Sunday, 20 December 2009

Will China meter the internet - not very likely

The BBC reports that China wants to meter the internet. A proposal to change the BGP-protocol is being discussed in the ITU-T. Andrea Servida, Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate General Information Society and Media, European Commission told this to the House of Lords  (at about 27:50minutes) in the UK. The BBC: "He warned the plan could threaten the stability of the entire internet. (..and)  that China could have a "hidden agenda" in wanting to monitor data flows. And, in later comments to BBC News, he suggested technical changes needed to charge everyone for internet traffic flowing through China could undermine the web's founding principle of openness as well as raising security and stability concerns for all net users."

Some people already reacted that this may lead to an epic battle between China and the internet. I personally don't think this will be the case. I think that it is highly unlikely that the ITU-T will formally push to abolish peering and transit and modifying BGP so that metering becomes possible. This doesn't mean that there aren't people who work for the ITU or people attending their meetings proposing these ideas. 

I base this on developments in regulatory circles in recent years and the time I spend at the ITU in Lebanon and Geneva in the last two months. The traditional model of Calling Party Pays for national telephony calls and international settlements for international telephony is gradually losing supporters. Some excellent examples of this are recent reports by the European Regulators Group and discussions by the OECD on the topic. Academics like Litchfield and Cambini and authors like Scott Markus are steadily gaining traction.

There are still quite some people versed in the old traditions of the telephony world and they have been irritated by the internet's system of interconnection through peering and transit for a long while. Already in 2000 the EU posted a semi-definitive paper on the topic putting an end to any dreams of metered internet interconnection in Europe along the lines of telephony interconnection. It was a topic in WSIS Tunis as well, but there the only mention it got was in paragraph 50:

50. We acknowledge that there are concerns, particularly amongst developing countries, that the charges for international Internet connectivity should be better balanced to enhance access. We therefore call for the development of strategies for increasing affordable global connectivity, thereby facilitating improved and equitable access for all, by:
  1. Promoting Internet transit and interconnection costs that are commercially negotiated in a competitive environment and that should be oriented towards objective, transparent and non-discriminatory parameters, taking into account ongoing work on this subject.
  2. Setting up regional high-speed Internet backbone networks and the creation of national, sub-regional and regional Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).
  3. Recommending donor programmes and developmental financing mechanisms to consider the need to provide funding for initiatives that advance connectivity, IXPs and local content for developing countries.
  4. Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as a matter of urgency, and to periodically provide output for consideration and possible implementation. We also encourage other relevant institutions to address this issue.
  5. Promoting the development and growth of low-cost terminal equipment, such as individual and collective user devices, especially for use in developing countries.
  6. Encouraging Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other parties in the commercial negotiations to adopt practices towards attainment of fair and balanced interconnectivity costs.
  7. Encouraging relevant parties to commercially negotiate reduced interconnection costs for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), taking into account the special constraints of LDCs.
 Does that mean we're out of mad people demanding settlements? No of course not. The ITU has been given the task to look into the matter and that is where these people flock to. Nobody who is actually responsible for peering and interconnection attends these meetings, so it's like a zoo for dinosaurs of a by gone age.

In Lebanon an African nation demanded to know when the ITU would address these western countries dumping traffic on the countries internet connection. Like western companies are full of über-rich, doped up, anarchist hackers shoving youtubes like a DDOS of filth straight through the pipes into the minds of simple, naive, law abiding but curious Africans. When I answered them that an essential property of the internet was that you only got send what you requested, or acknowledged what you wanted to have (except for a Denial of Service attack), I didn't receive a positive response from the country. It also didn't help that I said it was only fair that they paid for their internet connection just like everybody else did and that they were free to not pay and disconnect from the internet. Great thing was that many nations in the room did agree with me.

In Geneva, where I was to enable the likes of Amazon, TomTom, Garmin and Apple to work as their own mobile telco (more on this later), a representative of an Arab nation stated that if the world would have adopted X.25 as the dominant protocol we now wouldn't have all this trouble with hackers and spam. (this isn't correct and we wouldn't have an internet equivalent either... but anyways) At an OECD meeting a couple of years ago Mauro Sentinelli, then deputy Chairman of the GSMA still argued against the internet's way of Peering an Transit, even calling for an increase in cost if traffic crossed a border. ETNO and the GSMA are still arguing against it, but when it comes to internet interconnection they come with no viable alternative.

So all in all, there are dinosaurs, they are arguing against extinction and consequently against the horrors of mammals and their despicable ways. This too shal pass.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Mijn moeders recept voor stoofpeertjes

For those reading English, have a look at this explanation on Dutch stewed pears 
1 kilo Gieser Wildeman stoofpeertjes
1 zakje vanillesuiker
1 deciliter Pikeurtje vruchtenwijn
3 eetlepels suiker
stukje citroenschil
2 kruidnagels
1 deciliter water.

Peertjes schillen en halveren, klokhuis eruit. Hele peertjes worden niet zo mooi rood van binnen. Vocht klaarmaken door alles bijelkaar te gooien en pan op het vuur te zetten. Vocht aan de kook brengen en van de kook halen. 1 laag peertjes op de bodem van de pan, hetgeen veelal ongeveer een kilo is. Niet koken.. stoven, zo lang mogelijk en zo laag mogelijk. Als het niet lukt om het vocht van de kook te houden, probeer het dan met een warmhoudplaat of au bain marie. Aan het einde sap inkoken.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bankstatement 2.0

I wrote an article for the Dutch blog site Frankwatching on Bankstatement 2.0. It's a rant against banks not offering any value with their online banking solution. For those whose idea of Dutch is a long line of throat clearings, here is the automagic Google translation. Here's the text.

Je kent ze wel, bankafschriften. Het zijn die ellendige stukjes papier die iedere maand binnen komen met cryptische beschrijvingen van wat er bij- en afgeboekt is op uw rekening. De meeste mensen herkennen de envelop al en openen hem niet eens meer. Ze belanden in de stapel en worden eens in de maand, tegelijk met de betalingen, in de administratie verwerkt.

Misschien heb je zelfs al aan je bank aangegeven  dat je ze niet meer wilt ontvangen. We doen allemaal al jaren aan internetbankieren. (Mocht dit niet het geval zijn, dan ben je vast verdwaald op internet, en verwijs ik je graag naar of

Wat mij iedere keer weer verbaast is hoe dat internetbankieren er precies hetzelfde uit ziet als die papieren afschriften. Het is een lange lijst met overboekingen, cryptische codes en je actuele saldo. Simpel gezegd, er is veel af gegaan, iets bijgekomen, maar waaraan en hoe?  En dan vraag ik me toch af of dat niet anders kan.

Online boekhouden

Internetbankieren 2.0 zou zich erop moeten richten om aan de klant te laten zien waarvandaan er geld is gekomen en waaraan het is uitgegeven. Het zou een soort boekhoudprogramma online kunnen zijn. Op deze manier krijg je als klant inzicht in je bestedingspatroon en (daar is de payoff voor de bank) inzicht in welke aanvullende betalingsproducten je je kunt veroorloven, bijvoorbeeld om te lenen, te beleggen of om langdurig te sparen.

