The issue of international Internet connectivity has been the
subject of debate in different forums prior to the launch of the
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). When an international telephone call is routed from one country to another, the
operator in the country that originates the call has traditionally
made a compensatory payment to the operator in the country that
terminates the call. For international Internet charging, the system
is quite different, based on a so-called “full-circuit” model. At ITU
where extensive studies have been carried out since 1998, one conclusion is that “the high costs of the international circuit for Internet
connectivity between least developed countries and the Internet
backbone networks remains a serious problem for these countries”.
In the context of the on-going debate on Internet governance,
a draft working paper has been published for public comment.
According to this paper, released by the Working Group on Internet
Governance (WGIG), the jury is still out on “International Charging
Arrangements for Internet Services” (ICAIS) — a proposal intended
to change Internet connectivity compensation between networks.
ITU News takes a closer look at some of the issues surrounding
the high cost of Internet connectivity and bandwidth in developing
countries. It then gives an account of ITU work so far on international Internet connectivity and summarizes the WGIG issue paper
on “International Internet connections”.