International Telecommunication Union   ITU
 
 
Site Map Contact us Print Version
 Wednesday, May 14, 2008

According to an article on The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) on 10 May 2008, toll-free mobile services are on its way to selected remote areas in Africa aiming to save lives by connecting people with emergency medical cases to health personnel. Under the initiative launched in Nairobi on Wednesday, health workers will also be trained through mobile phone sessions on day to day skills like collecting and sharing basic household health information.

Telecommunication equipment provider Ericsson and mobile phone service provider Zain have entered into a partnership that will ensure they provide network access, mobile phone handsets, sim cards and toll-free emergency numbers in remote areas in order to stimulate demand for cellular phone solutions in those areas. The initiative is being rolled out in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. In Kenya, Ericsson and Zain subsidiary, Celtel, are rolling out a pilot programme in North Garissa in Dertu village targeting some 5,200 inhabitants.

According to the President of Ericsson, Mr Carl-Henri Svanberge, the partnership also includes the Earth Institute and will benefit 400,000 people in Africa. "The partnership will provide the development of a comprehensive voice to data coverage and a telecommunication strategy in the villages to drive up mobile connectivity," said Mr Svanberge. The phones will use solar charges which according to Ericsson are capable of charging 30 mobile phones a day.


Read the full article here.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:04:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 14, 2008

A presentation by Martin J. Levy of Tier1 Research and Josh Snowhorn of Terremark on Datacenter Power Trends - NANOG 42 Power Panel at the NANOG 42 meeting discusses colocation centre problems, how these came about, what is expected to happen, and how colo is considered the bottleneck of the Internet. As cited from the Gartner Research in 2006, "some organizations are in the unenviable position of paying more to power and cool a rack a servers than they paid for the rack and the servers themselves. Clearly things are moving out of balance." Case studies and possible solutions to these datacenter problems are also included in the presentation.

Read the full presentation here.
More on the NANOG 42 meeting here.

Monday, April 14, 2008 1:16:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Technology Review provides a detailed analysis of the recent Internet outage in the Middle East and Asia. The report recounts how the undersea cable damage largely affected the ISPs in the region as well as outsourcing companies who increasingly rely on these connections. It also briefly discusses how undersea cable repairs are done, and further emphasizes the concerns related to these kinds of damage. "In the wake of the fiber breaks, [ISP Association of India secretary R. S.] Perhar says that his organization is encouraging ISPs and companies dependent on fast connections to continue diversifying their bandwidth sources as much as possible, and to lobby for new cable to be laid." Tim Strong, analyst at Telegeography Research adds that "with more cables, it's getting better over time, but there will still be a lack of physical, geographical redundancy."

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 4:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 01, 2008

The recent Internet outage has left the experts speculating that there may be greater demand for telecom capacity in the future. Reports indicated difficulty with receiving data sent from the United States to countries affected by the cable damage with an average 50% increase in the time it takes to download Web sites and a 10% decrease in the availability of Web sites overall, Keynote Systems said. Abelardo Gonzalez, a product manager at Keynote, believes the damaged cable incident will spur many global companies to think about new ways of staying connected to the Web in case of emergencies. He adds that companies should look into having backup connectivity through multi-honing their ISPs or even through having a satellite uplink for last-resort connections.

The damage to the cables has raised concerns about future incidents in which a greater number of cables could experience more significant levels of destruction. Paul Polishuk, the president and chairman of the board of the IGI Group of Companies, says one problem with many of the underwater cable systems is that many of the cables join together at shared landing points that could leave large swathes of telecom infrastructure vulnerable to potential terrorist attacks. Andrew Odlyzko, the director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center, shares Polishuk's concern about the cables' vulnerability and thinks that any significant damage to cables at major landing points would have serious economic consequences as evident on the 2006 earthquakes that severely disrupted Taiwan's Internet access.

Read the full article on Network World.

Friday, February 01, 2008 10:33:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Guardian reports on how tens of millions of internet users across the Middle East and Asia have been left without access to the web due to a fault in a single undersea cable believed to be a major internet pipeline connecting to Europe. The outage was said to have first struck yesterday morning and has severely restricted internet access in India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

"The line in question runs under the Mediterranean, from Palermo in Italy to Alexandria in Egypt. It is not clear what caused the break. The cable is one of only a handful of connections, and part of the world's longest undersea cable, 24,500 miles long, running from Germany, through the Middle East and India before terminating in Australia and Japan... Egyptian officials said that around 70% of the country's online traffic was being blocked, while officials in Mumbai said that more than half of India's internet capacity had been erased, which could have potentially disastrous consequences for the country's burgeoning hi-tech industry. 'There has been a 50% to 60% cut in bandwidth,' Rajesh Charia, president of the Internet Service Providers' Association of India told Reuters."

According to the report, the outage will take several days to fix, and could have a drastic impact on communications, businesses and the hi-tech industry as well as banks and stock market trading around the region and across the globe.

More details on the digital blackout here.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:43:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 01, 2007

Om Malik of GigaOm writes about the popularity of the One Laptop Per Child project among kids and the problem of internet connectivity and infrastructure in the emerging economies. He sites the success and impact of the OLPC project on children in Brazil as expressed by the Brazilian Culture Minister Gilberto Gil on his speech at the Emerging Technologies (EmTech) Conference at MIT. However, the nation is not yet ready to pick up on this demand because of the lack of network infrastructure in the country. "We can’t just distribute computers. We have to build a backbone. Just making the technology accessible is not enough. Technology leads to language, to spiritual dimensions. It’s the whole process that matters. It’s not just one item, computers are not enough," says Gil.

However, John Roese, chief technology office of Nortel (NT), wrote on his blog about OLPC and the concept of hyperconnectivity saying that "while OLPC is not a Nortel product, it is a tool to stimulate the R&D teams to consider new communication models of hyper connectivity, new programming models and new collaboration methods. It also represents a new type of client, as well as new economic and networking models that are possibly a reflection of the future nature of broadband networking."

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 01, 2007 9:20:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 30, 2007

Internet bandwidth could become a global currency under a proposed model for the future of e-commerce that exploits a novel peer-to-peer video sharing application designed by a trans-Atlantic team of computer scientists according to an article by Vidura Panditaratne on Wednesday, 29 August 2007. This application is being used by researchers from Delft University of Technology and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam and Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to explore a next-generation model for safe and legal electronic commerce that uses Internet bandwidth as a global currency. An enhanced version of this application called Tribler is now available for free download online.

A version of the Tribler video sharing software serves as a model for an e-commerce system because of its flexibility, speed, and reliability. The researchers envision this model to connect users to a single global market, without any controlling company, network, or bank with bandwidth as the first true Internet "currency" for such a market. "By studying user behavior within an operational 'Internet currency' system, with a particular focus on understanding how and why attacks, fraud, and abuse occur and how trust can be established and maintained, the researchers imagine future improvements to everything from on-demand television to online auctions to open content encyclopedias."

Read more by accessing the full article.