Het belangrijkste van internetbankieren 2.0 is toch wel het inzicht in de cashflow. Hoeveel komt er binnen en hoe snel gaat dat er uit? Is dat in balans of is er een structureel probleem? Een mooie grafiek à la Google Analytics, waarbij de klant kan zien of hij over de lange en korte termijn uitkomt met zijn geld.
Een ander belangrijk element is om te laten zien waar dat geld dan aan uitgegeven wordt. In deze tijd van pinnen is van elke betaling bekend naar wie  het gaat. Door mensen hun betalingen te laten taggen, kunnen ze inzicht krijgen in hun betalingsgedrag. Zo kan een betaling bij de Albert Heijn getagged worden met Albert Heijn en bijvoorbeeld met boodschappen. Een betaling bij de Gall en Gall kan vallen onder boodschappen, maar misschien ook onder luxe of cadeautje voor Henk. Door gebruik te maken van een vorm van crowdsourcing kan de bank ook suggesties doen voor tags voor betalingen, zodat je niet alles iedere keer met de hand hoeft te doen.

De op deze wijze verzamelde combinaties van getallen en tags kunnen daarna in prachtige overzichten en draaitabellen getoond worden. Op deze wijze kan bijvoorbeeld beoordeeld worden of de benzinekosten constant blijven danwel omhoog of omlaag gaan. Afwijkingen ten opzichte van vorige maanden kunnen helder gemaakt worden en zo wordt ook duidelijk waarom we deze maand niet uitkomen met het budget. Helemaal mooi zou het zijn als de bank een afspraak maakt met het Nibud en de bijbehorende richtgetallen kan tonen voor de klant.

De spaarrekening kan op deze manier ook gepimpt worden. Als die rekening nu eens zou tonen, waarvoor je je geld spaart, bijvoorbeeld door het gebruik van potjes en doelen, dan zou dit een wezenlijk verschil maken. Iedere maand 150 euro sparen om voor een reis volgend jaar door Australië lijkt toch anders als het doel al genoemd is met het bedrag en het potje opgevuld moet worden. Overboeken van de spaarrekening kan dan ook als consequentie hebben dat bepaalde doelen naar beneden aangepast moeten worden, hetgeen misschien leidt tot een betere spaarmoraal.

Fantastische bank

Ja maar, zullen de experts roepen. Hier heb je Neerlands trots voor! Of bijvoorbeeld in de VS. Deze innovatieve lui kunnen veel van dit soort functies al voor je uitvoeren en het enige dat je hoeft te doen is zo nu en dan het rekeningafschrift bestand van je bank te downloaden en die dan weer bij hen te uploaden. Zij adviseren ook nog eens over mogelijke besparingen die je kunt realiseren. Dus op die manier besparen ze je ook nog eens geld! Oftewel: waarom zou je bank dit moeten doen?

De kracht van je bank zit er echter in dat zij het real time voor je kunnen organiseren. Ze zijn niet afhankelijk van het feit dat je dingen uploadt naar een site, maar ze kunnen je realtime waarschuwen, updates versturen, integreren met je iPhone etc. Die kracht zouden ze moeten uitbuiten, zodat de klant ook daadwerkelijk blij wordt van het gebruik van hun diensten. (Ken je nu iemand die zijn bank bij je aanraadt, omdat ze iets fantastisch hebben? Iets? Wat dan ook?)

Naschrift: Dat ik niet in de bankenwereld zit en dus niet alle ontwikkelingen op de voet volg, wordt weer snoeihard afgestraft door door een laatste zoekactie met Google. Het blijkt dat de ING al een pilot gedaan heeft met een digitaal huishoudboekje genaamd TIM. Ik zie ze echter nog niet doorpakken en de andere banken hebben het ook nog niet opgepakt. Misschien dat ik mijn volgende column maar wijd aan de rol die Google speelt bij onze perceptie van deze wereld. Als Google het niet vindt, dan bestaat het niet…

The greatest ISP in the world, reactions to the article

I wrote an article for Ars Technica on what would constitute the greatest ISP in the world. My eComm presentation was the basis for this article. plays a big role in the article, but other ISP's also feature. I tried to show as many different aspects of ISP's  in the world, including Plusnet who are traffic shaping their customers.

It was great writing the article, but I like the reactions even more. The editors had added a first paragraph which made it a bit more challenging to Americans and it showed in the reactions. Several Americans criticized the article for being too anti-American. I got the idea that some telco's pay people to write the same type of comments any time anyone criticizes US broadband providers.

Some interesting bits from the reactions:
  • Most people want to move to France or want Xavier Niel to expand his business to the rest of the world
  • The United States isn't lagging the world or there is an explanation that the article fails to mention (The article wasn't aimed at the US alone. The world's my target)
  • Paxio in the US offers FTTH up to a Gigabit for $245. PAXIO’s network circles the San Francisco Bay Area with fiber beachheads and services delivered in Brentwood, Emeryville, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.
  •  Free and SFR customers both love their ISP's. Though Free could do something to improve customer service. 
  • Zon in Portugal offers both Docsis 3.0 at 200Mbit/s and FTTH up to 1 Gbit/s  
  • Someone thinks that Free's business model is illegal in the USA. He wrote the longest reply to proof almost everything in my article was wrong :-)  
  • Australians hate their broadband providers with a vengeance. If you are in the Aussie ISP business, get personal security.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

CEO debate mobile telephony (TelecomTime)

CEO debate mobile telephone
Jens Schulte-Bockum, Marco Visser, Bart Weijermars, Mark Frequin
The challenge in the Nethelrands is that three new players will enter the 2.6Ghz.
Being a player in the market isn’t just about building a network. We’re spending more than a billion a year the three of us in Subscriber Acquisition cost.
Vodafone: We find it a pity that everyone is discussing how many new entrants there will be in the market. It is about getting more of 800 Mhz and offering more spectrum/bandwidth. But the Netherlands is lagging with the 800 debate. The Netherlands could fall behind a lot. It has also prohibited all of the existing players to get 2 times 20Mhz. So they cannot get 100mbit down
T-Mobile: is finding a pity that everybody is focussing on the network and not on the services. More networks will only increase the cost.
Vodafone: The Netherlands is the most competitive market in almost every segment of the telecom market. I am really passionate about innovation. The Netherlands has many interesting start ups. If we would speed up the 800Mhz network, than the innovators will come. I have sympathy for the 2.6Ghz auction, but why do we have caps. We don’t know if there are new players and you are already excluding us from the auction.
Roamning and MTA discussion.
KPN: I agree with the roaming decision. Regulators should have been much slower in their MTA regulation.
Question on pricing
Vodafone: A flat fee model is not sustainable in the long run. Additional usage means additional cost.
Question on last years debate where they said: SAC is too high, Too many shops, Too many brands
KPN is saying they are lowering SAC levels
T-Mobile: We are actually opening shops. It is not for us to decide how many shops there are in themarket. It is up to the consumer.
Vodafone: there are still anomalies in themarket. The current MVNO segment is not sustainable. 50-60 market parties just is too much. We aren’t subsidizing the internet retail market anymore. The indirect retail market is enormous given the size of the country.
KPN: I counted 21 telecomshops in the Kalverstraat alone. (3 of KPN)
KPN has written the book on multi-brands. It will work with MTV next year to launch a new brand
T-mobile asks if it is going to be SIM69 the erotic content MVNO on KPNs network in Germany

Min of Econ Affairs Vision on Mobile Communication (TelecomTime)

Mark Frequin, Director General Energy and Telecom , Ministry of Econ Affairs, Netherlands.
The change from old to new is hard in policy issues like spectrum policy. Flexible use of mobile is very hard to achieve as it influences the old ways of doing. We need more space for economic growth and innovation. Following changing circumstances quicker and spectrum use without licenses.
Current licenses are made more flexible. In the 2.6Ghz more flexibility in use by the license holder.
There is a lot of spectrum to be released until 2017 (short term in government terms). 800MHZ will be a consultation in Q2 2009. 900 and 1800 will be distributed in 2013. 2100 will be done by 2017. The idea is to do this in a way that shows consistency instead of working individually for each band of spectrum.
The goals of the ministry are:
1. A competitive mobie market
2. Innovation space for newcomers
3. Attractive services to the consumer
Dilemma is how to ensure continuity and space for new comers.
Competition in the market together with a space to innovate.
Market parties want to have chohesion between frequency bands, consistency and predictability, international harmonisation, cooperation between government players. They also want respect for ht ecurrent players and their investments.
The ministry will publish its vision on the mobile market in the coming year 2010.

