Telstra joins Asia-Pacific data-transfer consortium

Telstra has joined a group fighting for fairer US carrier charges. The Asia-Pacific Internet Community has been formed in an attempt to resolve a charging imbalance: while Asia-Pacific carriers are charged by their US counterparts for each data call to the US, they do not charge for receiving them.

Telstra has joined an Asia-Pacific consortium to fight for fairer US carrier charges.

The Asia-Pacific Internet Community has been formed in an attempt to resolve a charging imbalance: while Asia-Pacific carriers are charged by their US counterparts for each data call to the US, they do not charge for receiving them. This is a situation born out of historical telephony arrangements, says Telstra spokesman, Steve Wright.

There is considerably more traffic from Asia-Pacific to the US than the other way round, for both voice and data, he says.

A “settlement regime” has long been used to deal with voice calls — carriers negotiate how much is going each way and Asia-Pacific carriers only pay for the excess from their direction. In data, however, no such agreement has been reached, “and so we pay for all the calls at the moment”, says Wright. Since diplomatic attempts to resolve the problem have failed, the company is hoping to “have more leverage as a group”.

APIC is setting up a mirror site, a joint Internet router at Palo Alto Internet Exchange (PAIX) in California, says Telstra global wholesale managing director John Hibbard. This will provide “peering” opportunities for APIC and US carriers — the ability to clearly compare and therefore fairly charge for, traffic in and out of the US.

APIC, says Wright, is trying to show it is in America’s best interests to resolve the problem. “With so much traffic going to the States, American [electronic] commerce sites are obviously gaining business from the Asia-Pacific region. But if the carriers here have to keep paying so much, it’ll affect our ability to upgrade our infrastructure and hence the amount of business going to the States … in the longer term, we’re trying to argue, it’ll be detrimental to them.”

The APIC members — Dacom (Korea), KDD (Japan), Cable and Wireless HKT (Hong Kong), Singapore Telecom and Telstra — account for about 30% of the total Asia-Pacific Internet market and have more than 1.3Gbit/s of Internet connectivity with the US, says Hibbard.

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