Optus, Telstra, TPG publish peering criteria for interested ISPs

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Optus, Telstra, TPG publish peering criteria for interested ISPs

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has welcomed Optus, Telstra and TPG publishing their criteria for other ISPs wishing to enter into a peering arrangement with them.

The commission said these moves will boost competition in the supply of internet connectivity and hosted services to corporate and government customers.

The ACCC also revealed that Telstra had entered a peering relationship with Vocus.

“We welcome the recent agreement between Telstra and Vocus to enter into a peering arrangement,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“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.”

Peering arrangements are brokered between ISPs looking to physically connect to each other or other networks to exchange internet traffic, often without payment being exchanged.

ACCC said the three telcos had had long-established peering relationships with each other, with other ISPs having limited visibility over the criteria until today.

“It is important that the big ISPs in particular publicise and apply their criteria in good faith so that other providers have a transparent pathway to peering status as they attain additional scale with the rollout of the NBN and other next generation fixed and mobile networks,” Sims said.

In a report on the topic published today, the commission expressed concerns that Optus, Telstra and TPG had a strong incentive to maintain the status quo and remain unwilling to peer with other ISPs.

“We were concerned that the apparent market failure stemming from the stasis in the peering arrangements was softening competition in the market for the supply of internet
interconnection services,” the report read.

“While transit prices have steadily declined year on year in Australia, we identified some pricing inefficiencies that appear to have forced several internet service providers to make trade-offs between the quality of interconnection and the cost of interconnection.”

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