Internet providers demand clarity

Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 10:42

Staff receive feedback and complaints at the Viettel Telecommunication Company's Customer Care Centre in Ha Noi. The Ministry of Information and Communications has been requested to tackle conflicts of interest between individual Internet Service Providers. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tu
HA NOI (Biz Hub)— Conflicts of interest between individual Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and also between ISPs and internet content providers (ICPs), have prompted a debate and experts are calling for a new ruling from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to handle the issue.

Speaking at a seminar on "Internet Connections" yesterday in the capital city, a representative of the Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority, under the MIC, said the ministry would introduce rates for internet connections to help remove the conflict of interest between individual ISPs and between ISPs and ICPs.

Under the current regulations, internet service providers are allowed to share internet infrastructure facilities and connection fees will be decided by the MIC.

However, a problem has arisen among those who are responsible for paying the connection fees. Many ISPs can not reach an agreement on the fees and as a result direct internet connections between them have been severed.

Instead of having direct internet connections, they have been forced to go through the Viet Nam National Internet Exchange (VNIX). Those who have been using VNIX are asking the ministry to readjust pricing and technology regulations to be more relevant to the current situation.

Conflicts have occurred recently between CMC Telecom and Viettel, between CMC Telecom and FPT Telecom and between Viettel and Viet Nam Data Communication Company (VDC), according to reports by the Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority.

For instance, CMC Telecom and Viettel have a co-operative agreement for direct internet connections but an imbalance in capacity occurred between the two sides during the ustilisation process. Viettel then asked CMC to pay connection charges based on the capacity of connections. To date, the two sides still have not reached an agreement.

Nguyen Van Hai director of VDC said ISPs and ICPs all wanted to protect their interests. For internet connections, users wanted access to the information they needed and internet providers had to meet their requirements. But, if ISPs had the internet infrastucture facilities but could not provide content services the connection was meaningless.

The ISPs needed direct connections so as to ensure a faster speed for users instead of having indirect connections to other service providers, Hai said.

Sharing this viewpoint, Nguyen Manh Ha, CEO at VMG Media Group, said: "We need to clarify the role of ISPs and ICPs. By doing so, ISPs with their internet infrastructure facilities would make an effort to further develop content instead of making direct competition with ICPs."

Ha The Minh, chairman of CMC Group, said that the ministry needed to develop a policy to support small-scale service providers and it should be an arbitrator to quickly intercede when necessary to ensure the interests of customers.

According to Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang, very few countries had regulations on internet and internet connections. It depended on the market development while governments only played a role in offering mechanisms.

In Viet Nam, the dispute over connections among service providers had occurred as a result of fast growth in internet development, particularly for those who both had involvement in infrastructure development and content development, such as Viettel, FPT and VNPT.

Viet Nam should develop a mechanism and policies to create good quality internet connections at a reasonable price for internet users, Thang said. — VNS

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