25 September 2023

Telcos connect on internet sharing

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has welcomed decisions by Australia’s leading telecommunications companies to allow interconnection of their services to corporate and Government customers on a ‘settlement free’ basis.

The ACCC said this would boost competition in the supply of internet connectivity and hosted services and lead to a better online experience for end-users.

Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims said Optus, Telstra, and TPG had recently published the criteria on which they would consider ‘peering’ with other internet service providers (ISPs), detailing the requirements other providers needed to achieve in order to directly interconnect with them.

“Telstra has already entered into such a peering relationship with Vocus,” Mr Sims said. “We welcome this agreement.”

“Gaining peering with other networks enables carriers to provide more competitive wholesale ‘transit’ services to other ISPs, which should have positive impacts in downstream markets including the corporate internet market.”

He said peering arrangements were agreements between ISPs to physically connect to other networks in order to exchange internet traffic, often without payment being exchanged.

Optus, Telstra, and TPG have long-established peering relationships with each other and Verizon.

Mr Sims said Optus, Telstra and TPG also offered paid internet interconnection services known as ‘transit’ to other providers that enabled them to gain full connectivity to the wider internet.

He said it was important that the big ISPs in particular publicised and applied their criteria in good faith so that other providers had a transparent pathway to peering status as they attained additional scale with the rollout of the NBN and other next generation fixed and mobile networks.

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