TelstraClear has no plans to join peering trial

New peering plan carries a lot of overhead, telco claims

TelstraClear will not be drawn back into peering quickly, saying it will wait and see how Telecom’s trials of a new peering service go.

Raymond O’Brien, TelstraClear’s head of wholesale, says the arguments made for a resumption of local peering revolve around issues of improved network latency and economic efficiency. However, he says, to go down that road again would require TelstraClear and other ISPs to connect to every local peering exchange.

An ISP in Christchurch, for instance, would have to connect to an exchange in Auckland, he says.

He says this would create a lot of overhead, more charges, and difficulties such as defining where a person is when they connect to an ISP.

“There may be a place for this and we encourage customers and competitors to look at it,” O’Brien says. “We have a different type of product.”

Telecom’s wholesale arm has set a date for its proposed peering service (Computerworld, May 19) and says it will be run on a “bill and keep” basis, or essentially free of charge.

ISPs, content providers and “anyone who wants to exchange data” will be allowed to link to a local peering centre, spokesman Steve Pettigrew told Computerworld.

“The emphasis is on exchange,” he said — the flow of data across the link between Telecom and other networks is expected to be approximately equal in each direction. The service will provide “internet-type” connection “in other words, on a best-efforts basis”, he says.

A trial, with a limited number of ISPs and content providers, was due to start in late May over three centres and lead to a final offering around August, according to Pettigrew.

Telecom aims to set up 29 peering points on its national network and peering will be gradually extended to more of them on the basis of demand, Pettigrew says.

The main snag, according to Jamie Baddeley of the ISP Association of NZ (ISPANZ), is that participants will have to pay the cost of getting from their nodes to the chosen location of the Telecom nodes.

However, if the ISP is already purchasing a wholesale service from Telecom, Pettigrew says, a suitable link with spare capacity for peering may already be in place.

O’Brien says TelstraClear will not be following blindly and doesn’t see a massive benefit in current local peering plans.

He says most of the pressure for local peering is not from network operators, but from companies that provide hosting. Those arguing for it are also looking for a “low-cost or no-cost option”.

He adds that peering should take place “between peers”.

O’Brien says in the past, before it depeered in 2004, TelstraClear was involved in a lot of peering that was free to other ISPs. As the company got bigger and its network extended it was involved in delivering traffic “all around the country” for free on behalf of the companies it was peering with.

O’Brien says TelstraClear could have set up a system similar to the one Telecom is trialling at the moment, but it will have a high management overhead.

Instead, TelstraClear will continue to provide bandwidth charged monthly on capacity rather than usage. He says that system has the benefit of simplicity and delivers a “small” return to TelstraClear for the use of its infrastructure.

He says people connecting can select their own service levels.

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Tags peeringNetworking & Telecomms IDtelecomTelstraClear

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