MWEB peering cuts ‘a storm in a teacup’ says MTN Business

Nortic

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... Lets just apply Occam's razor
One liner sniping from the side and no meaningful contribution, consider registering Coward #1

Both MTN and MWeb have been paid for the 150mb of traffic.
There is no dispute that MTN hosting clients and Mweb ADSL clients pay for their data. The argument is that you propose MTN clients get 25% of the cost saving and MWEB 75%. No commercial entity is going to give that away and hence, IF the traffic is so far lopsided, MTN is not going to peer for free. End of story.

Why do you insist that money must change hands for something that can be accomplished by shaping the data throughput between two networks?
You are right, nothing technically stops MWEB from shaping MTN's traffic to equal what MWEB is pushing. However this is prohibited in most peering contracts.

I can see clearly that MWeb has a strong and growing number 2 (user base), and have realised that their bargaining strength has changed completely.
Yes, the fact of the matter here is that they should have peered in a proof of concept agreement, evaluated the result and then made a decision. MWEB's approach was to rock the boat in a publicity stunt at the cost of their own user base.
 

johnelis

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For effect! Come on! Support the drive! THERE IS NO NO NO NO REASON THOSE LINKS SHOULD HAVE A PRICE TAG!!!!!!!!!

Use of business hours for "effect" could be abusive, taking stuff down close to the end of the month when people are trying to pay bills, etc. They would have had the effect in any case, it seems like they have used the media quite effectively, did they really need to show up what a technical blunder could do ?

Sorry, I am just passionate about using the subscriber in this was as well if this was the plan. I think this was the typical technical blunder, "It will not interrupt services, the traffic will just start flowing on a different route", OOOps..... Well at least it is working now, other than gaming I have not seen any impact to my service yet ? Anyone else other than higher ping times ???? Maybe they do have enough International capacity.
 

Ant_Brooks

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Well Mweb and MTN have had presence at JINX for a while now without peering. There must a reason.
I think you probably mean "Mweb and MTN have had a presence at JINX for a while now without peering with each other". Both of them exchange traffic with some of the other ISPs connected to JINX (or, as you imply, it would not make sense for them to have links to the exchange).

Note that simply having a link to JINX doesn't automatically mean that you are exchanging traffic with everyone else at that exchange. Once you have installed a link, you still need to negotiate peering agreements with other parties connected to the exchange before traffic starts flowing.
 
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Roman4604

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Yes, the fact of the matter here is that they should have peered in a proof of concept agreement, evaluated the result and then made a decision.
You think MWEB & other ISPs not peered with them havent been pleading for this over the past few YEARS. Faced with such stubborn resistance it is inevitable they would eventually get gatvol.
 

Ant_Brooks

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The point I am not understanding is how a hosting company can simply set up a facility, connect into a peering point for free and start providing services which other ISPs then take to their consumers. This sounds a little too good to be true? There seems to be a business case here is MWeb is going to allow this.
A hosting company with a connection to any exchange will only be visible to the other networks connected to that particular exchange. Anyone in a foreign country or on a local network not connected to that exchange will not be able to access servers hosted by the hosting company.

Which is where transit comes in -- the hosting company needs to obtain transit from an ISP who already has connections to enough Internet exchanges and other IP networks to be able to ensure that the rest of the world can see that hosting company's servers. The hosting company could obtain transit by buying a direct link to an "upstream" ISP or they could even enter into a transit agreement with another ISP connected to the same Internet exchange, in which case their transit provider would carry the hosting company's traffic from the exchange out to the rest of the world. Depending on a number of variables, it might be cheaper for the hosting company to just have a link to an upstream ISP, just have a link to an exchange, or even to have both a link to an upstream ISP and to an exchange.

The really tricky part is deciding on the value of "transit" or "peering". This is no-where near as simple as most people in this thread seem to think.

Does MWeb have a point that they have lots of users on their network and there is value to MTN Business in making sure that those users can get fast access to the corporate customers hosting on the MTN Business network? Of course they do.

Does MTN Business have a point that they have lots of content on their network and there is value to MWeb in making sure that their customers can get fast access to that content? Yes, certainly.