On the future of (fixed) servide providers (TelecomTime)

On the future of (fixed) servide providers

Mirko Mensink Ziggo
The market is saturating. 50% of the market is bundling. The customer wants value added services. For digital TV the amount of channels is important. Competition is getting vry important with very aggressive market parties like Tele2 and Alice. FTTH is also an important competitor.
Ericsson is quoted with 4 scenarios. Brands and Pipes, User Choice, Green Shift and All inclusive.
Ziggo doesn’t believe any of the scenarios will be thefuture. The likelihood is all of them are part of the future. 
Ziggo asks the following questions:
Does the customer want choice or do they want convenience
Does the network evolve into a dumb pipe or will services be dependent on the network
Do we see all purpose devices and specialists devices
What is the regulatory environment?
Ziggo believes that the future is more and more different screens. Multiple screens per home/person. The TV market is developing fasts. Currently the market for Television screens 1.8 million per year. Interactivity and ond-demand.
Ziggos new commercial with Leo Beenhakker
Ziggo is the first cable company offering Comon Interface Plus. It allows your tv to do digital tv without a set top box.
Ziggo tries to get closer to the customer. Travels through the country with a bus. New flagship stores and the Ziggo Dome.
Its content offers are standard Video on Demand, but also everything the History Channel ever made. Customers can also programme their own PVR via the internet and their mobile.

Fixed Network Track at TelecomTime

We believe in open networks and see fiber as the end play. Just like Cable and DSL see fiber as an end play. What we find interesting is that the big networks send their lawyers to debate new networks and that the we have to depend on very small providers to show that our model works and that innovation is possible.
We don’t believe in inventing services first. Edison didn’t know about ipods that needed electricity either.
We do believe in symmetric networks. Just look at the stats of Nuenen. See Herman Wagter.
How do traditional operators see FTTH?
Threats: Ne entrants enter into a greenfiel with no legacy
Our current equipment may need to written off earlier
My whole organisation works national. Fiber is regional
Regional roll out with the bundling of demand leads to a demise of market share of some traditional operators.
We offer under the name Glashart . We work hard on promoting locally with local shops.
We are rolling out a bit slower than we want.
Financing is sometimes difficult. Fiber is Real Estate. ODF is regulated over a long term. We are certain what our income will be.
Whehter the government helps out determines if we take 8 years to reach the whole country or 15 years.
Reggefiber is unique in Europe. We have fibered up one whole city already. This is Deventer. We have cooperated well with the government. Their input was removing the bullshit and working with us. Fiber is the Dike protecting us from the Exaflood.
Q: Do you see a role for yourself in mobile broadband? A: We haven’t looked at it yet.

Ziggo (took a while for me to start blogging_
Ziggo sees more than 1000 gbps to the World wide web. It has a lot of DWDM in its network. The customer is generally a maximum of 300 meters away from fiber. They are going to upgrade their customers automatically to newer faster speeds. They see themselves as competitive to FTTH. Ziggo is looking at QAM1024 in order to be able to deliver 1Gbps symmetrical over fiber, including 150 channels. They see a lot of potential for mobility. IP is mostly interesting for communicating with the back-office.
Qand A: Q do you look at Fiber at all? A: we believe in HFC. It is the way forward for us.

Eurofiber: The Future of Open Networks. Alex Goldblum
In the consumer market people may debate networking technology. In the business world it is much simpler. Fiber is the only future. Most of our competitors are using a vertically integrated and it makes sense for them. But we don’t do this, because the world is flattening … shows movie on the flattening of the world.
The cloud is expanding. The internet is becoming ubiquitous. The time to market has decreased and market penetration to reach 50 million users is decreasing to under 2 years. The could computing stack is having a great impact on how we do business. Everything becomes interwoven. Location doesn’t matter. It is scaleable, lower barrier to entry and it becomes transparant.
Eurofiber only looks at the datatransport in the disaggregated value chain. They provide the platform and the service. We just focus on the one thing we’re good at and that is fiber. We started with the alternative providers, but now vertically integrated incumbents have become partners. We have fully automated provisioning of fiber. Customers can ask for fiber to any location and get an automated quote back. We have our whole asset management available for them.
Every one is our customer now: Telco’s, Multinationals and local companies. We provide dark and lit fiber. But you can get anything you want and at every speed.
The only way is open. Cusomers want transparency and freedom of choice. The flattening world and cloud computing supports this. And they need fiber for it.
We are now the second largest provider. Tele2 is now third.

Telecom Time CEO debate fixed networks.

Eelco blok, Diederik karsten, Bernard dijkhuizen, henrik ringmar, chris fonteijn

UPC: our network is already 93% fiber.

KPN: I will give a sneak preview. I agree with UPC that most of the network is already fibre. All of us are already investing. Next week we will show how we will retain our number 1 position. What we think is important is that the networks are open. We are a wholesale party and we will open our networks. We will defend our market share.

Ziggo: We have invested already a lot in fiber. The question is what customers want. You have to stay ahead of what the customer wants. The speeds we are currently offering are not theoretical and we can attain much higher speeds in the future.

Moderator: OPTA can you tell me what you mean by that there are no services for fiber

OPTA: What I wanted to do is to push our thinking and counter a way of thinking that is prevalent in our politics. I don’t think we are in trouble in the coming 5 years. I don’t see a major role for the government. Our society isn’t in trouble at the moment.

UPC: We don’t believe in facilitating. Governments seem to think that it means doing most of the investments. The government should invest in new services. It’s like my kids who want me to facilitate my homework and I can say I recently had a 9 out of 10 for my report on Venice.

Ziggo: We believe in moderation for governments.

KPN: we also believe in a moderate role for governments in infrastructure. Governments should focus on new services for instance for eCare.

Moderator: KPN is focussing on open networks. Ziggo seems to be more of a media company.

Ziggo: we don’t see ourselves as a media company. We provide access to services and content, but that doesn’t make us a media company. We just want to make things easy for our customers.

UPC: we deliver access and services. People often say we are a dumb pipe. I do think we add value and we do offer a service.

Moderator: Tele2 is offering over different infrastructures.

Tele2: We think that OPTA is doing a good job. We have the second biggest fiber network in the country. For a customer its about the services and not about the network. We are ahead in the market and offer VDSL already. We will keep our competitors sharp.

Moderator: how big do you think the role of mobile will become in the Bundle.

KPN: We think that the role of mobile will become very important in the Bundle. Not for telephony, but it will be important for the data market.

Tele2: The Netherlands is lagging a lot with mobile internet. There are three very happy mobile operators and they aren’t competing.

KPN: I believe it is because we are so far ahead with fixed broadband. People don’t really focus on mobile broadband as they already have access.

