South Africans Pay The Price For A Poorly Regulated Telecoms Sector

The Net Neutrality debate made headlines again after United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a new net neutrality proposal which will allow Internet Service Providers to reach commercial partnerships with content providers to prioritise their traffic.

This basically means that all traffic will not be treated equally, and that those who pay the most will get the best service levels.

In South Africa, traffic prioritisation has been happening since the launch of ADSL in 2002, with unshaped data costing consumers much more than shaped data.

Net neutrality a bad idea: Cybersmart CEO

Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov says that net neutrality is a “bad, bad, bad idea”, which dis-incentivises ISPs from investing in their network and business.

With net neutrality, he explains, it is far cheaper for an ISP to have one of their peers invest in their network, and then get that investment free of charge.

Fialkov explained that it makes no commercial sense for  ISPs to invest in network infrastructure, and then have that additional capacity saturated by a content provider like Netflix.

Netflix, therefore, would benefit and profit from the ISP’s investment, but there is no commercial benefit to the ISP.

“I would 100% support a system where content providers pay ISPs to priortize their traffic, otherwise ISPs will be forced to increase fees to cover their investment or to cap accounts to ensure fairness,” said Fialkov.

Laurie Fialkov>
Laurie Fialkov

Better regulation needed: Vox Telecom CEO

Vox Telecom CEO Jacques du Toit says that classifying traffic in a regulated world makes it impossible for infrastructure and service providers to merge. “That’s why net neutrality is such a talking point,” he said.

“They make ad hoc decisions because the model is flawed. The result is a lack in economies of scale, and therefore higher prices,” he added.

Du Toit proposed that regulators should move away from regulating vertical sectors of telecoms, broadcasting and IT.

“Instead, it should be defined using the logic of internet protocol-based technologies that work in horizontal layers. Market definitions can then be tied to a particular layer,” he said.

Jacques du Toit>
Jacques du Toit

More on Net Neutrality

>SA Internet traffic shaping not a net neutrality issue: Cerf

>Net neutrality: SA’s ADSL ISPs weigh in

Source :

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