Which is more valuable? The content or the end-user? Neither, really. Taken to a logical extreme, if having end-users on your network was that much more valuable than having content, MWeb would be paying its customer to use their ADSL service so that they could charge other ISPs for access to those customers. Similarly, if having content hosted on your network was that much more valuable than having end-users, MTN Business would be offering free hosting and charging MWeb to provide their end-users access to that content. Of course, everyone knows that ISPs charge both for hosting content on their networks and they charge consumers for access to the Internet. (And really, they have to — it costs ISPs money to provide either type of service.) So clearly, both content and end-users are important. The Internet needs both to exist!

Ultimately, the debate over who should carry the costs for transit or peering is a commercial matter. Every ISP wants the answer to be whatever benefits their customers and their bottom-line the most.

Which leads me to…

Does Telkom have a point that MWeb’s decision to unilaterally cut off transit links is not in the spirit of the Internet community? No, sorry Telkom, but I'm just not seeing that. These issues have very little to do with "the spirit of the Internet community" and a lot to do with the commercial interests of the companies involved. That is true for MTN Business. It is true for MWeb. And it is just as true for Telkom.

And that's a good thing. What we should be celebrating here is that South African telecommunications has finally reached a point where it is competitive enough so that MWeb can say "we're paying too much for local transit to some ISPs, and we can save money by moving that traffic onto our Seacom bandwidth instead, so let's do that". Just two years ago, that would not have be possible. Similarly, the ISPs who have historically provided transit services are now able to say "hmmm, it costs us a lot to provide transit services because we have built our network on top of expensive Telkom circuits, perhaps we could offer more competitive transit rates if we built our own network".

Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.
 

Drunkard #1

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One liner sniping from the side and no meaningful contribution, consider registering Coward #1

It's hard enough just reading you brain farts, never mind responding to them. Conciser getting RPM to change your title to MTN shill.
 

antowan

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Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.

So true. But there is room in business to do "the right thing"... Just because you can make money off of something doesn't mean you have to! Sometimes the result of doing something for "free" can lead to something very enjoyable to customers and business from a satisfaction and new service opportunity point of view.
 

johnelis

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A hosting company with a connection to any exchange will only be visible to the other networks connected to that particular exchange. Anyone in a foreign country or on a local network not connected to that exchange will not be able to access servers hosted by the hosting company.

Which is where transit comes in -- the hosting company needs to obtain transit from an ISP who already has connections to enough Internet exchanges and other IP networks to be able to ensure that the rest of the world can see that hosting company's servers. The hosting company could obtain transit by buying a direct link to an "upstream" ISP or they could even enter into a transit agreement with another ISP connected to the same Internet exchange, in which case their transit provider would carry the hosting company's traffic from the exchange out to the rest of the world. Depending on a number of variables, it might be cheaper for the hosting company to just have a link to an upstream ISP, just have a link to an exchange, or even to have both a link to an upstream ISP and to an exchange.

The really tricky part is deciding on the value of "transit" or "peering". This is no-where near as simple as most people in this thread seem to think.

Does MWeb have a point that they have lots of users on their network and there is value to MTN Business in making sure that those users can get fast access to the corporate customers hosting on the MTN Business network? Of course they do.

Does MTN Business have a point that they have lots of content on their network and there is value to MWeb in making sure that their customers can get fast access to that content? Yes, certainly.

Which is more valuable? The content or the end-user? Neither, really. Taken to a logical extreme, if having end-users on your network was that much more valuable than having content, MWeb would be paying its customer to use their ADSL service so that they could charge other ISPs for access to those customers. Similarly, if having content hosted on your network was that much more valuable than having end-users, MTN Business would be offering free hosting and charging MWeb to provide their end-users access to that content. Of course, everyone knows that ISPs charge both for hosting content on their networks and they charge consumers for access to the Internet. (And really, they have to — it costs ISPs money to provide either type of service.) So clearly, both content and end-users are important. The Internet needs both to exist!