Ziggo: I believe that OPTA is wrong with its statement of two is not enough. I believe we have one of themost competitive markets. We have 5 networks already.

OPTA: At this moment mobile isn’t a competitor in the broadband market. We only look 3-5 years ahead. Longer ahead just isn’t possible. 2 networks is the current situation. Satellite, mobile and fiber isn’t big enough yet. We evaluate this position every three years.

Moderator: UPC and Ziggo how important do you think mobile data is.

Ziggo: We think mobile data is important for the future. We are evaluating how we are going to offer that in the future, but haven’t made any decision yet.

Tele2: we do all these things already. And we promise we will be a very good customer for analogue cable too. Eelco can confirm this.

Ziggo: you would be very good customers at 13.5 euro.

Question: What do you think of the developments in France.

UPC: The French broadband market used to be scary for us and we would think that that shouldn’t happen here. Now we have a much more open idea of what can happen. We do see as a possibility of what can happen in the Dutch market.

Question: Do you expect other ISP’s to offer over your cable network
Ziggo: we only see wholesale in B2B. There is no place for it in the consumer market.

Chris Fonteijn, OPTA vision on infrastructure and next generation networks (fixed and mobile)

I start with some propositions. Propositions are never fully true, but that will lead to debate.
1. We’re doing very well in The Netherlands
2. FTTH is only used for downloading of movies and music and there are no services available for it
3. Municipalities should only facilitate the FTTH roll out and not invest in it.
The Netherlands is leading Europe in broadband connections. The price for broadband internet have dropped with84%. According to the OECD we’re the cheapest country in the world with regards to mobile bundles. Bundling is very important in the Netherlands. With FTTH we see steady growth and Reggefiber has 388.000 connections. We believe that the market has the primacy. The market delivers new innovation. Even though market is a dirty word at the moment.
If you look at competition in The Netherlands. We have always focussed on infrastructure competition. There has been some evolution in our thinking. The Commission started with the ladder of investment. New entrants would grow and would roll out multiple networks to the end-user. We do see that this vision hasn’t become reality. And we do believe that 2 is not enough. Having just cable and KPN is not enough for the market. Access regulation has served us well with KPN. We will look at cable too. We want to give investors long term regulatory certainty.
The future is bundling. We haven’t looked at bundling yet in our market analysis, but this will come. We expect in the future that content will become part of it too. We are concerned about the business market where KPN is still too large. With the Wholesale Cable regulation we want to give new entrants access to the analogue signal. This is still a very important competitive advantage for the cable networks. With fibre we want an open network, but have also seen that it isn’t going as fast as we had expected. This however isn’t our concern.
We do see a roll for the government in FTTH but it should be very limited. They should only facilitate. Competition should be the idea. Competition is the reason we have Docsis 3. Competition is why KPN works with Reggefiber. I do wonder what the consumer will benefit from fiber. We haven’t seen much yet. We don’t care too much about the technology, but what the consumer will get. We do see fiber as an end play.
We understand fiber is a risky investment. As the first regulator in Europe we have given long term certainty to private operators. We don’t see a big roll for the government in  investing financially in the network. In the Netherlands competition is taking the lead and I don’t know if municipalities can accelerate growth. Governments can disrupt competition if they invest financially in new networks. We also wonder if private parties don’t profit too much from governments cooperating with them. Profit too much compared to other existing parties. We expect much from competition. Combined with our regulation and local governments making FTTH roll out easy. I do believe we have created the right conditions and the business now will have to do it.

Ed Achterberg on what happened in 2009 in the Dutch Telecom Scene.

Ed Achterberg on what happened in 2009 in the Dutch Telecom Scene.

Growth has gone out of the broadband market. FTTH is growing slowsly. DSL has lost its steam and Cable has taken the initiative. DSL can only compet on price or on extra services. KPN is doubting between dSL and Fiber. On December 15th KPN will announce what she will do with DSL or Fiber.
UPC and Ziggo are offering the fastest speeds and DSL is the slowest technology. Also because the advertised speeds are up-to 20mbit/s. Glass fiber is out of this chart as the average speed is much higher than the 3 mbit/s max limited. 40% of the installed base of Cable is stuck already. If they go DSL they go back in speed and functionality.
The service revenue for mobile seems completely insensitive to the crisis. It seems to be… But is it really stable at 1,6 billion euro. KPN has slightly below 50%. It can’t become more or the OPTA will get mad and it won’t become less because KPN doesn’t want less. The total amount of active SIMS is much higher than our stats, because only KPN reports on its M2M installed base. ARPU is a very bad metric. What the consumer is paying for prepay is twice as much as what the operators are reporting as ARPU. The consumer is paying 12 euro, the telco reports 6, because of the amount of inactive SIMS. About 15% of the consumers have a databundle. And we see a growth.
Nokia is declining fast in the handset market. The Blackberry has become very popular with the youth segment. Blackberries can send free SMS’s called pings. Kids love those! Nokia has lost 25% of its market share in the Netherlands. From 42% to 34%.
In the television market we see that KPN’s Digitenne is flat. IPTV over DSL grows slowly. The wholesale offer analogue cable is an interesting proposition for Tele2. Television over Fiber is still difficult as many people keep their cable connection because of the abundance of channels and content and people only use fiber to connect to the net and telephony. HDTV is a great product and gives very little extra revenue. The average customer with an HDTV is willing to pay 3 euro extra for HDTV. Those without an HDTV capable tv are only willing to pay 1.50 euro.
Question: The Netherlands is the world leader in MVNO’s. What do you see there?
We see that everyone moves to smart pricing (making the contracts less transparent to the customer) For MVNO there is an opportunity there. MVNO’s can only distinguish themselves if they do more than just being cheaper. They could offer pico-cells.

Telecom Tim 09: Keynote Job Witteman on AMS-IX and growth

Job Witteman, Oei ik Groei…

Oops, I’m growing. Our growth shows the traditional hockeystick. In the summer we see a decrease in our growth. After the summer, when it’s cold our growth continues. Our IXP offers ISPS a neutral environment to interconnect their IP traffic. It’s a physical infrastructure where the ISP connects his network too.
ISP’s need to make their own peering agreements with other parties. The IXP itself isn’t a party in that deal. We don’t define what an ISP is, this has opened up our IXP to content providers like the public broadcasters and also the likes of Google. Traditionally the iXPisn’t used for exchanging Transit deals, but we don’t prohibit that. Peering is really a bilateral arrangement. My traffic to your network and your traffic to my network. It’s limited to that network. The IXP is neutral. We only charge for the port and we don’t take a fee per costs.
AMS-IX is the biggest with 846 Gbps and 54% growth. Moscow is smaller, but has 200% growth. The top 3 IXP’s take 60% of the traffic. The next 5 take 20% and the following 11 take 13%. Being big is an advantage. It draws more customers, which attract more customers still.
We’re an association, with a limited corporation. Everyone connected is a member of the association. Every member has one vote. There is a board with 5 members and 2 times a year there is a general meeting. In those meetings we vote for board members and the Long Term Commercial Plan.
All the stock in the limited corporation is owned by the association and can’t be sold. The limited corporation owns all assets, but it only lives to serve the association.
Basic values are:
-          Neutral and independent,
-          Democratic and open
-          Reliable
-          Continuity
-          Leading edge technology
-          Dynamic
-          Not-for-profit
Our core switches can work with 128 10Gbit/s ports at non-blocking speeds.
3 interconnect options:
-          Transit (also known as upstream). Can be quite expensive
-          Private interconnect
-          Public peering over IXP’s
Most ISP’s make use of a mix.