Thursday, August 30, 2007 9:42:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On 22 July 2007, the New York Times reported on Rwanda's current Internet connectivity situation. According to the article, in 2003, Greg Wyler, an American businessman, promised the Rwandan government fiber optic cables and connectivity among schools, government institutions and homes through low-cost, high-speed Internet service. His company, Terracom,was granted a contract to connect 300 schools to the Internet, and later, the company bought 99 percent of the shares in Rwandatel, the country’s national telecommunications company, for $20 million. However, after nearly four years, the government criticizes Terracom for not having delivered and materialized most of the benefits they have hailed.

The technical, political and business realities of Africa are said to have caused this slow progress of the venture. Apart from the failed and delayed attempts to bring affordable high-speed Internet service to the masses in the continent, the lack of infrastructure is also being blamed to be the biggest drawback. Some other difficulties mentioned were insufficient bandwidth capacity on satellites, poor management and intermittent power failures. Rwandan officials also say that the company seems more interested in tapping the more lucrative cellphone market than in being an Internet service provider.

With Terracom’s new chief executive, Christopher Lundh, a former executive of Gateway Communications in London, government officials say Terracom’s performance has improved. The government, meanwhile, is moving forward with its own plans to build a fiber optic network. It also has granted Internet service licenses to South African companies and plans to issue several more. A reduced price of Internet service to about $10 a month is also aimed for according to Nkubito Bakuramutsa, director general of the Rwanda Information Technology Authority.

To read the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:28:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007

ITU held a workshop entitled The Future of Voice on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This workshop organized under the ITU New Initiatives Programme focused on the role of voice communications in the future ubiquitous network environment.

For a long time, voice services have been the principal driver of telecommunication revenue and will probably continue to drive demand for some time. Nevertheless, it is becoming harder to sustain traditional models of per-minute pricing for voice as the service is increasingly carried over data channels that are priced on a flat-rate basis. Some of the key issues discussed during the event include:

• How are voice services evolving and what does this mean for users, providers and the telecommunication industry as a whole?
• How will fixed, mobile and internet-based phone services converge?
• How does messaging, gaming, multimedia fit in?
• Are voice services of the future most likely to be billed by the minute, by volume, or on a flat rate basis?
• What regulatory freedom should be given to operators to bundle voice with other services (e.g., multiple play: voice, video, internet and mobility)?
• What form of licensing, if any, will be necessary for voice service providers?
• What will be the new business models and revenue streams?
• What are the residual universal service obligations (e.g. emergency calls) that should be imposed on voice providers?

All presentations and background papers as well as a web archive of the event (video and audio) are available on the workshop website.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:43:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 30, 2006

OFCOM has just released its first research publication, The International Communications Market 2006. Report focuses specifically on the international communications market, reflecting the increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:29:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 27, 2006

OFCOM has just released a new public discussion document on Regulatory Challenges Posed by Next Generation Access Networks. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006 10:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 20, 2006

On 16 November 2006, during the ECTA Conference 2006, Ms Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media spoke on From Service Competition to Infrastructure Competition: the Policy Options Now on the Table.

In her speach Ms Reding focused on recent trends in the European ICT sector. She discussed issues related to the efficient regulation, liberalization process, spectrum, investment, competition as well as "separation" stating:  

"...we have to be clear as to what is meant by terms like “structural separation” and "functional separation". The term "structural separation" has been used to mean several things: full divestiture of companies; legal separation with separate management structures; functional separation of organisational and management structures within vertically integrated undertakings; and simple accounting separation of specified activities within vertically integrated undertakings. I have expressed myself already in June in favour of finding a European way on the separation issue.

I believe that functional separation, which is a specific form of separation in the large sense as just described, could indeed serve to make competition more effective in a service-based competition environment where infrastructure-based competition is not expected to develop in a reasonable period. It may be a useful remedy in specific cases. It is certainly not a panacea. A cost benefit analysis therefore has to be made on a case by case basis, before such a remedy is imposed. And the effects of imposing such a remedy in Europe’s internal market have to be carefully analysed in each individual case. Functional separation is certainly a field where one will not be able to do without the “two pair of eyes” principle. "

For full version of the speach, please see here.

Monday, November 20, 2006 11:01:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 12, 2006

A comprehensive and interactive Body of Knowledge (BoK) on infrastructure regulation is now available online. Funded by the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and the World Bank, this website includes literature surveys, self-paced quizzes, a hyper-linked 90 page glossary, and 300 studies (in PDF). It should be useful for practitioners, researchers, students, and anyone interested in learning about utilities regulation. The material provides a set of regulatory concepts and readings which regulators and academics should find useful. The site was developed by the Public Utility Research Center (PURC) at the University of Florida, in collaboration with the University of Toulouse, the Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Lima), the World Bank and a panel of international experts. The BoK references publications and decisions by regulatory agencies and other governmental bodies; policy advisories by think tanks, consultants, donor agencies, and others; and research by academics, and other experts. The BoK is broad in scope, covering essential learning in the areas of policy reforms, market structure in network industries, finance, incentive regulation, service to the poor, pricing, service quality, cost analysis, regulatory institutions and instruments, legal frameworks, stakeholder involvement, negotiations, management and leadership, and public relations.

Suggestions for additional readings and topics can be made at the website. http://www.regulationbodyofknowledge.org

 

Sunday, November 12, 2006 4:00:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

John MacDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will take part in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, 21 November 2006. The Webinar, the second on the topic that ITU has contributed to, will outline what VDSL2 is, which are its competitive differentiators and benefits, and how it allows service providers to compete with cable and satellite operators - by enabling the delivery of enhanced voice, video and data services over a standard copper telephone cable.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is a product of ITU-T, ITU’s standardization arm, and is the world's most widely deployed broadband access technology. It has enhanced users' experience of the Internet, provided access to digitized content, and fuelled the delivery of streaming video and the development of online gaming by offering downstream data rates of up to 8 Mbit/s. Today, service providers must ensure their DSL offerings can compete against other market options from cable operators. One way to do so, is by offering services over VDSL2 (ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) - very high-speed DSL - a new version of DSL, which gives service providers the ability to deliver even higher bandwidth and more enhanced services to consumer and business customers.

Delivering up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL) VDSL2 provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network. By deploying VDSL2 operators expect to be able to offer services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed Internet access, and advanced voice services. Importantly VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place. In addition, VDSL 2 will work with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register and read more about the online VDSL2 event here.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 2:25:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, October 21, 2006

The first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held in Athens, Greece from 30 October - 2 November 2006.

The current programme is available here.

A couple of related websites have been unveiled:

CircleID has a related article asking What Will Be the Outcome of the Internet Governance Forum Meeting in Athens?

Saturday, October 21, 2006 8:28:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Three of the world's leading Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), AMS-IX, DE-CIX and LINX are hosting the first European Peering Forum on 29-30 November 2006 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Sponsored by Foundry Networks and IXEurope, the event is designed to bring together representatives from the respective IXP member organisations to discuss all aspects of peering from negotiating to operations. (Peering is a cost neutral arrangement between two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to exchange Internet traffic. It is undertaken to reduce costs and provide more direct routing of that traffic.)

For more information on the event see the European Peering Forum website.

This story was accessed through Total Telecom.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 2:36:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the latest issue of Total Telecom, an article entitled No Signal discusses the need to develop an NGN global interconnection regime.