Ultimately, the debate over who should carry the costs for transit or peering is a commercial matter. Every ISP wants the answer to be whatever benefits their customers and their bottom-line the most.

Which leads me to…

Does Telkom have a point that MWeb’s decision to unilaterally cut off transit links is not in the spirit of the Internet community? No, sorry Telkom, but I'm just not seeing that. These issues have very little to do with "the spirit of the Internet community" and a lot to do with the commercial interests of the companies involved. That is true for MTN Business. It is true for MWeb. And it is just as true for Telkom.

And that's a good thing. What we should be celebrating here is that South African telecommunications has finally reached a point where it is competitive enough so that MWeb can say "we're paying too much for local transit to some ISPs, and we can save money by moving that traffic onto our Seacom bandwidth instead, so let's do that". Just two years ago, that would not have be possible. Similarly, the ISPs who have historically provided transit services are now able to say "hmmm, it costs us a lot to provide transit services because we have built our network on top of expensive Telkom circuits, perhaps we could offer more competitive transit rates if we built our own network".

Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.

Thank you, this has been the most sensible post here. It now makes sense to me that the chaps seem to simply be trying to draw a line to decide when to pay or not to pay. There goes my business model :(
 

MickeyD

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<snip>Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.
Thanks, Ant, for the very informative post.
 

johnelis

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Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.

I thought as much, if it was as simple as made out in most of the posts here I do not think there would be such varied views.

So maybe the next question is why do International ISPs charge our ISPs money to peer ? Surely there is mutual benifit, or is South Africa so insignificant to the rest of the world ?
 

Little Mac

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It's a storm in a teacup? At least it's making headlines with consumers and that counts for something. It's obvoiusly making MTN sit up and bark aint it?
 

Roman4604

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the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.
Hi Ant, absolutely true, however I would add there is a lot of historical context to this. My personal perspective on it ...

In the formation years of the SA Internet, 3 ISPs rose to a position of dominance, namely IS, MTN Bus (then UUnet) & Telkom (SAIX). In these early years they found it to be advantageous to exchange traffic between each other freely and formed (whether formally or just by default) what I term the Free Peering Triangle cartel.

Over the years the members did everything in their power to exclude any other ISP from the cartel by forcing them to pay for transit & on-net access instead of any type of settlement free or balance of traffic peering, while maintaining their competitive advantage of being able to exchange traffic freely between themselves.

As mentioned it was inevitable that someone, one day, would do something distruptive in the marketing allowing them to reach a position to challange the cartel. This is exactly what were seeing today.

A kudo must go to IS as the only member to have the vision to see that the old regime that served them so well in past is probably not viable/benefical going forward.
 

Ant_Brooks

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So maybe the next question is why do International ISPs charge our ISPs money to peer ? Surely there is mutual benifit, or is South Africa so insignificant to the rest of the world ?
The first part of that answer is "they don't, not always". A South African ISP with enough negotiating power and a presence at an Internet exchange in another country might very well be able to reach a settlement free peering agreement with an international ISP. Such agreements are reached by commercial negotiations in other countries too, not just in SA.

Second, by "International ISPs charge our ISPs money to peer" I'm guessing that you probably mean "US ISPs charge our ISPs money to peer". If a South African ISP runs a line into the Kenyan Internet exchange, I'm pretty sure that the Kenyan ISPs will not charge the SA ISP for traffic carried over that exchange. But is there enough value to an SA ISP in running a line to the Kenyan exchange? Probably not (yet…); there is a lot more value for an SA ISP in peering with a US network, because of…

Part three of the answer: The US has historically been the centre of the Internet. When a South African ISP reaches a peering/transit agreement with a US ISP, there is a misperception that the SA ISP is only exchanging traffic with that US network. In fact, that US network probably also has existing peering/transit agreements with ISPs in Japan, Norway, Argentina, Russia, Uzbekistan, etc. The SA ISP benefits from all of those existing agreements. So the SA ISP is paying the US ISP money because they are (arguably) getting a lot more value out of the arrangement that the US ISP is.