Carriers and mobile interconnects
IP convergence in the 2 world. Mobile operators are united/associated in a separate VLAN on the AMS-IX infrastructure for GRX roaming. There is a strict separation with the internet. There is a Closed User Group with its own agreements.
My first statement is:
-          Mobile internet is an illusion.
-          Mobile internet is a goldmine for the Mobile operators. Mobile telco’s don’t need to do anything for their customer. At 10 euro per month this can be as much 100 million per month in the Netherlands. You can build a nice network for that.
-          Video is not disruptive and will nog give you an exaflood, it’s normal growth and business as usual.
The growth at the GRX V-Lan is now around 100%. It used to be 1000%. We expect more growth if the mobile telco’s connect to the ISP VLAN and interconnect directly.
Question XS4All, where is there a possibility for disruption. Job explains about how well they organized everything redundantly.

Blogging from TelecomTime

I am at Telecomtime and blogging in the usual very rough way that I have done at previous conferences.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Dutch Cable grows faster than DSL and KPN is in trouble

KPN is in serious trouble in the Dutch broadband market. Telecompaper published the numbers and KPN is losing customers. Cable is winning, DSL is losing.  This may be surprising to some readers because:

  • KPN is one of the few incumbents that understood it needed to share its copper network with new entrants in order to defend against cable.
  • KPN made a good strategic move by entering into a joint venture with Reggefiber, thereby securing its access to FTTH, without serious impact on it's current balance sheet.
  • KPN had announced serious investement in VDSL2 and Fiber to the Curb in it's All-IP programme. It promised that by 2011 most of the country would have 50/50 VDSL2. 
  • KPN was on my Telecom Cool Wall for all of the above reasons
Unfortunately for KPN, there is a difference between strategy and execution.
  • This blog has pointed out in the past KPN's dismal FTTH and FTTC offer. 
  • Many of you also know that KPN has postponed most of its All-IP programme and will announce at the end of this year whether it goes for FTTH or FTTC. This while both UPC and Ziggo have upgraded their networks to Docsis 3.0 and are offering much higher speeds than KPN could dream about with any version of DSL. 
  • As of next year, KPN will offer VDSL2, but only from the central office. Almost all customers will get a speed increase, but most of them will not come close to the speeds VDSL2 could offer. 
  • KPN has offered no innovation in it's double play and triple play offer. Everything is basic and there are no extras, nothing unique. KPN's offer is below par. (74 euro per month for 20mbit/s, TV and local calling) Compare this to UPC, (74 euro for 60 mbit/s down 6 up, TV and europe wide calling --> cheaper options available too) 
Telecompaper published this quarters broadband numbers (ending September 30) and here are the results, there is a more extensive report, that you can purchase from them:
  • There are 5.996.000 broadband users in The Netherlands, this is up 38.300 from previous quarter
  • Cable has scooped up almost all those new subs. 
    • Ziggo took 18000 subs
    • UPC took 14500 subs
  • Fiber grew with 17,000 subs or 12% to 160,000 subscribers, most of them seem to come from DSL. 
  • DSL lost 12.700 subscribers or 0.4% of the market to 3.542 million
    • Tele2 did increase its subs with 15,000 net adds to 390,500 DSL subs
    • KPN subsidiary Het Net lost 11,000 subs
Even though I don't have the full report yet, this does suggest that KPN lost at least 27,000 subscribers and that almost all new subscribers to broadband either take cable or fibre.

What is KPN to do? An agressive lowering of prices doesn't seem to have much impact on switchers according to Ed Achterberg of Telecompaper. It's budget offer Telfort wasn't too succesful with that strategy Introducing a type service innovation isn't part of KPN's DNA and will take at least two years to materialize, but could help it stem the bleeding. Short term, KPN could do a couple of things, that would raise it's profile in the market.
  • Open the customers wifi access points for other customers. 2.x million hotspots potentially. Dutch cable companies never integrated wifi with their cable modems, so they can't follow KPN there. Nice thing is it requires almost zero opex and capex to realize and doesn't cannibalize other efforts. 
  • Integrate it's DSL offer with it's mobile internet offer. Cheap or free access to 3G on the go is an offer the cable companies can't counter. It may cannibalize some of the 3G offers currently on the market. 
  • Include international calling in it's telephony offer. UPC is already offering this. Ziggo isn't yet. KPN could leverage it's position in iBasis to offer better deals. This does lead to some cannibalisation.
  • Provide free online backup. KPN already has an online backup service. It's €4.95 and the first 6 months free... It wouldn't be extremely hard to copy by other's but it's one of the very few services KPN could offer straight away

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Posted more than a hundred times

Well, without even knowing it, I recently passed the 100 posts mark on this blog alone. I started March 2008. On my previous blog Lunaticthought I reached +/- 60. Here are some statistics I gathered from Google Analytics (why oh why doesn't analytics integrate with Feedburner) I want to give a great thanks to all my readers and I hope I can do another 100. These are the most popular pages

Unique Pageviews
Homepage /
UPC Fiber Power Triumphant over KPN Fiber
The Telecom Cool Wall
Etisalat and SS8 are hacking your Blackberry
Reggefiber to my Home
KPN and Reggefiber offer fiber for 12 euro
OECD Broadband stats infographic using Google graphs
PON vs P2P fiber topologies
Installation of FTTH in my home
Breaking news KPN and Reggefiber 7 billion investment in FTTH

These are the top referrers. Thanks to Sergej, Larry, Benoit, Tim, Stefano and James for their frequent links to me...


The most popular browser is
Internet Explorer

The Netherlands is the country with the most visits, like I would have expected, but India is an interesting one at the 9th place.

Country/Territory Visits
Netherlands 4311
United States 2547
United Kingdom 1686
Germany 677
Spain 660
Italy 559
France 491
Canada 377
India 297
Belgium 271

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Maak breedbandmarkt innovatiever

In Dutch an opinion piece I wrote was published in "Het Financieele Dagblad". It is based on my Ecomm presentation, where I explain's business model and philosophy. The point in the article is that Dutch broadband providers haven't innovated in the last 10 years and need to look at France to see how having only 1 product can lead to simplicity and alot of innovation. (Google Translate)

Maak breedbandmarkt innovatiever

De consument heeft genoeg van al die tientallen combinaties op het thema internet, tv en telefoon

Rudolf van der Berg

De triple play-strategie is aan een nieuwe impuls toe. Nederlandse aanbieders blijven steken in een verouderd model dat weinig zicht op vooruitgang biedt. De Franse markt toont dat het anders en goedkoper kan. Daar krijgt de klant een Mercedes voor de prijs van een Golf. Volgende week maandag 30 november is het tien jaar geleden dat KPN ADSL aankondigde in Nederland. Kabelaanbieders leverden al sinds 1995  internet zonder telefoontikken. Snel internet werd zo voor iedereen bereikbaar.
Qua internetpenetratie staat Nederland in de wereldtop. Maar het is verbazingwekkend te constateren dat in de afgelopen tien tot vijftien jaar de klant eigenlijk niets nieuws gekregen heeft. Iedere aanbieder komt met hetzelfde: internet, telefoon en televisie voor €20 tot €70. UPC heeft er 80 combinaties voor. Concurrentie tussen de twee infrastructuren leverde vooral meer bandbreedte en lagere prijzen op. Maar van echte innovatie is geen sprake.

