Since 1986, the Internet has developed into a global network enabling users worldwide to connect to each other to exchange information and data. The initial zero settlement peering arrangements, however, have now largely been replaced by commercial transit arrangements, as backbone providers seek to recoup their network infrastructure investments and generate commercial profits. This is a key cause of the issues and debates that have emerged between developed and developing countries about international Internet interconnection services (IIS). This study focuses on current interconnection settlement arrangement models that disfavor ISPs and end-users in the Asia-Pacific region. After reviewing the Internet market and digital divide in the region, the chapter summarizes the main current IIS issues between the Asia- Pacific and Western regions into three categories of concern: inequity, anticompetitive practices and the threat of the “balkanization” of the Internet. Practical recommendations to resolve these issues and improve the Asia-Pacific IIS market are discussed from regional and international perspectives.
Iis And Interconnection Agreements
The Internet is a network of computer networks operated by various ISPs using a universal protocol known as TCP/IP. Traffic exchange occurs both between ISPs located in different service geographic regions, and between those at different tiers of the internet connection hierarchy. Arrangements for physical interconnections between these ISPs may be distinguished into two broad categories: peering arrangements – which involves the cost-free transfer of data - and transit arrangements, where ISP s or IBP’s charge for such transfers. Thus internet connectivity is ensured via one or more of these peering and/or transit arrangements.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Internet Balkanization: The deconstruction of universal internet connectivity. It can occur when a large number of small and medium-size ISPs are unable to connect to all parts of the internet
IIS (Internet Interconnection Service): A connection service between various Internet Service Providers including private and public service providers
Peering Agreement: An economic and technical agreement entered between two ISPs, on the exchange of routing information regarding traffic between internet networks.
Transiting: Routing and transmitting of traffic by a transit service provider toward agreed-upon third parties.
Transit Agreement: A technical and commercial agreements that entered into between ISPs to provide transit services.
Digital Divide: the gap between those people (or region, countries) with effective access to digital and information technology, and those (or region, countries) without access to it. It includes the imbalances in physical access to technology, as well as the imbalances in resources and skills needed to effectively participate.