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PLDT rejects IP peering proposal of NTC, Globe

August 10, 2011 8:06pm
Dominant carrier PLDT has filed an opposition to a proposed memorandum circular on IP peering policy being drafted by the National Telecommunications Communications (NTC), arguing that the government agency in charge of the Internet exchange may not be capable of maintaining security and service quality.

In a position paper, PLDT said compelling Internet service providers to connect via a single Internet exchange as proposed in the draft NTC order may create a bottleneck that could hamper rather than raise the service quality of Internet service providers (ISPs).

“This is a case where the proposed solution may just compound the problem," said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT head for public affairs.

Under the draft memo circular, all ISPs shall be required to connect with the IP exchange of the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) with respect to their domestic Internet traffic.

Earlier, Ayala-owned operator Globe Telecom backed the NTC’s position to establish a domestic IP peering policy, saying that customer experience is degraded with longer IP peering since data is routed outwards, for instance internationally first, before landing at its target destination.

“When IP traffic needs to go from point A to point B – especially when both points are located within the Philippines – the transmission route taken ought to be the most direct, and certainly not international. This will immediately result in a faster, better Internet access experience for consumers," Globe counsel Froilan Castelo said.

But PLDT said Internet service levels could suffer because the NTC memo circular does not provide for rigorous and robust arrangements for IP peering.

For example, PLDT said there are no clear safeguards in the draft memo circular to ensure that the DOST-ASTI IP exchange can operate efficiently or securely, more so after the DOST-ASTI said that it cannot be compelled to operate at a prescribed service level.

It added that the proposed NTC order does not define the role clearly the roles, duties, responsibilities, and liabilities of the IP exchange administrator, which raises concerns on the accountability of the DOST-ASTI exchange.

PLDT said further that the absence of well-defined security features in the DOST-ASTI exchange unduly exposes the personal and other confidential information of customers to possible security breaches.

Also, PLDT argued that the lack of provisions for compensation creates a disincentive for ISPs to invest in Internet infrastructure and would ultimately lead to a deterioration of service levels.

PLDT officials said that proponents of IP peering such as Globe have erroneously compared this to interconnection for voice calls and SMS between phone carriers, except that in this case interconnection applies to Internet traffic.

“That is comparing apples and oranges," said PLDT technology group head Roland G. Pena. “IP peering is much more complex than conventional interconnection."

Unlike conventional phone systems where calls are handled using carefully planned routing tables downloaded into switching systems, the routers of Internet use a self-discovery process to determine the connectivity of the network and decide themselves where to send traffic, Pena explained.

Rather than use direct high-usage peering or redundancy throughout the network which is the rule for telephone systems, the Internet achieves reliability via a mesh network rich in alternate routes.

“This is why IP peering has to be managed much more intensively to ensure that service quality, resilience and security are properly maintained," Pena said.

“The absence of rigorous technical specifications in the proposed IP peering arrangements raises the likelihood that service quality will suffer."

PLDT added that the lack of any provision for compensation in the proposed peering arrangement compounds that danger.

The draft NTC order would enable some ISPs to “free-ride" on other ISPs, like PLDT and Smart, who have invested heavily in its facilities. In the long run, this becomes a disincentive for ISPs to further invest in upgrading, improving and expanding their networks, the company added.

PLDT said studies have found that in forced peering arrangements service quality eventually suffers from congestion due to low levels of investments in infrastructure.

PLDT also warned that requiring all ISPs to establish a peering point such as the DOST-ASTI Exchange can hinder growth by removing the incentives for an ISP to competitively grow beyond a single exchange. — Newsbytes.ph



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