Daar zijn twee oorzaken voor. Ten eerste ligt de nadruk op de verkeerde innovatie. Vol afgunst kijkt iedereen naar de marges van Google, Apple en Skype. Maar ondertussen vergeten ze dat die ene andere marktgigant Microsoft $4 mrd verloor op haar online diensten en de wereldwijde infrastructuur die daarvoor benodigd is.

Het succes van Google kopiëren zal niemand lukken. Een tweede fout is dat ze hun eigen bedrijfsvoering te complex maken door honderden combinaties van internet, telefonie en televisie aan te bieden. Vernieuwing is alleen al onbetaalbaar omdat het wijzigen van de systemen voor factureren en het onderhouden van klantenrelaties te complex is geworden.

Dat het ook anders kan bewijst de Franse breedbandmarkt. Deze is veel innovatiever. Alle aanbieders proberen er iedere paar maanden met iets nieuws te komen. Geen wereldschokkende diensten als Youtube,
maar wel innovaties waar de klant blij van wordt.

De aanstichter hiervoor is de nummer twee in de Franse markt: . Dit bedrijf reduceerde alle complexiteit tot maar één aanbod en dat kost €30. De klant krijgt standaard de hoogste internetsnelheid, gratis bellen naar 100 landen en een uitgebreid pakket hd-tv.

De concurrentie vindt plaats op de gratis opties, zoals back-up, beveiligde toegang tot de wifi-verbinding van de 3 miljoen andere klanten van Free.Fr, spelletjes op de tv en zelfs voor iedere klant een eigen live tv-kanaal om wat dan ook uit te zenden. Concurrent SFR biedt vergelijkbare diensten en kwam met een gratis jukebox van 250.000 muzieknummers.

Vanuit het oogpunt van marketing kun je zeggen dat men in Frankrijk de T-Ford herontdekt heeft: Hij komt in alle kleuren als ie maar zwart is. Maar je zou ook kunnen zeggen dat ze je in Frankrijk een Mercedes met alle opties leveren voor de prijs van een Volkswagen Golf. Als de klant dan niet de stoelverwarming wil gebruiken, dan is dat zijn keuze, maar het zit er wel op en het kost niets meer.

Deze manier van concurrentie heeft als bijkomend voordeel dat de interne organisatie kan worden vereenvoudigd en gestroomlijnd. Zowel de IT-als de Sales-en Marketingafdelingen hoeven veel minder
complexiteit te managen. De gerealiseerde besparingen vinden hun weg terug in diensteninnovatie en ook in aandeelhouderswaarde. Wie is de eerste in Nederland die durft?

Rudolf van der Berg is Management Consultant van Logica Management Consulting.

Nederland staat met zijn internetpenetratie in de wereldtop, maar de klant heeft verder niets nieuws gekregen

In Frankrijk vindt concurrentie plaats op gratis opties zoals back-up en beveiligde toegang tot wifi

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Pissing off the Peering Guru's.

This is one of the most hilarious threads on Gigaom for a long while. Richard Bennett (a guy who writes anything you pay him for) tried to bring paid peering into the net neutrality debate. It seems everybody is weighing in: Vijay Gill (Google), Patrick Gilmore (Akamai), Richard Steenbergen (nLayer) etc.

Andrew Odlyzko should also have a look as his MINTS institute is given a snide remark as well.

All of it seems to have been the result of Bill Norton writing as Dr. Peering

I respected Bill alot, but this piece is just off the mark. There seems no basis for it whatsoever.

and of course the obligatory link to my Peering and Transit introduction.

Update: CircleID also weighs in with: Dr. Peering commits malpractice on Net Neutrality.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Future of VoIP interconnection (or buy an ENUM-based number portability system now)

Last week I attended the ITU GSR09 in Lebanon as you might have guessed from previous posts. I presented a discussion paper there on the future of VoIP interconnection. I didn't like my paper too much as I thought I could have written down the point a lot more poignantly and used less deductive reasoning, however other people disagree. The presentation is now embedded below and the paper is available here.

The main point I think you should take away is that interconnection isn't that hard. It is made difficult by lawyers and weird business models, but it is quite simple. The second point is that regulators should have a look at ENUM for a national number database, with number portability attached to it. They shouldn't care about Public ENUM that much as it mixes technology and policy in standard. The policy who can change and add what in the national number database is the domain of the national regulators and not of the IETF or the ITU. BTW it turns out Bahrain is going to build a national number portability solution based on ENUM.

(And yes, Logica makes number portability systems, but that wasn't the reason why I came to my conclusion) 

A quick write up of the Dutch meeting on Net Neutrality

Two weeks ago the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs organized a meeting on Net Neutrality. It was the third one already all presentations are now online. The first one was a more closed affair with economic thinktank Encore in 2006 (and a presentaton by moi)  and a more open meeting in 2007 similar to the one of Thursday. This time the occasion was the publication of a report by Dialogic on the topic. It's a very good report on net neutrality and worth the read. (It is in Dutch though)

The speakers at the meeting were:

  • Frank Heemskerk, deputy minister of Economic Affairs, (speech in English)
  • Taylor Reynolds, OECD
  • Rudi Bekkers, Dialogic, lead researcher for the report;
  • Michel van Eeten, professor TUDelft and Next Generation Infrastructures,
  • Alex Blowers, Ofcom, UK
  • Frode Sorensen, NPT, Norway 
  • Martijn van Dam, Member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party 
The speakers all had their interesting bits. Heemskerk was very polically vague about the topic, but not vague enough to not make sure everybody knew he wouldn't allow blatant violations of netneutrality, but where the line is is difficult. Rudi Bekkers gave a good overview of how it is very difficult to distinguish from an act that may harm netneutrality to derive the intent. Michel van Eeten was interesting as it showed how net neutrality was just a vague term that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Martijn van Dam was excellent as a politician. He had a great opinion how everything should be open and freedom of speech etc. which is bound to be a press pleaser, but doesn't give you anything else. He also was of the opinion that the iPhone should be open and that companies should be barred from meddling with users rights (at which point Michel van Eeten pointed out that Van Dam is using an iPhone, hypocritical fool). Tad Reynolds showed how the debate was as much about competition as anything else. Frode Sorensen demonstrated the Norwegians ability to talk themselves out of any problem, just like the Dutch Poldermodel

I twittered the entire meeting, thanks to Swisscom who left a port open for free tweeting on their otherwise paid for wifi network.Unfortunately it seems that all is now lost as I didn't save them from Twitter.

Friday, 13 November 2009

In love with the Lebanese people (at least with the TRA)

Sitting at Istanbul Airport, I have to get online to put this in my blog. I'm in love with the Lebanese. What a fantastic people. I can't say anything else than that the Lebanese are now among my favorite people in the world. I don't know enough about the country, the culture, music etc to declare my love, but the people they are amazing.

Truely you will be hard pressed to find people so open and welcoming to weird foreigeners who fly in for 4 days to give a 15 minute speech. We were welcomed by the staff of the Lebanese TRA like we were new friends. The staff of the Lebanese TRA are an extraordinary mix of people. Imagine a regulator with 65% women, most under 35 (30 I would even think and gorgeous). And they are eager, they are knowledgeable, open, they challenge you, but can think for themselves as well. And they are diverse as well. Everything is included from western educated to local educated and even daughters of the Hezbollah clan (who know how to party)

Yes, the Lebanese know how to party too. This night we (ITU staff and this lonely Dutchman) were taken to the Music Hall club by the TRA staff. Here we were treated by live performances of traditional Arabic and modern western music. Amy Winehouse really has a problem if anyone ever discovers Lebanon. It was a full blown party. The whole Music Hall was popping. The booze was (too) richly flowing. I had a blast.

