868
  Measuring the Internet$475
  Promoting the Internet Way of Networking$490
  Extending Encryption$1,020
  Securing Global Routing$470
  Preserving the Open Internet Model$45
Initiatives for Empowering People$3,490
Personnel & Operating Costs$29,357
Board Governance$300
Net Surplus/(Deficit)

Board Designated Funds

(All amounts in US $000’s)

2021 Budget
Enhancing Technologies$1,420
Learning @ Internet Society$760
Early & Mid-Career Fellowship Programs$260
Individual Membership$200
Content Strategy Implementation$143
Total Board Designated Funds$2,782


This Action Plan represents our focus on achieving tangible outcomes that make a positive difference for the Internet.

  • We will work directly in areas that affect Internet access, and the security of the Internet.
  • We will advocate for an Internet we believe in through sustained and focused communications efforts that link to our objectives.
  • We will work to strengthen our standing as an influencer in Internet decision-making around the world, and as a trusted source of balanced insight and opinion.
  • We will make improvements and drive initiatives to help us be more effective in our work.

Creating an Internet for
everyone everywhere

Members globally

Chapters & SIGs

Organization members

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