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Brussels gets busy supporting an open, high quality Internet

EU “Hackathon” this week brought coders and developers together to work on transparency in network quality and Internet access, and coincided with a European Parliament event on the need to protect the open Internet

Skype co-sponsored a special 24-hour ‘hackathon’ at the heart of the European institutions in Brussels. Kickstarted on November 8th at the European Parliament, Hack4Transparency saw over 40 coders working individually or in teams for 23 hours straight on 2 challenges around transparency, with the assistance of tech people from M-Labs, Skype, Google, the Open Net Initiative, and others.

The goal of the event was to get together talented European developers to facilitate the co-creation of tools based on existing code and data sources within a 24-hour time constraint. The best coder or team received an award at the end of the 24 hour coding marathon, in two distinct and parallel development tracks:

– the Internet Quality Track focused on enabling users to test and better understand the quality of Internet they are getting from their fixed or mobile operator; the winners of this challenge were from Italy, with runners-up from Italy and Romania. You can check and use the tools produced so far in order to test the quality of your Internet connection by visiting this page.

– the Global Transparency Track, that focused on better visualising the accessibility of information on the Internet. The winners were from Skype’s home in Luxembourg (not a fix, honestly ☺) and Germany, and runners-up from Denmark and Italy. You can see their tools and visualisations here.

For Skype, this is both part of our drive to support the open character of the Internet, and of our efforts to improve the quality of Skype calls by better understanding network quality – which you can read more about in this recent blog from our data analytics team.

In parallel, on November 9th a group of organisations including Skype, the BBC, Channel 4 of the UK, and Google was involved in a morning session at the European Parliament led by a cross-party group of Members of Parliament, to discuss the importance of an open Internet for economic growth. This event built on the work done by Plum Consulting for Skype, which we mentioned earlier on our blog, ‘Open Internet – a platform for growth‘.

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