Internet Service Providers


Two years ago the New York Times reported that global internet traffic has been increasingly avoiding the United States. It means the US intelligence establishments were increasingly losing control over the other countries’ cyber data. That was the twilight of George Bush 2.0 era. Now the US and 39 or more countries are secretly negotiating a new global agreement called Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
In a major win for think tanks seeking to bring evidence to the policy process in developing countries, the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa, by its decision The Competition Commission of South Africa v TELKOM (Case No: 623/2008), has unequivocally overruled the claims of bias leveled against the LINK Centre, then headed by our colleague Alison Gillwald (now heading Research ICTs Africa). In addition to getting its odd argument rejected, Telkom will have to pay a 3.7 Billion Rand fine plus costs. Ouch! Alison is the featured dinner speaker at CPRsouth4 in Negombo, Sri Lanka, on December 7th.
Reproducing an op-ed piece from elsewhere: Barack Obama, self-confessed BlackBerry addict, will undoubtedly be the most tech-savvy president in history. But being tech-savvy isn’t the same as being tech-smart. The combination of Obama in the White House and new leaders of key tech-related committees in Congress should send warning flags up for all who cherish the freedom and vitality of the Internet. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the technology sector.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it has denied the Canadian Association of Internet Providers’ (CAIP) application to end Bell Canada’s practice of “throttling” its wholesale internet services. In a decision that defies all logic, the federal agency told the coalition of 55 ISP’s that Bell Canada’s decision to discriminate against particular applications and types of content was “not discriminatory” because Bell throttled both wholesale and retail customers in an equal fashion. “Based on the evidence before us, we found that the measures employed by Bell Canada to manage its network were not discriminatory. Bell Canada applied the same traffic-shaping practices to wholesale customers as it did to its own retail customers,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.
An intriguing move from a consortium that includes Google that seeks to provide cheap and plentiful broadband to areas around the Equator: O3b, by contrast, intends to offer bandwidth on a wholesale basis to internet-service providers, and transmission services to telecom operators, to link remote base stations to their core networks. Furthermore, O3b’s service will be available only in a ribbon around the equator, covering most developing countries. It can start offering this service with just five satellites (it will eventually have 16) circling 8,000km above the equator. These should be in orbit by late 2010. More on this here.
Some regular readers of LIRNEasia blog would just love this news. Internet service providers (ISPs) in UK have just a few weeks to sign up to a voluntary code on the promotion of broadband speeds or the industry will face mandatory regulation, the communications watchdog has warned. Attempts to set up a voluntary system providing consumers with accurate information were failing, Ofcom’s chief executive Ed Richards told a parliamentary select committee. “This is a near-term issue that needs to be dealt with now and we would like to be able to get the industry to sign up within the next few weeks,” he said. BT, the UK’s largest broadband provider, said it backed the plan.
Despite protests from broadcasters, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week will begin testing devices that will allow Internet service providers to utilize unused spectrum for wireless broadband service. The commission on January 24 will kick off a four-to-six week lab test of equipment that will allow ISPs to access this spectrum, known as “white spaces.” That will be followed by an additional six-week field test period, the FCC said. At issue is the transition from analog to digital TV signals. In an effort to free up spectrum for public safety use, Congress has ordered TV broadcasters to shift their signals from analog to digital by February 2009.
The break up of AT&T in 1984 led to a seismic shift in telecom policy and regulatory thinking worldwide and also created the conditions for the Internet boom. New Zealand is a small country quite unlike the US, but it has taken an unprecedented step that has the potential of changing policy and regulatory thinking again. As the excerpt below says, the split is on the lines of the BT reorganization in the UK. That is true. But the key difference is that BT reorganized voluntarily and NZ Telecom, not.
  Leased Line Tariffs to be Regulated Bisnis Indonesia, September 27, 2006 JAKARTA: The Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) will regulate the tariffs for leased lines through a ministerial decree, which is expected to be signed end of this year. The regulator most likely will force network operators to lower leased line tariffs by more than 50 percent to push internet penetration in Indonesia. BRTI said this in a public meeting with Mastel, internet service providers, and network operators yesterday. Heru Sutadi, a member of BRTI, expected a decline of more than 50% in the tariffs will increase ICT usage, internet interconnection, telephone penetration and increase the number of internet users in Indonesia. “The regulator expects the decline in leased line tariffs will be followed by the acceleration of local internet content, so that bandwidth doesn’t get used outside the country and internet tariffs can drop significantly,” he said yesterday.
A Telecomasia article, Global operators face challenge on increasing backhaul capacities based on a recent study by ABI, argues that operators around the world are facing bandwidth constraints in their backhaul networks due to the growth of data traffic and bandwidth intensive services like multimedia content. Backhaul are the high-capacity pipes phone companies and Internet service providers use to haul traffic over large distances. Backhaul capacity in this context refers to the networks within a country or within a contiguous region. Backhaul is distinct from the under the ocean submarine cables which currently have excess, unused capacity thanks to the dot-com bubble driven investments into this high capacity links that connect continents. A number of technologies are proposed for the backhaul links that are suited for specific regions based on what kind of infrastructure already exists.
The Daily Star Web Edition Vol. 5 Num 704 Submarine Cable: BTTB given unlawful control over network Other ISPs will be discriminated against Abu Saeed Khan The government violated the law by allowing the state-run telecoms monopoly to own and operate the country’s only submarine cable network. Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) built the SEA-ME-WE4 submarine cable and its associated infrastructure from the earnings of its other telecoms ventures and the law explicitly prohibits such practices of subsidisation. Subsection C of Section 49 of the telecoms law says, “If an operator provides more than one service, but there exists competition in the market in providing one of such services and no competition in case of another service provided by him, then subsidy from the earnings of the service which is subject to competition shall not be allowed for the other service which is not subject to competition.” BTTB built the cable’s landing station in Cox’s Bazar and from there it deployed an optical fibre link up to Chittagong from the earnings of its fixed telephony, Internet and data connectivity services.
By Divakar Goswami & Onno Purbo, March 2006 LIRNEasia’s latest research paper is available for comment. The paper looks at the deployment of Wi-Fi in Indonesia, under the 2005 WDR theme, ‘Diversifying Participation in Network Development.’ Download paper: indonesia wi-fi study 2.0 [PDF] Please post your comments below. Executive Summary With their low-cost and quick deployment time, wireless Internet technologies like Wi-Fi offer last-mile access network solutions to developing countries with limited network infrastructure.