Telecom launches initiative to keep NZ internet traffic local

Don't mention the 'P' word though

It may not want to peer as such with local providers, but local interconnect is fine according to Telecom, whose Wholesale division yesterday presented a backbone network rejig to the Internet Service Providers Association of New Zealand (ISPANZ).

Telecom Wholesale spokeswoman Melanie Marshall describes the proposal as "keeping local traffic local" through the use of what she terms local interconnect. This would entail hooking up with providers at 29 regional points of interconnection, Marshall says, where traffic between network is exchanged for free.

Currently, some New Zealand providers do this at peering exchanges in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Dunedin. However, the two major telcos, Telecom and in particular TelstraClear, which de-peered from the New Zealand internet three years ago, have until now favoured commercial agreements where other providers pay them to send traffic into their networks.

The situation has led to New Zealand-bound traffic "tromboning" to Australia and the United States, as the telcos have no presence at the peering exchanges. This is where content providers such as RadioNZ prefer traffic to be picked up as its cheaper and faster.

While emphasing that it's still early days for the proposal and details need to be worked out, Marshall says providers would pay for circuits into Telecom's network, and the incumbent would reciprocate for connections towards providers.

Telecom will present its local interconnect proposal to the Ministry of Economic Development today (Thursday March 29), says Marshall.

ISPANZ president and Ihug regulatory affairs general manager David Diprose says there is a need to review the interconnect location points, but expressed surprise that Telecom is proposing 29 regional such points as this was not mentioned at the briefing according to him.

Diprose says there are currently 24 interconnect points around New Zealand for voice and dial-up, with a further 34 for Telecom's wholesale DSL broadband. ISPANZ would like to see a two-phase proposal starting in the main centres, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, to rationalise the number of interconnect points.

There is also concern within ISPANZ as to the connection technology for the circuits to the interconnect points Diprose adds. There's no point in planning around the legacy ATM network, according to Diprose, as this is about to be replaced.

Overall, ISPANZ views Telecom's proposal as a positive move, Diprose says, and one that should, if implemented correctly, improve performance for all internet users in New Zealand.

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Tags telecom peering internet exchange ISPs ISPANZ

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