Regional Internet and Development Dialogue

Internet of Opportunity for Europe

When: 07 November 2017
Where: Brussels, Belgium

The Internet is a motor for economic growth, but also a cause for concern. What are the risks for the consumer? How should we address them - without killing innovation? What is the role for multiple stakeholders?

Format & Audience

This “Internet of Opportunity” event will gather 100+ participants from the business, political and civil society communities to discuss the development of the Internet and its relation to the digital economy and economic growth. High level stakeholders will attend both in speaking roles and in the audience. The event will be divided into three sessions, with keynote speeches followed by two panel debates.

Keynotes: Setting the scene

Internet development in Europe is among the most advanced in the world. Europe has the highest Internet penetration levels of any region, and the digital economy is driving growth. The Internet can enable increased social and economic inclusion for all, and has been recognised as an enabler for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Young people face significant unemployment prospects, however as a generation of digital natives they are perhaps best placed to benefit from inclusive access to the Internet and skills training. The tensions between the promise of a digital economy and the threat to jobs must be addressed, while the promise of social inclusion and digital access must be realised for all.

Session 1: Using the Internet as a driver of economic growth

The impact of the Internet on jobs is a significant challenge

The emerging ‘uberisation’ of the economy is challenging traditional jobs and changing the nature of employment, while automation is beginning to replace current jobs.

None of the top 20 largest Internet companies driving these changes and generating much-needed jobs and revenues originated in Europe.

Can Europe ever have its own Silicon Valley? Is this the right ambition to have?

The Internet must be fully harnessed as a platform for innovation

The Internet provides access to tools needed for entrepreneurship as well as a global online marketplace that can enable entrepreneurs to flourish in Europe.

Big data, cloud services, and the Internet of things all provide opportunities to create a data economy led by new innovative companies.

Trust and security are essential prerequisites for the expected higher levels of digitisation.

Session 2: Developing an inclusive digital economy

How can the challenges of the Internet be turned into opportunities? Can Europe build on its advanced online position to increase innovation and social inclusion? During our conference, we will explore how to achieve an Internet of Opportunity for everyone, all over Europe.

Digital inclusion requires Internet access, which must be extended to all unserved areas, be strengthened in underserved areas, and continue to be upgraded all over Europe.

Inclusion also requires a focus on increasing demand – comprehensive digital skills are important to turn users from consumers of online content and services into creators, enabling entrepreneurship to create jobs, revenue, and new and relevant services.

Restoring trust is also critical to online inclusion, using a collaborative approach to handle user data in an ethical manner.

For more information, please contact the Internet Society European Regional Bureau at

Download the event brochure.