Peering/transit agreements are always dependent on the commercial value (or sometimes just the perception of value) to the parties reaching those agreements. There is no rigid formula that can be applied to the traffic/customer base/networks/geographic reach which will give a scientific result of "this ISP should be paying that ISP so much money for things to be fair".

And very importantly, these things change over time. Will the US still be the centre of the Internet in twenty or thirty years time? Maybe not. So will US-based ISPs still have as much negotiating power when it comes to peering/transit agreements as they do now? No. Possibly we'll all be paying Chinese ISPs for transit at that stage ;).
 

MickeyD

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A kudo must go to IS as the only member to have the vision to see that the old regime that served them so well in past is probably not viable/benefical going forward.
Not 100 true...
Telkom however did say that it wishes to engage in alternate content distribution mechanisms with mutual benefits to the MWEB and Telkom subscriber bases.

“MWEB has previously been informed accordingly. Our first responsibility is to ensure that we protect the quality and integrity of our paying customers,” Telkom said.
 

Johand

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A hosting company with a connection to any exchange will only be visible to the other networks connected to that particular exchange. Anyone in a foreign count...

+1. There is another factor at play - these big companies enjoyed protected monopoly/duopoly for some time, which has raised the barrier of entry quite significantly. I very much doubt that these companies are really trying to protect revenue on the interconnects, but rather they are trying to protect their status. We have seen Telkom making some very bad long-term business decisions just to maintain the short-term advantage. This move is not just about money - it is about ridding the exec's in Vodacom/MTN/Telkom of their arrogance. I am pretty sure that decent peering is actually in these companies best long-term interest, because it will grow the South African internet market.
 

Little Mac

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Will the US still be the centre of the Internet in twenty or thirty years time? Maybe not. So will US-based ISPs still have as much negotiating power when it comes to peering/transit agreements as they do now? No. Possibly we'll all be paying Chinese ISPs for transit at that stage ;).

That point reminds me of the fact that the internet is not exclusively made up of internet content. Obviously to an english speaker, english content is king, but perhaps one day we will see international language searches with auto translation become more 'mainstream'...
 

FlatspinZA

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You signed up in 2008. Troll = someone who just created an account to make ridiculous statements / taking the piss. If he wants to talk and ask questions to further his knowledge, that is one thing.. But to open the way he did, talking a big load of crap, thats a whole different story. == Troll.

And how did you start? Why not stay on topic and RP posts that you consider not worthy?

Possibly the better way to handle things.

Rather just give the oke a break & not call him a Troll. ;) Encouraging new users should be, erm, encouraged. As I said, if they're talking collywobbles, blow them out of the water based on the content of their statement/s, not their Troll'oditeness. Anyway, nothing personal, Hotmetal, let's keep it friendly. If he's still a troll in a few month's time, be my guest. ;)

I suppose it depends on my needs, if it is for home non critical use cheap is good. I am sure if your business depends on it you would pay the premium.

My experience is that free and quality are on different planets. I suppose the word reciprocal may apply more aptly in this discussion.

Exactly the reason why I am staying with WA currently. I'd love uncapped, but it turns out that WA has the fastest international browsing speeds (2nd fastest local after GConnect), and as I'm an avid gamer I'm not prepared to shift my account just yet. When the latency on MWEB uncapped accounts equates to that of WA, I'll definitely move. WA has its own issues, and I've had arguments with them on these forums, but then what ISP doesn't? I'm more than comfortable with my 25GB pm at R299.00 - I'm not a torrent junkie. I choose quality over quantity!
 

FlatspinZA

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Use of business hours for "effect" could be abusive, taking stuff down close to the end of the month when people are trying to pay bills, etc. They would have had the effect in any case, it seems like they have used the media quite effectively, did they really need to show up what a technical blunder could do ?

Sorry, I am just passionate about using the subscriber in this was as well if this was the plan. I think this was the typical technical blunder, "It will not interrupt services, the traffic will just start flowing on a different route", OOOps..... Well at least it is working now, other than gaming I have not seen any impact to my service yet ? Anyone else other than higher ping times ???? Maybe they do have enough International capacity.

I'm on WA for my gaming purposes only. MWeb hasn't managed to instil much faith in me to provide this service for me.