"NTTs CEO and CTO have raised the alarm and are calling for the worlds operators to start work on new interconnection models today, before NGNs are in place, and more importantly before legacy networks are switched off.

At a CEO summit hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva in July, NTTs president and CEO, Norio Wada, called for a new interconnect framework that will extend national NGNs into a secure and fully managed global IP network."

Thursday, September 14, 2006 10:24:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 12, 2006

European Commission published three studies by external consultants on the review of the EU 2003 regulatory framework.The three studies are the following:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 2:53:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 17, 2006

At the invitation of the Government of Cameroon and Cameroon's Telecommunications Regulatory Board (ART), FTRA-2006, on the theme "IP networks and related services: Challenges for African regulators", was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on 7 and 8 June 2006. Eighty-three participants from 23 countries and 11 organizations attended the forum.

Participants emphasized the need to review the telecommunications-ICT political, legal, administrative and regulatory issues with a view to their inclusion of aspects relating to the Internet and related services, and the need for human capacity building for regulators in a rapidly changing telecommunications environment. After the successful establishment of sub-regional African Telecommunication Regulatory Associations, the Forum discussed the creation of a PAN African Regulatory Association building on the achievement of the African Telecommunication Regulators Network (ATRN) with the aim of putting in place an efficient mechanism capable of decision-making at the continental level. They finally agreed in principle on the establishment of such an association and its integration in the African Telecommunications Union (ATU). The recommendations agreed on may be found in the final communiqué.

FTRA-2007 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya with the exact dates announced at a later date.

[via the ITU-D Newslog]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:42:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
An article in Computer World describes how a researcher has announced at the Black Hat USA security conference that he will release a tool to test for "network neutrality".

The researcher, Dan Kaminsky, calls his technique "TCP-based active probing for faults." He plans to post information on TCP-based active probing for faults at www.doxpara.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 4:27:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The high cost for developing countries in accessing the Internet backbone was a hot-topic at a recent, Geneva held meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3 focusing on tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues.

Study Group 3 will submit a paper, outlining its activities and future work plan on international internet connectivity (IIC) to the first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Athens, Greece in October 2006

It has been claimed that some charging arrangements for IIC disadvantage smaller networks and developing countries. In June 2004 an amendment to ITU-T Recommendation D.50 was made to set out general considerations for parties to negotiate Internet interconnection. These considerations can be used to assist two parties to an interconnection agreement to negotiate in a more harmonized way.

"27.  We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
 Providing affordable access to ICTs, by the following measures:

i.  Reducing international Internet costs charged by backbone providers, supporting, inter alia, the creation and development of regional ICT backbones and Internet Exchange Points to reduce interconnection cost and broaden network access; 

ii. Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of the International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an urgent matter to develop appropriate Recommendations."

See the ITU-T Study Group 3 website for more information.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:55:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 30, 2006

A presentation entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit at a London Business School Global Communications Consortium event entitled "Next Generation Networks - Investment & Regulation" on 29 June 2006 in London, England.

Friday, June 30, 2006 3:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The ITU held an international workshop under its New Initiatives Programme on the topic "The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services" in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006. The final report [PDF]  of the chairman has now been published.

Workshop presentations can be found here. Background documents, including country case studies and thematic papers are also available on the workshop homepage.

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 10:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cullen-International has just released it's 2nd Country Comparative Report:

Supply of Services in Monitoring of South East Europe: Telecommunications Services Sector and Related Aspects.

The report provides comprehensice overview of telecommunication sector in the region, including regulatory profiles. In order to download the 1st and the 2nd report, please click here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006 5:38:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 09, 2006

OVUM's Research Director, Mr. Dan Bieler, presents few observations on NGNs.

To read the article, please click here.  

 

Friday, June 09, 2006 4:51:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU has just published an Issues Paper on the Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, available for download here (.pdf format).

The paper was prepared by Lara Srivastava, of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU), and Ingrid Silver & Rod Kirwan of the law practice of Denton Wilde Sapte.

Together with case studies (on Germany, China, Hong Kong SAR) and a thematic paper on spectrum flexibility, these background papers will form part of the input material for an international ITU New Initiatives Workshop on The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, to be held in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006, and jointly hosted by Germany's Federal Network Agency.

The Advance Programme for the workshop is now on-line, and will be regularly updated.

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.
More information about the international workshop on the topic can be found here.  

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:03:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A new research report called Comparison of OECD Broadband Markets - A comparison of cost and performance data for business and residential broadband products in 26 OECD countries was released. The report commissioned by InternetNZ and prepared by Wairua Consulting analyses 2'586 broadband packages from 26 OECD countries, on a range of indicators including download and upload speeds, costs, data caps, variety of offerings, contention ratios and finally an overall ranking table.

Accorting to the report, Sweden offers the best overall ‘value’ for broadband services in terms of cost and performance, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Germany. A comparison of the price/performance rating from this study with that country’s OECD broadband subscriber ranking and the latest e-readiness assessment from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) suggests that the cost and performance of broadband products is not directly related to uptake in the country, nor is it directly related to that country’s e-readiness, which is defined as the ‘state of play’ of a country’s ICT infrastructure and the ability of its consumers, businesses and governments to use ICT to their benefit. For example, Slovakia appears to offer good value for money and above average performance, though uptake of broadband remains low and e-readiness is low. Conversely, Iceland and Switzerland have high uptake but are comparatively expensive.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:18:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Workshop: Optimization Technologies for Low-Bandwidth Networks, ICTP Workshop, Trieste, Italy, 9 - 20 October 2006:

Bandwidth in developing countries can be so expensive that some universities cannot afford speeds equivalent to the average Western household with ADSL connection. The reasons for this situation include: Internet access available only via satellite connections and lack of communications infrastructure in many remote areas. Bandwidth and computing equipment are expensive as a result of weak currencies, high transport costs, small budgets and high tariffs. Universities cannot afford a decent link, or in some cases still do not see its value or are unaware of existing alternatives. By applying optimization techniques based on Open Source technologies, effectiveness of available connections can be highly improved.

The Workshop will provide information and practical training on how to gain the maximum benefit from existing connections to the Internet, exposing participants to the latest techniques to optimise the use of low-bandwidth network connections.

The Workshop will consist of theoretical lectures, laboratory hands-on sessions and demos. Linux will be used as primary O.S. Case Studies by Participants are also welcome, describing their computing and networking environment and connectivity related problems, issues on content delivery, etc.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 05, 2006
 Monday, May 01, 2006

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has published on March 10 the results of an estimate of the amount of internet traffic in Japan. According to the study, based on the total volume of traffic calculated from broadband subscribers in Japan, average traffic reached 468 Gigabit per second (Gbps) as of November 2005.

For comparison, Telegeography estimates that as of mid-2005, the combined average traffic on all cross-border internet backbone routes stood at just under 1 Terabit per second (Tbps).

This means that MIC is estimating that Japan's domestic average traffic represents almost half of all average international internet traffic.

Monday, May 01, 2006 10:50:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 21, 2006

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel was established by the Minister of Industry on April 11, 2005, to conduct a review of Canada's telecommunications framework. The Panel was asked in particular to recommend on:

1. how to implement an efficient, fair, functional and forward-looking regulatory framework that serves Canadian consumers and businesses, and that can adapt to a changing technological landscape,
2. mechanisms to ensure that all Canadians continue to have an appropriate level of access to modern telecommunications services,
3. measures to promote the development, adoption and expanded use of advanced telecommunications services across the economy.

