MWEB cuts ties over peering

2010-10-28 21:38

Cape Town - MWEB threw down the gauntlet to local internet providers when the company announced that it would no longer have transit links with MTN, Vodacom and Telkom.

These severed routes mean that MWEB will have no local links to or from big players like Vodacom and MTN, necessitating international routing to share traffic.

Peering is the arrangement of traffic exchange between internet server providers (ISPs). Larger service providers with their own backbone networks agree to allow traffic from other large ISPs, in exchange for traffic on their backbone networks.

"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.

MWEB CEO Rudi Jansen hinted that the company was intent on changing the internet market in SA when they launched uncapped broadband in March.

"Peering and the IPC cost is the biggest killer of the internet in this market. If those costs are reduced, we'll see costs come down even further," he told News24 at the time.


Companies like Hetzner, a second tier internet provider, warned clients that they may experience slower speeds to Hetzner's servers hosted in SA when using an MWEB connection.

Hershaw said MWEB hoped that ISPs would peer for free, and reduce the cost of access to subscribers.

"Hopefully we establish a principal where all ISPs peer on an open basis using the 'hot potato' principle - where you hand the traffic over at the closest point to where it is hosted," he said.

Jansen was more direct.

"So if you don't want to peer with us, that is it! We will not pay you one single cent anymore.

"The government needs to get involved and invest in infrastructure. The issue is not international anymore. (International) prices are 40% cheaper than local lines. That's scary," he said.

MWEB's move has taken experts by surprise.

'Huge shifts'

"I didn't expect this, but it means that consumers will now expect data to be cheaper and faster," World Wide Worx CEO and internet analyst Arthur Goldstuck told News24.

He said MWEB's move was a game changer for the South African market, and would have implications for other ISPs.

"Consumers can expect initiatives where ISPs will look for the best deal and we will see huge shifts in the market."

No matter how the market shapes up, it is clear that MWEB has identified itself as a key player, and as more international bandwidth becomes available in SA, users should expect providers to reduce costs.

"MWEB has never stayed the same, from month to month it changes, that's how the internet game changes. We're definitely repositioning MWEB - we are now a first tier ISP, we're bringing significant international bandwidth, we've built local bandwidth. We are a telco (telecommunications company), we aren't just an ISP anymore," Jansen said.

News24 is part of, a subsidiary of Media24, which is in the Naspers stable. MWEB is a subsidiary of Naspers.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

  • AncientGeek - 2010-10-28 21:59

    Good aggression from Mweb. Their hosting costs are also aggressively priced. International cheaper than local is a sad indictment of the local players. The traditional isp's have become slack and arrogant, like Telkom used to be. One day they will wake up and find their market has moved on.

  • rolycpt - 2010-10-28 22:13

    yippee!!! :)

  • Faith - 2010-10-28 22:44

    Nice one MWEB! Now lets hope this will force the other big players to follow suit and lower internet costs in South Africa. It's a win-win for both ISPs when they peer locally.

  • DUNCAN GOHL - 2010-10-29 05:14

    Just like government, after a cockup ( hacking) some quick good news story to divert attention and garner votes !

  • Shraek - 2010-10-29 06:37

    GO GO MWEB!!!

  • Bev - 2010-10-29 06:52

    More Byte to your teeth Mweb: I was so unhappy with my Mweb/Vodacom 3g contract - Vodacom constantly blamed MWEB and never ever took responsibility for problems that were quite clearly theirs. I have always had consistently good service from MWEB so a vote of confidence from me.

  • Hannes - 2010-10-29 07:23

    Good on you Mweb. As an uncapped small Business, I have never regretted having you as a service provider.

  • Big - 2010-10-29 07:44

    Big move from Mweb, but it does have far reaching consequences for their user base. Any mweb user now trying to connect to an (eg) vodacom network will now be re-routed internationally (more than likely through london) meaning yor packet now travels from SA to London, back to SA, back to London and back to your PC... Latency on this is going to be CRAZY for anyone using their lines for gaming or peering.
    Good thing for the market overall, but might be pretty bad for anyone using mweb till the market follows (if it does)

  • DGWB - 2010-10-29 07:49

    Fan-freakin-tastic, chew on that Vodacom (where I am currently paying my ass off on HIGH internet rates!!!!!!!!!

  • Addict - 2010-10-29 09:39

    What does this mean for little old me - will I still be able to surf PORN till my eyes op out?

  • Andrew - 2010-10-29 11:20

    I have not been very complimentary to Mweb in the past. But I have to say if this article is accurate then I am glad MWeb is taking these steps. We really need a player big enough to grow the market as opposed to just milking the existing market.

  • Elephant Torrent - 2010-10-29 12:25

    I like news like this. Let the prices come tumbling down!

  • ir8m8 - 2010-10-29 12:49

    Go MWEB GO, these big networks PROMISE the best deal and have advertised reduced rates, i still pay MTN close to R2 a MB, and try and query it...OMG they are a bunch of useless sods.

  • GeoffS - 2010-10-29 14:28

    I have had an MWEB account for the past 14 years. This has got to be one of SA’s most customer-friendly enterprises: they are dynamic, well-organised, offer good value for money, their help desk staff are knowledgeable, efficient and polite. In fact, MWEB is everything that most other SA companies are not, and that’s not even talking about the idiotically-run parastatals. MWEB should establish a training academy to which the likes of MTN, Telkom, Vodacom, all the banks, et al, should send their staff and “managers” to learn how to do business !

  • Lee - 2010-10-29 17:58

    This is probably very exciting news. I would appreciate a layman's explanation of what is happening here and is this really a positive move for MWEB subscribers or not. Please anyone who understands this stuff, could you explain it in simpler terms. Thanks.

  • clive - 2010-10-30 13:32

    Hi guys, this is only an early April fools joke.
    Check out Mweb's advertising. Why do they still include Vodacom and MTN in their 3G contracts ?? How will they be able to connect you without the co operation of the other players, or am I missing something ??

  • David - 2010-10-30 17:55

    Go MWEB! MWEB has really turned itself around.

  • Antman - 2010-11-01 19:02

    Great now when I VPN into Vodacom the connection is unusable, when it used to be lightening fast. As 50% of my decision to go with Mweb was for work purposes this is a slap in the face and obviously escaped any form of consideration. Goodbye Mweb . . . .

  • Gargamel - 2010-11-03 22:58

    I'm with you Antman - it brought down our whole vpn network - I will quickly have to look for alternatives. Nice one Mweb for giving your business customers no heads up on this move...

  • Neels - 2010-11-04 10:06

    We have a lot of clients on a hosted exchange at MWEB. It is now unusable. It takes 18 hops to get there. It jumps to the UK before returning to South Africa. Very BAD move MWEB!!

  • pages:
  • 1