Most South African ISPs support free peering

While most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa support free and open peering, four major industry players are not keen.

Recently, a telecoms industry executive revealed Telkom, MTN, Vodacom and Internet Solutions are not on board for free and open peering in the country.

Peering refers to the business relationship between ISPs and their customers where ISPs facilitate the flow of data between their customers reciprocally. Open peering refers to the exchange of internet traffic between two ISPs as being free of any charge.

In the past, various ISPs have described open peering as improving service levels as well as minimising costs.

“Open peering is a very important part of creating an affordable, efficient internet market in South Africa,” former Mweb C.E.O. Rudi Jansen toldMybroadband. He added: “It will give users a better internet experience and break the stranglehold that a few large players currently exert over the rest of the market.”

Telkom, not willing to support open peering, explains peering has remained a commercial arrangement between two Internet access providers, both of which have an Autonomous System (AS) with similar traffic flows between them.

According to Telkom, whether to peer or not is always a business decision, especially when it comes to the settlement of free peering.

Telkom say they consider “all peering requests against criteria that Telkom reviews from time to time as circumstances change.”

“Peering on the basis of traffic flows that are not roughly equivalent can never be for free simply due to the fact that infrastructure and network build involves costs that need to be financed and recovered through a sensible commercial model,” says Telkom.

Prenesh Padayachee, Chief Technical Officer for Internet Solutions explained toMybroadband the company has various peering partnerships, many of which are already free.

“The interactions between Internet networks fall into three distinctive categories: transit, peer and client. Peering is an agreement that is by definition mutually beneficial to both networks,” Padayachee explains.

Padayachee added: “Internet Solutions does not charge its partners in a pure peering relationship, which implies that both parties gain equal benefit from each other.

Furthermore, Padayachee said a partner that does not meet the prerequisites that bring about mutual benefits can opt for “paid peering”, which compensates for the difference through a predetermined fee.

“It is in any ISP’s best interest to peer with as many networks as possible as this reduces cost; provided the other network can indeed offer mutual benefit,” said Padayachee.

Posted in: Internet

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