Kind words also should go to the heads of the TRA. Though I didn't see them partying, they do rock. Haven't ever seen such knowledgeable management of telecoms regulators. People who really understand technology, business and regulation. I am almost afraid they are too ambitious for their political situation. I hope it all turns out for the best.

(My love is even extended to such people as a taxi driver who refuses a tip, because we agreed on a fixed price, though there are many stereo typical taxi drivers as well) 

I am still proud to be Dutch, but I like the Lebanese alot. I can only say to the Lebanese: Shukran.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


Moderator: Mr. P. Masambu, Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda

GSR Discussion Paper on The Future of VoIP Interconnection, [presentation]
Mr. Rudolf Van der Berg, Management Consultant, Logica Management Consulting
Interactive panel discussion:
  • VoIP worldwide and regulatory approaches: an update
  • Evolution of VoIP interconnection
  • What can regulators do to prevent operators from blocking access to VoIP services?
  • Mr. W. Dorji, Head, Telecommunications, Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), Bhutan
  • Mr. P. Eid, Board Member and Head of Market and Competition Unit, TRA, Lebanon
  • Dr. M. Jankovic, Executive Director, Republic Telecommunication Agency (RATEL), Serbia
Bhutan: We have moved to a converged regulation. We are now responsible for telecoms and content, even print. We have rules that say technological neutrality. Being a mountainous country we didn’t want to exclude any technology. It is about whether it works. VoIP is therefore allowed. For VoIP we did have the discussion on the numbering plan. We went for a non-geographic numbering plan, but we are still consulting. We don’t have a big VoIP operator yet. We are having international VoIP service by the two networks our country has.
Lebanon: Despite the similarity for VOIP to PSTN there are also differences. A customer using the PSTN doesn’t have a backup network. It only works with complicated technology. A VoIP user can use any network that is available. With numbering the PSTN only uses the rigid E.164 numbering plan. VoIP can be more flexible and use all kinds of identifiers. VoIP can offer more codecs with better quality.
Interconnection differs a lot. This is mostly because of the high termination rates. VoIP can rely onder internet exchanges and peering. The incumbent will miss income, but can make that up in different areas. The regulator will have to remove all the barriers and make sure that it all works with simple market entry. The TRA will allow licenses for managed VoIP services. For now we tolerate VoIP, it’s not legal, but we will allow it. It will only be regulated for Lawful Intercept and emergency calls.
Serbia; We have a very competitive market, with lots of ISP’s and Cable companies (around 100). VoIP operators may not circumvent international VoIP termination and will need a transit provider on the public network (PSTN). VoIP will be one of the services on the broadband network. VoIP is not an interesting service anymore, its just data.
Middle East: We believe the customer comes first. So the incumbent may not like this, but it is our position. We believe that we should be technological neutral. VoIP providers do need a license. We don’t have licenses for skype. We have confiscated devices that came with a subscription in high street shops. Even though we allowed skype international revenues grew for the incumbent, so there was no reason to spread fear.
Middle East: The lack of definition for VoIP is a real problem. There are now different approaches for VoIP, like Google Voice and it causes all kinds of regulatory problems how do we deal with it.
Australasia: Congratulations to mrs. Biggs. How are we going to collect data in the future. It will become increasingly hard to tell what VoIP is. So how are we getting the stats. Your challenge was provide data and my answer is what the
Interconnection with VoIP for emergency services. How do you think we can work with location services.
West Africa: If we do not regulate VoIP how do we know it meets certain standards.
Answer Lebanon: Google Voice if we see it as a service that is dependent upon a true broadband connection. The user will be aware that the quality isn’t always perfect.
Answer mrs. Biggs: it’s difficult to collect the stats. Even the commercial organisations have this problem.
Question West Africa: I find it a problem that Africa doesn’t have any statistics. Because you don’t have the stats, you can’t make proper comments. Mrs. Biggs said there were only 20 countries were using VoIP. Is this the incumbents. Or is this done by bypassing the traditional operators. Do these operators have licenses then? We have a problem that the rest of the world isn’t paying for our international connectivity. This is unfair.
Answer we have analyzed the situation in all. I do recognize the problem. We have stats on Africa and we will work with any nations.
Question West Africa: mr. Van der Berg is ENUM necessary for number portability.
Answer: No its not.
Answer Rudolf to West Africa: It is your country who wants to be connected to the internet. It are your people who download stuff from the internet. Not the world dumping it on you. The costs therefore should be born by you.
Serbia: Customers need to know what they get.
Bhutan: ISP’s were using Calling Cards to bypass the incumbent. We now need to deal with that. You cannot ride on someone’s network without investing.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Moderator: Dr. M. Treschow, Director General, National Post and Telecom Agency, Sweden
GSR Discussion Paper on Mobile termination: to regulate or not? [presentation]
Dr. Vaiva Lazauskaite, Economic Analyst, ITU/RME
Interactive panel discussion:
  • Should mobile termination rates be regulated or left to the market? What regulatory approach to choose?
  • Symmetric regulation to promote investment and competition: can the EC approach be replicated in other parts of the world?
  • How are convergence, NGNs and the transition to all-IP networks changing the situation?
  • Mr. A. Alfehaid, Deputy Governor, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), Saudi Arabia
  • Mr. A. Haire, Deputy Director General (Telecoms & Post), InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA)
  • Mr. J. Salvat, CEO, Servei de Telecomunicaciones d’Andorra (STA)
Mod: is there a need for regulation of MTR’s. I think we need to look at the consumer to answer this question.

Singapore: I view as regulation any decision made by the regulation. This also is not making a decision. It is necessary to understand when you are not going to make a decision. We do regulate parties with Significant Market Power. We do make decisions on someone who has control over a bottleneck. Communication is about three things: It is about getting on the network, going across and getting off the network (to another network). In Singapore we have noticed that when getting off the network onto a mobile network, we know that the Mobile companies have an incentive to raise prices. And the nice thing is they can tax someone who isn’t their customer. We have set our termination rate at zero therefore. At the retail layer we have a called party pays layer. At the wholesale layer we have a mobile network party pays. We did get a problem with arbitrage so we did get involved here (No explanation on what the problem was and how they did it)
Saudi Arabia: I would like to see more comparisons between nations. We need to know whether we should regulate or not. The question is when we can get rid of MTR. It is only when we have a mature market, with a fair spread of customers and traffic between networks.

Andorra: In our region the market is very mature. We should look at how many users there are and how they are using it. We  have a mature market. We should get rid of regulation of MTR;s and leave it to the market. If we regulate MTR’s we might see operators loosing interest in the pre-paid market.

Singapore: I belief that MTR rates are part of a big Mosaic. What we have done is create a highly competitive market. It is ruthlessly competitive. Maybe HongKong is more competitive. It is not just MTR’s. We have also prevented the use of SIM-Locks. These came on the market with the iPhone. We think that the services and handset market should be separate. We have repeatedly said no. Before the iPhone came on the market we warned the operators we wouldn’t allow SIM-locks. We now have an extremely vibrant market. When the third marketplayer came in the market. This guy was certifiably mad. He started to give away free incoming calls. His marketshare rose to 15%. Than the other two did the same and this madman again did something. He started with free international calls to seven nations.

