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Options agreed for measuring international Internet traffic flow

Developing countries should soon be able to negotiate better rates for Internet connectivity on the basis of an agreement reached at an ITU–T Study Group 3 meeting, held in Geneva on 28 March — 1 April 2011, following an ITU–T Workshop on IP traffic flow measurement. The agreement is a supplement to Recommendation ITU–T D.50, which recommends how providers of international Internet connections should negotiate bilateral commercial arrangements enabling direct international Internet connections. These arrangements should consider compensation based on such factors as traffic flow, number of routes, geographical coverage and the cost of international transmission. The new agreement specifically focuses on how IP traffic flows can be measured at different points, including at Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) interconnect points. The agreement acknowledges that traffic flow can be measured via BGP without any change to that protocol, and that there are a variety of ways of measuring traffic flow. The ability to manage measurement without a change to BGP has been a long-standing point of contention.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), through the 2005 Tunis Agenda, mandated ITU to examine this topic, which is of key concern. The agreement is a step forward in fulfilling that mandate, formalized in Resolution 101 adopted by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October 2010. Resolution 101 echoes the Tunis Agenda in asking ITU to “…continue the study of international Internet connectivity as an urgent matter”. The Tunis Agenda recommends “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”. Resolution 101 calls on ITU–T, in particular Study Group 3 which has responsibility for Recommendation ITU–T D.50, to complete as soon as possible its studies that have been ongoing since the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly in 2000. In June 2004 an amendment to ITU–T Recommendation D.50 set out general considerations as a basis on which parties could negotiate Internet interconnection in a harmonized way. The latest agreement builds on this.


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