The Panel's reviewed Canada's telecommunications policy and regulatory framework and made recommendations on how to make it a model of 21st century regulation.

The Final Report of the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel 2006 is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:33:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 6 April 2006 Quallo Center held 2006 Quello Communication Law and Policy Symposium.

For programme of the event and presentations please click here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:13:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From today's Wall Street Journal Europe: How France Became A Leader in Offering Faster Broadband

"For years, France's telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world's most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France -- a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

"We are coming into people's living rooms and changing the way they consume telecom services," says Michael Boukobza, Iliad's 28-year-old chief executive."

Key to France's success has been the active intervention of ARCEP, the French communications regulator. At last week's ITU workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, François Varloot of ARCEP presented an overview of the French marketplace and their views on emerging symmetric and asymmetric IP regulatory issues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John McDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will participate in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, Monday 3 April 2006.

The Webinar hosted by Light Reading will look at this development and explore the significance and implications of the new standard for both operators and the enormous installed base of DSL subscribers. ITU’s new VDSL 2 standard (Very High-Speed DSL 2)(ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) delivers up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL). By doing so, it provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network.

VDSL 2 will allow operators to compete with cable and satellite providers by offering services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed internet access, and advanced voice services, over a standard copper telephone cable. As well as addressing fast-growing consumer demand for high-speed multimedia services, VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place, expediting migration of customers to new VDSL 2-based products. VDSL 2 works with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register for the online event to learn more about VDSL 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 3:40:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The draft agenda (PDF) for the 23-24 March 2006 ITU Workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs is now available.


A related page of NGN Policy and Regulatory Initiatives around the globe is also available.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:21:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.


The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:09:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, March 04, 2006

An interesting workshop organized by WIK: Bill and Keep: A New Model for Intercarrier Compensation Arrangements?, 4-5 April 2006, Hotel Königswinter near Bonn, Germany.

Saturday, March 04, 2006 8:53:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has published comments received on its recent consultation paper on Issues pertaining to Next Generation Networks (NGN) released in January 2006. Also see accompanying Press Release.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit is hosting a workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? in March 2006. The ITU also has a website on related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 9:50:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 21, 2006

European Commission has just released 11th Report on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package.

The report draws attention to many regulatory and market developments in the European telecommunication market. Telecom operators in Europe are investing in new technologies to cut costs and seize new opportunities opened up by the convergence of communication networks, media content and devices. Growing competition, especially in retail markets, is bringing increased consumer benefits and the outlook for innovation and investment within Member States and across borders is positive. Member States have made good progress in implementing the EU telecom rules of 2002, which is opening up markets to new entrants. The report highlights rapid take-up of high-speed “broadband” internet connections. In the mobile phone sector, while take-up of services is still growing, particularly in the new Member States, there are signs that the voice market is maturing. Meanwhile, revenues from traditional voice services remain the largest source of revenue in the fixed line market, despite a gradual decline.

For full version of the Report, please click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006 11:49:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eli Noam: Moore’s Law at risk from industry of delay:

"So, in technology, Moore’s Law is alive and well. But technology does not operate in a vacuum. No business or government institution can change at 50 per cent a year. While stability and tradition are important, if a fundamental technology progresses far beyond society’s ability to absorb its impacts, a growing disconnection occurs. When, in the 19th century, technology proceeded at a rapid pace while social institutions did not, the results were upheavals and revolutions. Today, again, the key elements of the information economy are progressing at a scorching rate, while private and public institutions are lagging behind.

Examples include the way the US lost leadership in mobile wireless and broadband internet because of interminable governmental processes in spectrum allocation. Around the world, it has taken more than a decade to set the rules on interconnection among telecommunciation carriers, and they are still far from settled. This has slowed the entry of new-style carriers.

The question of whether new broadband services should be treated in the same time-consuming way as traditional telecommunication has tied regulators in knots and recently created a confrontation between Brussels and Germany. In South Korea, video over the internet requires a broadcasting licence, which has slowed how much the network is used. Patent offices every­where are falling behind their workload. It may soon take more than five years to get a patent in the US."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:49:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 13, 2006

The NY Times has an article about cooperation between the telecommunications industry and the US government for legal intercept, including through NSTAC.

Monday, February 13, 2006 1:47:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 04, 2006
The Country Code Country Code 1 ENUM LLC has issued a press release on the formation of a committee to coordinate testing activities among participants in its upcoming US ENUM trial. The first meeting of this committee, to be known as the LLC's Trial Participants Advisory Committee (TPAC), will take place in Richardson, Texas, on February 21, 2006. Companies who have an interest in participating inthe trial should plan on attending this meeting. Meeting details will beposted on the LLC's web site.
Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:45:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.

Friday, February 03, 2006 5:03:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 30, 2006

The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, January 29, 2006

From Richard Stastny's VoIP and ENUM blog comes information out of a recent annual meeting of FTTH Council Europe where an announcement was made that the City of Vienna, together with the city-owned electricity company (Wienstrom) and the sewage company (Wienkanal), will provide all households in the city (~1 million) with FTTH (or FTAH=Fibre to All Homes).

Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:52:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2, agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam , Iran , 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami. [via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has announced the latest news on its recently established (October 2005) "Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP". The Study Group is considering i) basic concepts of competition rules in preparation for a full-fledged IP age, as well as ii) interconnection and tariff policies in the future.

At the first meeting, members of the Study Group discussed an agenda to be deliberated upon and adopted a draft agenda. From the standpoints of i) improved transparency for open deliberations and ii) further enhancement of the themes, the Study Group decided to invite public comments on the draft agenda during November 2005. During the second meeting of the Study Group on December 21, 2005, the Study Group adopted the Consideration Agenda Concerning a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP.

Friday, January 27, 2006 10:11:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Light Reading is reporting that a joint initiative comprised of UPC Netherlands, Casema, MultiKabel, Essent and CaiW, totaling more than 7 million subscribers with more than 450,000 telephony subscribers today awarded a VoIP Peering contract to a partnership of XConnect and Kayote Networks. The agreement enables all participating operators to share VoIP traffic directly over their IP networks, completely bypassing traditional phone networks and thereby eliminating PSTN interconnection fees.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 2:45:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 24, 2006

According to the 18 November 2005 Newsletter of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, they have decided to set up a “Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP", with the aim of laying out basic principles on a framework for competition rules applicable as well as clarifying specific directions concerning interconnection and tariff policies.

In other news, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently announced (Japanese) that they have established a IP-based Next Generation Network promotion forum. About 190 entities are participating in the newly established forum which will feed into ITU's work on NGNs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:15:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The official website of the 1st Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to be convened later this year in Greece has been launched.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 11:52:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

An entry on Richard Stastny's blog (VoIP and ENUM) points to a number of interesting presentations made at an ERO hosted event on scenarios for NGN naming, numbering and addressing, interconnection and QoS.