We now have 6 pure VoIP play. The mobile players didn’t want to interconnect with them. They didn’t even answer a phonecall. In the end we put them in a room and got them discussion going. By 2007 we had worked out something.

Mod: What do you think of next generation networks

Andorra: We only have one operator. In our case we are unsure about NGN. We don’t have a peering point in Andorra. We assume that the costs will be the same because we will pay more on transit.

Saudi Arabia: In my opinion we are all going to review the existing systems and regulations. We think the existing system can’t be maintained.

Singapore: We are almost finished with our national broadband network. We are finished with all the interconnection stuff. It is all an open interconnection framework. We have based open access. We now have to mesh that with the traditional models. We are bringing three models into one, the new NGN, the old internet and the mobile network.

Gentleman from Africa: We didn’t have MTR’s between mobile operators and we did have fixed mobile termination termination at 0.30 US dollar. We are now regulating them and they fell 0.15 US dollar. Most mobile operators are not necessary even though  they are 0.09 USD now.

Lebanon: in Lebanon we have a kind of Bill and Keep regime between fixed and mobile. (than he quotes some of my paper and its statements, which you can find online. Much thanks for that!)

Mod: in the EC we are currently discussing this. We are discussing how we are going to get to Bill and Keep.
Question asked on termination rate to Wimax. Nobody comes up with a good answer it seems.

African nation asked what should be done when operators don’t want to negotiate a termining rate.
Singapore answers that they will revoke the license of the party not willing to interconnect.
African Nation answers that the impact will be much larger than if they let it continue. Singapore answers that they give fair warning. This is also a signal to the customers to leave the  network or other ways they are in trouble. This is enough to push telco’s in the right direction.

Saudi: We give parties 60 days to agree and if they don’t we set the prices for them.

North African nation. We had two mobile networks. When the third one came into the market we noticed that the two started an interconnection regime that favors big parties from small ones. Than we noticed that onnet charges were lower than off-net charges. Than we put the termination charge at 65% of the on-net charge.

Himalayan nation: To Singapore, is it fair to have a termination rate at zero. Isn’t it harsh to those parties. Because to terminate a call some resources are used.  I would like your opinion.
Moderator: Thanks audience and forgets to ask Singapore to answer the question. 
Later Singapore answered that the telco's do get their money, but from their own customers. Not from someone elses customers



Moderator: Mr. A. Horne, General Director, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Bahrain
GSR Discussion Paper on Coexistence of traditional and IP interconnection, [presentation]
Ms. Natalija Gelvanovska, Head, Network and Access Division, Communications Regulatory Authority, Lithuania
Interactive panel discussion:
  • Coexistence of both worlds: how can traditional strongly regulated interconnection coexist with self-regulated IP interconnection?
  • Data transport/interconnection: who pays for what?
  • Net neutrality: what does it mean? Is it a developed country issue? How will it affect developing countries?
  • Mr. C. Lizcano Ortiz, Executive Director, Comisión de Regulación de Comunicaciones (CRC), Colombia
  • Mr. Hirohisa Furuichi, Director, Tariff Division, Telecommunication Business Department, Telecommunication Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC), Japan
  • Mr. S. A. M’Poue, Secretary General, Agence des Télécommunications de Côte d'Ivoire (ATCI), Côte d’Ivoire
  • Mr. E. Ndukwe, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria
In the internet world they use a completely different model. In the PSTN they now move to a different network. The IP-world has now come to telephony. The dilemma is what the new model will be.
Colombia:  We got a regulatory framework that looks in a converged way at markets. Colombia focuses on QoS, Content, Effectiveness and Efficiency, renumeration for the networks. The role of the regulator is critical.  
Ivory Coast: Our laws don’t look at IP. Nationally we can’t do IP interconnection. Internationally we can. We all know what regulation is for. But IP interconnection is not an issue yet in our country
Japan: We use interconnection mosty for traditional networks. We do unbundling in Japan. We have changed our interconnection rules to fit with the new networks like mobile and broadband. We think that it has had a good effect. NTT is now rolling out an ALL-IP FTTH network. For us the problem is how to separate the pricing for different services. We need a different accounting system for NGN Services. It was very difficult to calculate this well. It was also difficult to convince NTT to open up more Points of Interconnection.
Mediteranean country: we are struggling with the same problems as Japan. We are going to hybrid networks with IP in the core and all other technologies go to the edge. We are very interested to see how QoS is introduced and how it is costed.
Answer Japan: In Japan we have discussed Bill and Keep we have discovered it is too early to move to Bill and Keep. One of the problems is to end up with a transparent system. Secondly we see that it will have great impact on the User Tariff. It would allow the dominant carrier to do something …. (don’t know what)
Middle East country: The main problem with IP interconnection is Quality of Service. In order to solve this we need to monitor QoS
Japan: we have monitored the network congestion. And we look at traffic imbalance. We have promoted Internet Exchange Points. We further try to do practical experiments with QoS.
Moderator: with deep packet inspection we can monitor the Quality of Service statistics. It is more than solveable.
Question: how to deal with a transition phase.
Answer: it is an issue… needs to be solved when time is right. It is necessary to open up forums and to discuss openly.
Moderator: In Bahrain we have a full-IP network. The incumbent hasn’t put forward an Wholesale IP interconnect. We think this is because it is more expensive and we won’t accept it.
Question: I have comment. In the internet networks it wasn’t about termination. It was about peering. From the basic model of the internet it was hard to do regulation and we don’t regulation we think. We don’t need to regulate the interent. We need to move to peering and transit.
Answer: In Lithuania the incumbent doesn’t want to peer anymore. But how do I deal with that. I found that I have no real tools for that.
European nation: how do you do the costing in NGN?
Japan: The basic approach to calculate network costs is similar. We did a basic calculation and then modified it by a QoS factor.
Mod: It would be good to have a forum on this topic.
Middle East: The ITU is already dealing with questions regarding interconnection and the Hybrid networks. I do think the ITU can deal with this very well and we don’t need an extra forum on this subject.
Colombia: complements the ITU on its work on interconnection already.
Middle East: I would like to ask about the question on interconnection on symmetrical and asymmetrical network. The size of the networks is very important. Large operators and smallers have different traffic load.
Japan: we implement both symmetrical and asymmetrical interconnection. We do pay attention to net neutrality as well as not to have anyone block content of others. So there are rules for packet shaping.
Question: How does Japan deal with the numbering in NGN network
Mod: We’re all looking at how to deal with this problem in the future. The thing was that incumbents weren’t present in the IP world. In Bahrain we’re now looking at the costing of IP-services. Fundamentally there shouldn’t be a difference between the IP world and the old-world. But we should move to IP fast as the hybrid model is causing more problems than solving them.

Presentations on Internet Exchanges and the Middle East

In preparation for this week's ITU Global Symposium for Regulators, Beirut I looked at the presentations of MENOG5 which was held in Lebanon 2 weeks ago.There are some excellent presentations there on how internet exchanges were established, what their impact was etc. It ranges from Beirut, Amsterdam, Enschede to Nepal. Also there is a presentation by the head of the Lebanese Regulator,  Kamal Shedadi on IPv6. One important item I hadn't ever seen before was the effects IPv6 may have to facilitate lawful interception. Even though I worked on LI for 3 years in The Netherlands, I had never really considered it in this way, but I do think it's a fair assessment.

Also have a look at the discussion papers and the presentations which will be given at the ITU GSR (one of them is mine) .