José Soriano: It’s a great hon­or to be induct­ed in the Internet Hall of Fame. I don’t do it in my name alone. I do it for all the Peruvians who worked on this net­work we built in the 90s. We learned very well the teach­ings of Randy Bush. Sometimes when he taught us tech­nol­o­gy with love, and we saw poet­ic, hip­pie, unre­pen­tant words. And we cre­at­ed with that a vision. 

That vision was to make a net­work for all nations. In that time in Latin America, we had only aca­d­e­m­ic net­works for one side. On the oth­er side we had only NGO net­works. Sometimes, some gov­ern­ment had one net­work. But we did­n’t have the [?] of a nation­al net­work. That means take every­body into the Internet. And the mes­sage we received in that time was the Internet is gen­eros­i­ty, the Internet is inter­re­la­tion between peo­ple, the Internet is nego­ti­at­ing with all the peo­ple to have links, to have nets, to have some servers somewhere. 

Then we applied that in our coun­try. We talked with doc­tors, librar­i­ans, uni­ver­si­ties, NGOs, gov­ern­ments, and we put every­body togeth­er. But we real­ized some­thing. We had all this soft­ware in English. Then we decid­ed we must do some­thing about that. Then we trans­lat­ed every­thing we knew in Spanish to the peo­ple of the big cities in our coun­try. But, we were a coun­try of 40 mil­lion peo­ple at that time. And we had only 400 thou­sand com­put­ers. We did­n’t have enough to make an Internet for every­body in the 90s. 

Then we decid­ed we’re going to do some­thing where a lot of peo­ple could come and pay very lit­tle mon­ey to have access to the Internet. And we cre­at­ed some­thing that was… We did­n’t dis­cov­er any­thing. We made what we call in Spanish cab­i­nas públi­cas. Then we had a net­work, a UUCP net­work con­nect­ed with Randy Bush in the United States talk­ing two times a day send­ing infor­ma­tion. We said, But we need to do some­thing more.”

Then we began to nego­ti­ate and we made some­thing the tech­ni­cian said, You can­not do it. You can­not make Internet with satel­lites.” We did it. Other tech­ni­cians told us, You can­not do Internet using radio.” We used radio to com­mu­ni­cate with the Indians in the Amazonian for­est. Other tech­ni­cians said, You can­not use cel­lu­lar phones to com­mu­ni­cate because it’s not going to work.” We did it also. 

Then we had some tech­ni­cal achieve­ments also that were very impor­tant for our region. Because we did­n’t begin with the tech­nol­o­gy to teach peo­ple tech­nol­o­gy. We began with the prob­lems of the peo­ple, and we used tech­nol­o­gy to solve these prob­lems. One of these prob­lems was a mil­lion peo­ple speak Quechua, which is an Indian lan­guage in our coun­try. And togeth­er, all the peo­ple who work in this net­work began to see what we could do to also involve this com­mu­ni­ty in the Internet. Then we involved some pro­fes­sors in Quechua and we began to trans­late con­tent into Quechua and involved all the Indian com­mu­ni­ties in dif­fer­ent regions of our country. 

We had a lot of achieve­ments. But it’s not only the work of one per­son, as it was said here. It’s the work of many peo­ple. The unknown peo­ple who are not here today but I feel I need to rep­re­sent. That is the thou­sands of Peruvians who received help at the begin­ning from Randy Bush, from Steve Goldstein, from across the region. Ted Hope, who helped us to install the first servers in Peru. But after that, we asked to train our very young engi­neers to learn where the infor­ma­tion was. For us it was not a tech­no­log­i­cal prob­lem. For us it was a knowl­edge prob­lem. We need­ed that knowl­edge and we spread this knowl­edge even in the very very depths of the Amazonian forest. 

I can ask… Lo voy a decir en Español. Podría decir que quiero estar agrade­ci­do con los miles de Peruanos y lati­noamer­i­canos que nos allu­daron a con­stru­ir tam­bi­en los organ­is­mos del gob­ier­no de Internet, que jun­tos con­stru­imos en esos años 90 donde era muy difí­cil tra­ba­jar con las empre­sas que quer­ian man­ten­er sus monop­o­lios. De todas man­eras, esas luchas dieron como resul­ta­do el Internet que ten­emos hoy. And we are very hap­py about that.

Further Reference

Internet Hall of Fame pro­file