Monday, January 23, 2006 1:33:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2006

From MarketWatch comes additional confirmation that a multi-tiered internet or IP-enabled NGNs, where content providers pay for differentiated service levels is emerging:

"BellSouth Corp. confirmed Monday that it is pursuing discussions with Internet content companies to levy charges to reliably and speedily deliver their content and services.

Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth, justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco's network without paying for it.

"Higher usage for broadband services drives more costs that we have to recover," he said in a telephone interview.

He suggested that Apple Computer might be asked to pay a nickel or a dime to insure the complete and rapid transmission of a song via the Internet, which is being used for more and more content-intensive purposes. He cited Yahoo Inc.'s plans to stream reality TV shows as an example.

"It's the shipping business of the digital age," Smith said, arguing that consumers should welcome the pay-for-delivery concept.

BellSouth has discussed its idea with MovieLink, a film-download service. He called MovieLink an example of the kind of company that wants customers to have a good experience and would view costs incurred in the strengthening of BellSouth's Internet capacity as worthwhile. Smith also said online game companies are likely candidates for charges.

Over the weekend, Internet entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban wrote on his blog at BlogMaverick.com that such fees are critical to the survival of the Internet. "Our ability to consume bandwidth is growing far, far faster than the speed at which it is being added," he said. "The more bandwidth we consume, the more Internet traffic jams we have."

Cuban wants telephone and cable and wireless companies to work out a way to deliver traffic at various levels of service quality. "Yes, that will mean some content will cost more if we want it faster," he conceded. "But that will be our choice."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:20:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the ITU-T NGN web portal, the ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) proceeding are now available:

Additional background on the proceedings

ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) was created under ITU-T Study Group 13 in June 2004 to address the emerging needs for global standards for Next Generation Networks (NGN). FGNGN was made-up of seven working groups:

  • Services and capabilities
  • Functional architecture and requirements
  • Quality of service (QoS)
  • Control aspects
  • Security issues
  • Migration of current networks into NGN
  • Future packet based network requirements

During the 18-month life-time of FGNGN, nine meetings were organized, with more than 1,200 input documents and 1,400 participants. FGNGN deliverables cover all those seven fundamental framework areas of NGN. Its final output was a total of 30 documents that will be transferred to the relevant ITU-T Study Groups for their further consideration. Deliverables are classified by release concept. Proceedings contain the deliverables, each with its status indication. The proceedings are now available freely in two parts:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 06, 2006

Light Reading is reporting that some of the best-known names in the VOIP peering business including VeriSign Inc., XConnect Global Networks Ltd., Arbinet-thexchange Inc., NeuStar Inc., Stealth Communications Inc., and InfiniRoute Networks Inc.  have replied to CableLabs' request for information (RFI) for technologies to enable cable operators to share Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic directly over their IP networks; otherwise known as VoIP Peering. The original RFI can be found here.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:54:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ofcom commissioned Spectrum Strategy Consultants to help develop the scope of a new NGN industry body which it does in a report linked from this page, as proposed in this consultation. Spectrum’s recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of Ofcom. Ofcom continues to discuss a range of issues in relation to NGNs with industry stakeholders. These discussions include the scope and role of any NGN industry body.

From the Executive Summary of the report.

Introduction

In its “Next Generation Networks: Further consultation”, held between 30 June and 12 August 2005 , Ofcom proposed the creation of an industry body tasked with the co-ordination of the UK telecoms industry’s transition to NGN core networks. The respondents to the consultation generally agreed that there was a need to address NGN issues that are currently not being covered by existing bodies. However, there was less consensus as to how to do this, and many respondents questioned what the purpose, scope and mechanics of a new NGN Body would be.

This report outlines a proposal for the purpose and role of an NGN Body. It also sets out a proposed organisational and governance structure. It does not include a review of Ofcom’s proposal to establish an Operational Adjudicator.

The recommendations in this document are based on a series of 32 interviews with representatives from the industry, Ofcom, and other industry bodies. We have endeavoured to reflect the views of the majority of stakeholders interviewed and to suggest pragmatic solutions to concerns raised. We expect that the proposals set out in this report will be refined as Ofcom embarks on further engagement with key stakeholders in the NGN transition.

Summary of recommendations

We recommend that Ofcom and the stakeholders in the UK telecoms industry proceed with setting up an NGN Body. We believe that such a body would benefit all stakeholders in the transition of the UK telecommunications industry to NGNs and help to ensure a smooth transition for both industry and end-users.

We propose the creation of an NGN Body in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The body’s purpose should be to develop a joint vision and framework for the transition to NGNs that encompasses commercial, technical and operational issues
  • It will issue recommendations to the industry
  • In order to function effectively, the body will require a stringent governance and organisational structure:

    • its membership should be inclusive; stakeholders will be able to participate in workgroups on specific issues independent of size and degree of infrastructure ownership
    • in order to function effectively, the NGN body will need a strong figurehead as a chairman supported by a well-resourced management team equipped with strategic, technical and programme management expertise
    • a board consisting of 8-10 industry representatives needs to be appointed to approve the body’s recommendations and to drive its agenda forward
    • the organisation will be independent, accountable only to its members
    • Ofcom should adopt the role of an active observer

  • The body should be owned and funded by industry in order to enable its independence. However, Ofcom will need to play a leading role during the set-up phase
  • The body is required as soon as possible and should be set up within the next six to seven months; it is expected to have a lifetime of 3-4 years
Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:42:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 23, 2005

The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Net's basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It's time for a clean-slate approach, says MIT's Dave Clark. This article, the cover story in Technology Review’s December 2005/January 2006 print issue, is divided into three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. [via James Seng]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2005

The European Commission's Information Society and Media Directorate General has commissioned a series of four monitoring reports at nine-monthly intervals on the market for electronic communications networks and services in 8 EU candidate and potential candidate countries. The first Country Comparative Report is now available.

For the Report, please click here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 11:41:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

LightReading has an article on the recent NGN Industry Event in London on 18 November 2005, where ITU unveiled Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN). The event also outlined the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In the presentation (Zipped PowerPoint) by BT Group Technology Officer Mick Reeve:

"...the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

"Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work."  

Other presentations made at the event can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The final documents submitted to the second phase of WSIS being held 16-18 November 2005 in Tunis have been posted. They are:

In The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, paragraphs 3-28 related to Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICTs for Development, paragraphs 29-82 relate to Internet Governance, and paragraphs 83-122 relate to Implementation and Follow-up.

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 7:24:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 11, 2005

An article on BBC News discusses the new UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2005 and says the costs of fast net access and linking up to the internet's global infrastructure hits poorer nations much harder than developed countries. Chapters in the report include:

  1. ICT indicators for development; Trends and measurement issues
  2. International Internet backbone connectivity: Issues for developing countries
  3. E-credit information, trade finance and e-finance: Overcoming information asymmetries
  4. Taking off: E-tourism opportunities for developing countries
  5. Information technology and security: Risk management and policy implications
  6. Protecting the information society: Addressing the phenomenon of cybercrime
Friday, November 11, 2005 2:50:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) today called on EU policy makers to reject the idea of an "NGN moratorium" in favour of a policy to boost investment confidence for the entire communications sector.  Pointing to wealth of evidence that markets with competition enjoy higher levels of innovation, and ECTA’s own broadband scorecards which confirm that competition also boosts broadband adoption, ECTA recommends that policy makers maintain the pro-competitive approach that underpins the EU regulatory framework.

