Internet interconnection has evolved in an informal way. However, it is not an unregulated space. At the 10th Internet Governance Forum (Nov 12, 2015 in Joao Pessoa, Brazil) I organised a panel discussion about this very topic. The idea was to collectively dimension the issue of public regulation of internet interconnection. Five experts discussed in how far local regulation of internet interconnection may acquire a global scope and sketched out future regulatory scenarios.
I would like to thank the following experts for participating: Mohamed El Bashir (Qatar Communications Regulatory Authority ), Prof. Laura DeNardis (American University), Mike Jensen (APC), Manoj Kumar Misra (Association of Competitive Telecom Operators/Vodafone) and Bill Woodcock (Packet Clearing House).
Some take-aways from the session
- The local context for internet interconnection varies so much that a one-size-fits-all regulatory model does not make sense.
- Digital divide discussions often miss that many countries still lack Internet Exchange Points within their borders, which hinders development in emerging economies.
- Underlying internet interconnection disputes are less technical than social or competition issues; these are difficult to address from a policy perspective as regulation in this field easily can have unforeseen consequences.
- There is a tension between industry interests to keep interconnection agreements private in order to sustain a market and the need to ensure that interconnection practices are perceived as legitimate by the public
My full report is now available at https://www.intgovforum.org/cms/wks2015/index.php/proposal/view_public/214 (head right to the heading "Key issues raised"). For details see the archived webcast below or download the transcript. Please note: I took the official transcript as a basis but transparently corrected some mistakes in order to increase the readability.