You think MWEB & other ISPs not peered with them havent been pleading for this over the past few YEARS. Faced with such stubborn resistance it is inevitable they would eventually get gatvol.

Sometimes the only course of action is unilateral action - you separate your friends from your enemies in one smooth motion.

A hosting company with a connection to any exchange will only be visible to the other networks connected to that particular exchange. Anyone in a foreign country or on a local network not connected to that exchange will not be able to access servers hosted by the hosting company.

Which is where transit comes in -- the hosting company needs to obtain transit from an ISP who already has connections to enough Internet exchanges and other IP networks to be able to ensure that the rest of the world can see that hosting company's servers. The hosting company could obtain transit by buying a direct link to an "upstream" ISP or they could even enter into a transit agreement with another ISP connected to the same Internet exchange, in which case their transit provider would carry the hosting company's traffic from the exchange out to the rest of the world. Depending on a number of variables, it might be cheaper for the hosting company to just have a link to an upstream ISP, just have a link to an exchange, or even to have both a link to an upstream ISP and to an exchange.

The really tricky part is deciding on the value of "transit" or "peering". This is no-where near as simple as most people in this thread seem to think.

Does MWeb have a point that they have lots of users on their network and there is value to MTN Business in making sure that those users can get fast access to the corporate customers hosting on the MTN Business network? Of course they do.

Does MTN Business have a point that they have lots of content on their network and there is value to MWeb in making sure that their customers can get fast access to that content? Yes, certainly.

Which is more valuable? The content or the end-user? Neither, really. Taken to a logical extreme, if having end-users on your network was that much more valuable than having content, MWeb would be paying its customer to use their ADSL service so that they could charge other ISPs for access to those customers. Similarly, if having content hosted on your network was that much more valuable than having end-users, MTN Business would be offering free hosting and charging MWeb to provide their end-users access to that content. Of course, everyone knows that ISPs charge both for hosting content on their networks and they charge consumers for access to the Internet. (And really, they have to — it costs ISPs money to provide either type of service.) So clearly, both content and end-users are important. The Internet needs both to exist!

Ultimately, the debate over who should carry the costs for transit or peering is a commercial matter. Every ISP wants the answer to be whatever benefits their customers and their bottom-line the most.

Which leads me to…

Does Telkom have a point that MWeb’s decision to unilaterally cut off transit links is not in the spirit of the Internet community? No, sorry Telkom, but I'm just not seeing that. These issues have very little to do with "the spirit of the Internet community" and a lot to do with the commercial interests of the companies involved. That is true for MTN Business. It is true for MWeb. And it is just as true for Telkom.

And that's a good thing. What we should be celebrating here is that South African telecommunications has finally reached a point where it is competitive enough so that MWeb can say "we're paying too much for local transit to some ISPs, and we can save money by moving that traffic onto our Seacom bandwidth instead, so let's do that". Just two years ago, that would not have be possible. Similarly, the ISPs who have historically provided transit services are now able to say "hmmm, it costs us a lot to provide transit services because we have built our network on top of expensive Telkom circuits, perhaps we could offer more competitive transit rates if we built our own network".

Ultimately, more competition at any level is good for consumers. So ISPs shopping around for better commercial deals is good news. But do keep an open mind when reading the media coverage of developments; the facts are seldom quite a simple as they might seem at first glance.

Thanks, Mr Brooks - you have provided enlightenment. Am I getting this right:

Smaller ISP's contract to larger ISP's to gain access to international networks which the larger ISP's have SLA's with, because the smaller ISP's don't have the revenue to enter into these contracts with the international providers themselves? The larger ISP's then charge the smaller ISP's to recoup the costs incurred with their agreements with the international ISP's? Mweb is now going direct?

So true. But there is room in business to do "the right thing"... Just because you can make money off of something doesn't mean you have to! Sometimes the result of doing something for "free" can lead to something very enjoyable to customers and business from a satisfaction and new service opportunity point of view.

I do lots of things for nothing, not because I have to, because I want to - we can choose to be blood-sucking scumbags, or humans.
 
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