The proposal for a so-called "NGN Moratorium" was floated by [EC] Commissioner Reding in September as an idea for next year’s review of the Telecoms Directives. Since then, the issue has become live with a proposal from German politicians to grant a three-year regulatory moratorium on plans by the incumbent to upgrade its access network, undermining competitors’ current and future investment plans. 

The detailed ECTA position can be found here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:53:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 14, 2005

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

Now taking place at the ITU is a workshop on Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. The event is organized by ITU-T Study Group 9, in cooperation with several other ITU-T study groups and various organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three ITU-T Recommendations in the field, particularly dealing with IP-based multimedia services over cable networks. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

This workshop will bring together experts from all over the world who are pushing forward the frontiers of this fast-moving field. It will provide an overview of the technology as well as an examination of standards that address access, services, performance, Quality of Service, electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work. Attention will be given to both the technology and service aspects of this new technology.

The programme can be found here with links to the presentations. Highlights include:

  • Worldwide Status of Home Networking
  • Home Network Architecture and Technologies (including an update on UPnP and DLNA)
  • Home Networking Services and Business Models
  • Security and Digital Rights Management
  • Quality of Service in the Home Network
  • Electromagnetic Interference in the Home Environment
  • The Home Networking Future: Efforts and Challenges
Friday, October 14, 2005 10:13:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2005

From Telegeography's Global Internet Gegraphy which provides analysis and statistics on international Internet capacity and traffic, IP transit pricing, and backbone competition.

Traffic growth was hardly consistent around the world. The most rapid traffic growth came on intraregional routes within Asia and within Latin America. Traffic within these regions increased 102 percent and 336 percent, respectively. After more than doubling between 2003 and 2004, average trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic Internet traffic slowed substantially in 2005, with both routes expanding only 42 percent. Overall, the slowest traffic growth occurred on routes connected to the U.S. (see Figure 2. Traffic Growth on U.S. and Non-U.S. Route, 2004-2005). Despite the deceleration of traffic growth on U.S. routes, 94 percent of interregional traffic is still hubbed through the U.S.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:09:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The “Robust Yet Fragile” Nature of the Internet (PDF) by John C. Doyle, David Alderson, Lun Li, Steven Low, Matthew Roughan, Stanislav Shalunov, Reiko Tanaka, and Walter Willinger:

The search for unifying properties of complex networks is popular, challenging, and important. For modeling approaches that focus on robustness and fragility as unifying concepts, the Internet is an especially attractive case study, mainly because its applications are ubiquitous and pervasive, and widely available expositions exist at every level of detail. Nevertheless, alternative approaches to modeling the Internet often make extremely different assumptions and derive opposite conclusions about fundamental properties of one and the same system. Fortunately, a detailed understanding of Internet technology combined with a unique ability to measure the network means that these differences can be thoroughly understood and unambiguously resolved. This paper aims to make recent results of this process accessible beyond Internet specialists to the broader scientific community, and to clarify several sources of basic methodological differences that are relevant beyond either the Internet or the two specific approaches focused on here; i.e., scale-free networks and highly optimized tolerance networks.

The paper concludes that the Internet is not as vulnerable to specific attacks on major hubs as is often claimed.

Friday, October 07, 2005 12:54:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 06, 2005

Links to documents from WSIS Prepcom-3 (19-30 September 2005) Sub-Committee A, which dealt with the topic of Internet Governance, can be found on the WSIS website. The key documents from Prepcom-3 include:

According to the Report of the Work of Sub-Committee A, in order to complete the work in time for the Summit, document DT/10 Rev. 4 is offered as basis for further negotiations. The following documents elaborated during PrepCom-3 are offered as a further input to future negotiations:

Thursday, October 06, 2005 5:02:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nanog has been abuzz for a few days about the depeering of Level 3 and Cogent. This has now been picked up in the press in CNET's Network feud leads to Net blackout:

Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.

Cogent has issued a statement dated October 6 2005 on the termination by Level 3 of peering:

Level 3 has partitioned its part of the Internet from Cogent's part of the Internet by denying Level 3's
customers access to Cogent's customers and denying Cogent's customers access to Level 3 customers. Level 3
terminated its peering with Cogent without cause (as permitted under its peering agreement with Cogent)
even though both Cogent and Level 3 remained in full compliance with the previously existing interconnection
agreement.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:50:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2005

According to Computer Business Review Online, NeuStar Inc has won a high-profile contract to provide internet addressing services for the world's GSM carriers, the company announced yesterday. NeuStar will operate a private root DNS server system serving the .gprs suffix, which will only be usable by participating GSMA member companies.

Update: There has been a lot of subsequent debate about the significance of this deal (mostly on Dave Farber's IP list and Nanog). In this post, James Seng tries to sum up what he sees are the main issues and points to the viewpoints of some other experts.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 2:21:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Network World has an article on the evolution of IP-based networks that notes there are divergent views among standards bodies such as the ITU and the IETF, on the future evolution of the internet.

"The current Internet model is the stupid network model, where the network doesn't know what applications you're running and doesn't try to be helpful," he says. "The ITU's model [is] where the network is application-aware and can provide specific extra support for a particular application, such as VoIP. That session will compare what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully out of it we can get some idea of what the future is going to look like."

Bradner says the ITU's model is designed to provide defined and guaranteed QoS, while the Internet is a best-effort model based on bandwidth capacity. He says both are applicable given the network circumstances - if there's plenty of bandwidth, there's no need for QoS controls; if not, there is.

The future of the 'Net could be shaped in large part by the need to support peer-to-peer applications and Web-based services, which use peer-to-peer protocols. This type of traffic is growing in use and importance in enterprise networks and on the 'Net, especially as companies move to SOAs designed to support peer-to-peer and message-based transmissions.

Are we heading for a future of dumb or smart networks? This recent piece in BCR Magazine on Making Networks Smart suggests that industry players on both the network side (e.g., Cisco and Juniper) and applications side (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BEA) are making moves in the latter direction. Initiatives like the IPSphere Forum suggest that both the equipment manufacturers and the major service providers are on the same strategy:

The goal of the IPsphere forum is to create an industry call to action to create public networks that combine the reach of the Internet with the assured performance and security of a private network. This new approach is designed to overcome the current limitations of the Internet through the creation of "IPspheres," delivering an enriched experience for consumers, business-critical performance, and opening new markets for service providers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 23 September 2005, the FCC released statements on legal intercept for broadband and VoIP providers as well as stating its jurisdiction over providers of telecommunications for Internet access and IP-enabled services in the United States of America.

FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps.
Order: Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat
Abernathy Statement: Word | Acrobat

FCC Adopts Policy Statement on Broadband Internet Access.
Policy Statement: Word | Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat

"...the Commission has jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopts the following principles:

  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
Monday, September 26, 2005 8:56:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 23, 2005

The Chair of WSIS Phase 2 Prepcom-3 Sub-Committee A dealing with Internet Governance has released a chair's draft of Chapter 3: Internet Governance for consideration of Sub-Committee A.

