TO CWG-Internet: Online Open Consultation
Japan Internet Providers Association
Vice Chair Toshiaki Tateishi
Two issues which affect cost of using the Internet
IXPs in Japan
Now in Japan, the main IXPs are located only in Tokyo.
In the Past, we had some local IXPs in rural areas. However, almost all of them disappeared because of lack of revenue. They could not get enough earnings continuously.
When the big earthquake and tsunami hit the North East Japan in 2011, many of us recognized their importance to localize the affect of the disaster from the viewpoint of maintaining Internet, but there are currently very few activities to encourage them.
It depends on conditions such as geographical features, distribution of population, regulations on telecommunication and locations of data centers, whether distributed IX architecture can be maintained. For example, in Sweden, they have many Internet exchange points.
In Japan, it is quite unlikely that there is a causal relation between ISP tariffs and existence of IXPs. Although there are only a few number of IXPs in Tokyo, ISP pricing for consumers are not expensive, comparatively less than in other countries. The ISPs costs consist mainly of local loop and long distance leased line, transit (data transfer) fee, employment cost, user support cost and etc. The cost of using IXP is very small compared to these. Additionally, reduction in transit cost due to new fiber technology and also competition among long distance carriers both domestic and global resulted in an environment where peering cost over IXP and transit cost using a backbone provider became the same level. This is the major reason why ISP pricing has been maintained low even if traffic has exploded by broadband connections.
However, constitutions of ISPs differ from country to country. External factors, such as regulations, network topology and business relationship may cause the difference. In some countries, deployment of IXP may make user’s fee cheaper.
Deregulation, not only for telecommunication industry but also related industries is one of the most important requirements to encourage competition and to lower pricing for using ISP.
OTT and the Internet
Large content providers, like Google, Facebook, Youtube, etc, are using CDN(Content Delivery Network) to reduce cost for ISPs in transferring data. However, caching mechanism is not sufficient enough to manage the impact of large contents on the Internet. Although there are some arguments to control the impact of large contents by charging OTTs, it is very difficult technically and operationally. Even if it is feasible, it might require enormous cost to operate them.
Additionally, we should carefully consider these issues from the point of the network neutrality and others.
It is our pleasure as an association of ISPs in Japan to make contributions to other organizations and countries who/where need information and to cooperate for issues about IXPs and related matters.