Renesys gives clean chit to Turkey

Posted on June 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

It has been business as usual in Istanbul, the largest gateway of Eurasian telecoms traffic. Turkey, unlike Egypt, has not killed the goose that lays golden eggs in terms of telecoms revenue and reputation, despite civil unrest.

Jim Cowie, the CTO of Renesys Corporation, has written in his company’s blog:

We examined the reachability of social networking sites from our measurement infrastructure within Turkey, and found nothing unusual. We examined the 72-hour history of measurements from inside Turkey to these sites, and found no change in normal behavior.

In short: Turkey’s Internet does not appear to have changed significantly in reaction to the current protest events.

Protesters in Istanbul have alleged the throttling of Internet, which the Turkish telecoms watchdog has denied. Jim Cowie supplements the latter:

Now, we can’t rule out the possibility of local slowdowns, and we don’t have direct measurements of Turkish transit in each neighborhood. It may be the case that some local Internet users are experiencing delays on oversubscribed DSL lines or mobile Internet connections. Just as in Boston during the Marathon bombings, “flash crowds” can put a strain on the last mile Internet infrastructure.

We know that Turkish consumers are succeeding in reaching the outside world in greater numbers than ever today, if only from the shape of the daily curves in the Google Transparency Traffic Report for Turkey.

Jim has credited the diversity of routes and technologies of Turkish international links to its resilience and immunity to hegemony. The country has connected itself with multiple networks of undersea, terrestrial and satellite links.

To longtime Turkey-watchers, this won’t be too surprising. Turkey’s Internet is well-developed and relatively diverse at the international frontier, with 21 different autonomous systems connected directly to international providers.  That places Turkey in our “low, but non-negligible” risk category for nationwide Internet disconnection, on par with nations like Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Georgia.

There’s another, more strategic reason why wholesale Internet disconnections are pretty unlikely in Turkey.   Turkey’s international telecommunications networks play a key role in interconnecting Syria, Iraq, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Gulf States to the greater Internet.   Turkey’s domestic Internet market is large, but the international market whose consumers could be reached by Turkish-hosted content is even larger.

Turkey finds itself at a decision point today: take the necessary steps to encourage large content providers to host Middle Eastern content in Turkey, and reap the benefits of becoming the regional Internet hub, or let that opportunity pass.    Content hosting companies are looking for a friendly regulatory environment, free of legal challenges to their content, and free of the threats of nationwide Internet disconnection.

Analysis of Jim Cowie in the blog of Renesys.

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