Friday, September 23, 2005 10:19:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Highlights from the discussions at WSIS Prepcom-3 19-21 September 2005 can be found here.

Friday, September 23, 2005 8:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

According to an article in the Washington Post, online search leader Google is preparing to launch its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company's Web site on Tuesday. In related news, Google is said to have an issued an RFP for a US national optical network.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 5:02:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 19, 2005

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has released a staff discussion draft legislation (PDF) intended to replace the US Telecommunications Act of 1996.

According to the Committee's announcement, highlights of the staff discussion draft include:

  • "Creates common regulatory definition for broadband Internet transmission services (BITS) which includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modems, and other broadband services.
  • Ensures network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking subscriber access to lawful content.
  • Provides a uniform, federal regulatory framework for broadband providers, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP), and broadband video providers, except in some areas where state or local rules still apply, such as rights-of-way.
  • Authorizes the FCC to determine that VoIP can be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
  • Develops a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers.
  • Applies many current cable video requirements to broadband video providers.
  • Allows municipalities to develop and deploy BITS, VoIP and broadband video services. However, municipalities can't provide preferential treatment for these services and must comply with all regulations governing private-sector providers.
  • Ensures that VoIP subscribers have access to 911."
Monday, September 19, 2005 12:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the list of presentations (check for update):

Thursday, August 04, 2005 11:22:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF) has announced it is bringing together a number of Australian industry leaders to advise on convergence issues.

The new ACIF Convergence Group will advise on the best way to tackle issues relating to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Next Generation Networks (NGN), content and other associated areas.

ACIF’s chief executive officer, Anne Hurley, who chairs the new group, explained that the convergence of multiple technologies was blurring the boundaries of the various regulatory regimes and creating new challenges which the industry needed to address.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 9:46:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 02, 2005
 Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) has issued a consultation on its planned policy and regulatory approach to VoIP. See Consultazione pubblica concernente proposte di interventi regolamentari in merito alla fornitura di servizi VOIP. It includes a discussion of a distinct numbering block for VoIP as well as the imposition of requirements for emergency services.

Via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 11:32:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The World Bank, Global Information & Communication Technologies Department, released the new discussion paper by Jérôme Bezzina on "Interconnection Challenges in a Converging Environment: Policy Implications for African Telecommunications Regulators".

The purpose of this paper is to show how interconnection regimes can be adapted to the African specificities in a context of convergence and increased competition. It analyzes how interconnection regulation in Africa has been defined at the onset of the convergence phenomenon (i.e., FTM substitution), and explores the issues related to new technologies (for example Internet protocol [IP] telephony) and interconnection regulation policies.

The publication is available here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:41:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A senior partner at Ofcom recently gave a speech entitled "Trends in Television, Radio and Telecoms", highlighting some interesting points about the convergence of broadcasting and the internet.

"We already see the capability and the propensity to access audio and video content in different ways at different times and over many different platforms. How do we think about the watershed when the ten year old is watching a PVR stored 18 rated movie on Saturday morning, while the parents are doing the shopping? It's not intrinsically different to what is possible with a VHS; its the ease of access and the immediacy of the access that makes a difference.

How do we think about impartiality of news services for a television home media hub, where the viewer can access not only the traditional, impartial broadcast news services but a range of entirely partial, opinion driven audio and video services over broadband and internet? The content regulation model will have to evolve. David Currie and Stephen Carter have already, in separate contributions, already suggested that the time for a debate is soon. I want to endorse that view and give you a practical reason and a couple of simple ideas about the problem.

The practical reason for pressing ahead, is that the debate about TVWF has begun: * The EUs working proposals include the idea that the regulations be updated to include all audio visual content services, including non-linear content. * We expect a Draft Directive by the end of the year, with the debate kicking off firmly during the UK Presidency. If we seek a consistent approach, in a world where distinctions according to different distribution mechanisms becomes less and less practical, then the question is do you regulate up to the highest common factor or regulate down to the lowest common denominator? Do television standards apply to all content, or do the absence of standards on the internet apply to all television and radio? In a world where significant numbers have video capable broadband access, the question really can be posed as starkly as that. Or is there a compromise somewhere between these starkly opposed positions. Will, in reality, traditional services endure, with everyone accepting a fringe of alternative activity that is beyond the regulatory ambit. A sort of tolerable and tolerated black economy? Accepted because it remains marginal to the main event. Or is there a consistent framework that is beyond general law, but perhaps not as detailed as present day broadcast regulation?

Perhaps the difference can be addressed by a combination of greater personal responsibility alongside practical technologies which enable filtering and labelling. Alongside market choices by companies seeking to offer viewers and web surfers a safe environment, or by opt-in regulation to specified public service standards' which might then be kite marked or certified to indicate, an impartial news service for example. Or indeed there may be by other forms of self regulation which yield similar results."

For the full text, click here.

Article accessed through CommsWatch.

 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 8:48:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2005

In November 2004, the UK's Ofcom published a consultation on Next Generation Networks: Future arrangements for access and interconnection which explored the potential regulatory issues raised by the move to Next Generation Networks (NGNs). In a follow-up consultation released in June 2005, Ofcom aims to establish a regulatory framework to address those issues and to support the development of NGNs.

The full version of this document, along with the Annexes, are available via the links below.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:52:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Via Africa: Creating local and regional IXPs to save money and bandwidth has been released by The ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) Regulatory Reform Unit.

This booklet has three sections that seek to look at how national and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) might be created, particularly in the African context but it also draws on lessons from elsewhere:

  • Section One looks at the African policy context out of which IXPs came and outlines the practical reasons for implementing them on the continent.
  • Section Two describes how national IXPs have been set up and deals with both the people and technology issues that have to be addressed. It also identifies ways in which the regulatory framework can be made more favourable to encourage their successful operation.
  • Section Three looks at the next logical step: how it might be possible to connect national IXPs so that data can flow between countries without needing to leave the continent. It summarizes: the discussions to date about the best approach to this task; the option chosen by AfrISPA; and what needs to happen to make it a reality.

There is also a discussion of the regulatory issues that may need to be considered and the appendices of the booklet contain a list of useful documents and references.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 3:16:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: A meeting of Study Group 15, the ITU-T group responsible for studies into optical and other transport network technologies, has consented a new Recommendation that defines the way for equipment providers to produce systems for Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL) services. EVPLs offer a way for operators to provide point-to-point connections for carrying data over shared-bandwidth facilities.

The announcement is in line with the current industry trend to offer Ethernet services, and further signals Ethernet's growth in popularity as an enterprise telecom service.

Long-recognized as a ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade service. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

In terms of capital expenditure, Ethernet is easy and cost-effective to provision in the network. In terms of operational expenditure, carriers can deploy a single physical connection to the end user, but adapt its data-carrying capacity as end-user requirements dictate over time. This flexibility means a significant saving for the operator and the customer.

This work follows earlier work in the area of ITU Ethernet standards approved last year. See this ITU press release from June 2004.

The new Recommendation - G.8011.2 - defines the service attributes and parameters for carrying Ethernet characteristic information over shared-bandwidth, point-to-point connections, provided by SDH, ATM, MPLS, PDH, OTH, or ETY server layer networks.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:18:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 22, 2005

OPTA, the Independent Dutch Post and Telecommunications Authority, has released their annual Vision of the Market report. 

