Seacom announces remote peering to save ISP costs

2013-09-03 11:45
Broadband. (News24, File)

Broadband. (News24, File)

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Cape Town - Broadband operator Seacom announced on Tuesday the launch of a new Remote Peering Service.

The service aims to provide ISPs (Internet Service Providers) with an easier way to handle their international peering.

Seacom initiated partnerships with NAPAfrica, France-IX, LINX and AMS-IX to provide African customers to peer at a lower cost than ISPs could typically do on their own.

Peering is the arrangement of traffic exchange between ISPs. Larger providers with their own backbone networks agree to allow traffic from other large ISPs in exchange for traffic on their backbones.

Ideally, data flow should be seamless and uninterrupted for consumers, regardless of where the data is stored or what kinds of information requests are made.


The issue was controversial in SA when local ISP MWEB insisted that it would bypass Telkom on peering.

"We will simply be rerouting traffic away from congested and very expensive local transit links to our international bandwidth, which is significantly cheaper and not congested," said MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw told News24 at the time.

The remote service announced by Seacom is expected to go some way in lower operating costs to local ISPs.

"Our Remote Peering service is the first to bring African operators the benefits of exchange point membership and peering - such as control over routing, lower latency, greater visibility, and lower packet loss - without the high costs associated with building out their own infrastructure to multiple exchange points.

"This translates into the ability to provide a better end-user experience without the need to incur additional capital expenditure," said Seacom CEO Mark Simpson.

The National Broadband Policy for South Africa proposed by former communication minister Dina Pule calls for "universal service and access to reliable, affordable and secure broadband services by all citizens prioritising rural and under-serviced areas".

Costs, though, while they have declined significantly remain prohibitively expensive for the majority of South Africans and some have argued for state owned enterprise Telkom to be split.

Premium package

"Telkom should be split into two companies - one should be an infrastructure company that provides broadband and fixed line infrastructure to direct to consumer ISPs and telcos, this company should be prohibited from dealing with end consumers," CEO Simon Leps told News24.

Telkom recently launched its premium package VDSL do Uncapped package which gives users unlimited internet usage at speeds of 40mbps.

The package costs R3 656, is shaped and not universally available. The telco was careful to point out that the service was not guaranteed at 40mbps because of hardware quality and other factors.

SA currently ranks 123rd in terms of internet download speed globally, with an average of 4.03mbps.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    mweb  |  seacom  |  broadband

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