Orcon to peer with Telecom, TelstraClear stays out

Peering is breaking out, but not all over

Orcon has followed FX Networks in deciding to exchange traffic with Telecom through some of the 29 peering points set up on the latter’s network nationwide.

CEO Scott Bartlett confirmed the move last week after Telecom Wholesale representative Gerald Linstrom told Computerworld that two or three ISPs were set to follow FX Networks into a peering arrangement.

Bartlett, however, declines for the present to go into detail on the extent of Orcon’s arrangement, or a date for launch, saying an official announcement will be made shortly. FX will peer at 19 of the 29 points.

Local peering provides more efficient routing of traffic, allowing it to be exchanged on a local or regional basis rather than transported back and forth to be exchanged in Auckland or even sometimes overseas.

Peering used to take place freely through specially built exchanges in Auckland and Wellington, but in 2004 first TelstraClear and then Telecom withdrew their participation in the peering agreement.

Telecom has now set up peering in such as way as to offer approximately equal regional catchment areas on its own and another party’s network, so as to avoid giving more than it takes in network access rights to a smaller ISP.

In contrast to FX and Orcon, TelstraClear appears intent on sticking to its own independent path.

Ray O’Brien, the company’s head of alternative networks and wholesale, says in an emailed statement that TelstraClear’s current internet service works well for its domestic customers.

Rebutting the frequent characterisation of peering as “free” exchange, O’Brien says both TelstraClear and Telecom’s services are commercial offerings and neither is free.

“TelstraClear’s service involves a charge for bandwidth which includes traffic exchange. Telecom’s approach is to peer for exchange of traffic in the local area only and then to charge for backhaul,” he says.

“While quite different to the Telecom structure, our service is very competitive and high quality, working well for our customers including some very large New Zealand businesses,” he says.

Vodafone is also staying out of Telecom’s peering arrangement for the present. “No, we’re not peering with Telecom nor have any plans at the moment, but we wouldn’t rule it out in the future,” says corporate communications head Paul Brislen.

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