"The vision of the markets reflect the commission’s view on important trends and competition developments in the markets, as well as on the position of the end-user. In the annual report, OPTA accounts for its activities and results in the year 2004. The annual accounts give insight into OPTA’s financial house-keeping."

Each year OPTA publishes its Vision of the Market. The publication contains OPTA’s ideas regarding developments on the markets for post and electronic communication. The report furthermore recognizes that:

"The landscape in the communications sector is changing. Convergence is now reality: technological developments have made it possible to offer the same services using the same technology (the internet) via multiple types of networks. This is evident in the introduction of voice and television services via the internet. The communications sector is also broadening through integration with the IT, media and entertainment sectors. Convergence has as consequence that companies that did not compete in certain services in the past now do so. The competition potential is increasing, but the problem areas will not immediately disappear because network owners are still able to create entry barriers for competing parties. OPTA will intervene if and when providers abuse their dominant position."

For the full report, please click here.

[Via my weblog]

Sunday, May 22, 2005 3:18:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A review of market trends impacting the development of the applications architecture of the Internet in general is presented, followed by an historical review of the subject and an analysis of regulatory aspects. It concludes with a review of the state of backbone interconnection in Latin America. Carlos Silva Ponce de León, Telecommunications Policy, Volume 29, Issues 5-6 , June-July 2005, Pages 367-386

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:30:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

From the April 2005 ITU News (free subscription required): International Internet Connectivity:  Are poor countries subsidizing the rich?, contents include:

  • Framing the issues
  • The ITU role: The story thus far... and the future
  • What does the Working Group on Internet Governance say?
Thursday, May 12, 2005 10:01:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 10, 2005

News on VoIP regulatory proceedings since the beginning of 2005 from the ITU-D's Regulatory Reform Unit newsroom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:21:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 09, 2005
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

  1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

  2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

  3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

  4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

  5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 03, 2005

AfrISPA appoints regional carriers

As part of its aim to establish true inter-country connectivity within the African continent, the African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA) has appointed two organisations as regional carriers. Transtel and the Africa Online/SkyVision JV are the two bidders that successfully met AfrISPA's criteria to provide an African regional Internet traffic solution, in order to remove the current dependence upon overseas carriers and to promote the establishment and growth of African regional data carriers. The establishment of a network of Internet exchange points (IXPs) within Africa would also result in reduced costs, improved speeds and the improvement of the Internet backbone within Africa as a whole.

According to AfrISPA, Africa Online will offer a fully meshed network, which uses proven and reliable VSAT technology to provide point-to-point connectivity between IXPs. It will also utilise existing terrestrial links between certain countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, making it possible to create regional hubs whose component countries can share one VSAT link and so reduce installation costs even further.

From IT Web [via my weblog]

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 5:36:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Refutation of Metcalfe's Law (PDF) and a better estimate for the value of networks and network interconnections by Andrew Odlyzko and Benjamin Tilly.

  • There have been and continue to be controversies about interconnection policies of ISPs. A particularly sensitive issue is the frequent refusal of large ISPs to peer (roughly speaking, exchange traffic freely without payment) with smaller carriers. (The refusal of AOL to interconnect instant messenger systems is very similar.) This behavior has often been attributed to abusive exploitation of market power. But there may be a more innocent explanation, based on the economic value that interconnection generates. As we show in Section 2, if Metcalfe's Law held, then interconnection would produce equal value for any two network, irrespective of their relative sizes. Hence refusal to interconnect without payment would have to be due to either obtuseness on the part of management or strategic gaming. However, if network value scales like n log(n), as we argue (or by most other rules of this type, the quadratic growth of Metcalfe's Law is very unusual in this regard) then relative gains from interconnection depend on the sizes of the networks. In this case the smaller network gains considerably more than the larger one. This produces an incentive for larger networks to refuse to interconnect without payment, a very common phenomenon in the real economy.

  • Metcalfe's Law and Reed's Law both significantly overstate the value of a communication network. In their place we propose another rough rule, that the value of a network of size n grows like n log(n). This rule, while not meant to be exact, does appear to be consistent with historical behavior of networks with regard to interconnection, and it captures the advantage that general connectivity offers over broadcast networks that deliver content. It also helps explain the failure of the dot-com and telecom ventures, since it implies network effects are not as strong as had been hoped for.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005 8:17:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 21, 2005

WorldSummit2005.org in an article entitled Internet Governance Debate Moving to Next Stage reports that the Working Group on Internet Governance just completed its third meeting in Geneva at the United Nations.

"The discussion is now moving from mapping the internet governance landscape of institutions and stakeholders towards assessments and recommendations. Monday’s session was conducted as an open consultation, yesterday and today the group was meeting in private. Expectedly, a few conflicts surfaced again, which mainly circled around the role of different stakeholders, the question of a new organisational framework, and the multilateralization of the core Internet resources. But progress can be observed."

More...

Thursday, April 21, 2005 10:34:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The Working Group on Internet Governance opened its third meeting yesterday at the United Nations in Geneva. Output of the real-time captioning for the Open Consultations held on April 18 2005 are available [morning session] and [afternoon session] on the WGIG website.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 8:09:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

Identifying key regulatory and policy issues to ensure open access to regional backbone infrastructure initiatives in Africa by Paul Hamilton and TeleGeography. This report was commissioned by the Global Information Communication and Technologies Policy Division (CITPO) of the World Bank in June 2004. It provided inputs into a conference convened by the NEPAD e-Africa Commission in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 28–30 July 2004 to review the status of all current telecommunications infrastructure initiatives within the Southern and East African subregions, as well as the interrelated regulatory, policy and funding issues and to plot the way forward with stakeholders. From World Bank via my weblog

Monday, April 18, 2005 4:14:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 12, 2002

"Sender-keeps-all" or "bill-and-keep" accounting mechanisms are simple accounting schemes common in the deployment of new telecommunication technologies. However, in asymmetric traffic environments or where highly diversified service offerings emerge (e.g. those requiring guaranteed bandwidth), these models tend to shift to revenue sharing mechanisms among operators and/or content providers. In some cases, this can lead to new market dynamics. One example is the success of NTT Docomo's i-mode service, which some argue is mostly related to its billing gateway technology, permitting revenue sharing and encouraging the growth of new external content providers.

Many previously "free" Internet services are shifting to subscription or metered-based schemes and there's a lot of standards activity underway focused on charging, accounting and cross-operator settlement schemes for IP-based networks. In the public switched telephone network (PSTN) world, which is focused on a single service, voice, accounting mechanisms are primarily built around call detail records (CDRs). In the IP-based world, the service offerings can be much wider (voice, email, web, streaming access), so the challenge has been to develop a more flexible format that can capture the relevant metrics for a wide range of service classes. An interesting development is the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR).

ITU-T Study Group 3, who deal with tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues, are currently meeting at the ITU. At this meeting, the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR), has given an interesting presentation (PDF) on its latest activities, particularly with regard to the emerging Network Data Management Usage (NDM-U) specification. This is a development to keep an eye on in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2002 12:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |