[menog] RE: [ncc-regional-middle-east] Peering

Nasser A. Albakr nbakr at citc.gov.sa
Tue Aug 7 11:42:14 GMT 2007


I agree with you, this is a one of the lessons we have learned from
KACST days, and after the movement of the Internet Gateway service to
the three Data Service Providers (DSPs). The incumbents do not drive
innovation and initiatives. That's why the effort and the change should
be driven by the regulator and the incumbents side by side. This effort
should come with the understanding of the benefit of an IXP. Even other
players should be involved (Academic and Educational organizations,
ISPs, IT Companies, Vendors, etc). 

Large companies should handle liberalization of the Internet Gateway and
International landing. Otherwise, we will end up with small players that
are causing bottlenecks and reducing the quality and reliability. Here
is SA, there is a massive increase in the IT market. I think the main
benefit that Saudi will introduce to the region is connecting the GCC to
the rest of the ME. 

As for the regulation and the licenses for international and landing
operations, there was a bid for a Fixed Telecom License that was
released last April. The license gives its holder the ability to enter
the DSP market along with other services. Three other companies were
qualified for that, and others can apply in upcoming stages:

Nasser A. Albakr				nbakr at citc.gov.sa
Senior Network & System Specialist
Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC)

-----Original Message-----
From: Fahad AlShirawi [mailto:fahad at 2connectbahrain.com] 
Sent: 7/Aug/2007 12:58 PM
To: Nasser A. Albakr; menog at menog.net; 'Bill Woodcock'
Subject: RE: [menog] RE: [ncc-regional-middle-east] Peering


On point of major import is that innovation, even when old and basically
no-brainer in the rest of the world, is hardly ever driven by larger
incumbents. The regulation in Saudi dictates that only incumbents, or
operators so large and overwhelmed with their internal politics, are
for the full liberalization in the Kingdom. 

One of our fellow members (can't remember who off the top of my head)
commented that Saudi is the largest ISP market and that it's usage far
exceeds the rest of MENA. That is true. Saudi has the critical mass to
things happen and to give a solid business case to derive a technical
Will the regulation change any time soon? Why are there only three
for international Landing? Can't we have more? That is one market that
to be opened up if we are to see IXs flourish.


-----Original Message-----
From: menog-bounces at menog.net [mailto:menog-bounces at menog.net] On Behalf
Nasser A. Albakr
Sent: Tuesday, August 07, 2007 12:16 PM
To: menog at menog.net; Bill Woodcock
Subject: RE: [menog] RE: [ncc-regional-middle-east] Peering

Hello all,

I agree with you, everyone needs to peer and will end up doing that
eventually, with or with out an IX. However, it seems because of the
high competition in the market, not having a high demand on national
data transfer, and no return profit from providing this facility non of
the main players are interested. Otherwise, we would have seen an IXP or
even peering on the GCC region years ago. What we have ended up with is
a group of providers who share the same landing point but exchange
traffic over their transit providers at least one continent away.

In Saudi Arabia after the liberalization of the Internet Gateway almost
a year ago and having 3 main Data Service Provider instead of one, non
of them has decided to invest in starting an IX or peer with the other
providers. This caused customers to have DSP to DSP connection problems,
where the traffic goes to the Internet Provider and back to the other
DSP, as you mentioned digital divide problem on the country level.

Here at CITC (as a regulator) we are more concern with the quality of
service and reliability of the traffic and data transfer with in the
country and how can the peering of the main players (DSPs) and/or having
an IX will improve that. The players (even on the GCC and ME level) must
realize the benefits, how will that reduce the international expenses
and drive other services to them. Some have come to that conclusion and
have started working on that. However, everyone should catch up and

Such meetings and discussions are good opportunity in passing knowledge
and sharing the findings. My guess is that everyone is waiting for
everyone to make a move. In addition, the smaller players (ISPs,
companies, etc.) are waiting for the quality to increase and the cost to
decrease in order to but more effort on the local content and data
transfer, and having a free peering and IXP(s) in the region will
produce that.

As for the question where should the IXP be, I agree with Bill and the
others. An IXP or more should be introduced in each country and
connected to the other country's IXPs. This is the logical way and how
it was done in other regions (Europe, Africa, etc). Waiting for all
parties to agree on a central point will take forever. However, it is
not the quantity that we are looking for here, but the distribution and
quality of the IXPs (not only GCC but in ME region). 

Nasser A. Albakr				nbakr at citc.gov.sa
Senior Network & System Specialist
Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC)

-----Original Message-----
From: menog-bounces at menog.net [mailto:menog-bounces at menog.net] On Behalf
Of Bill Woodcock
Sent: 6/Aug/2007 7:50 PM
To: Baher Esmat
Cc: menog at menog.net; 'Salman Al-Mannai'; 'Kais Al-Essa'
Subject: RE: [menog] RE: [ncc-regional-middle-east] Peering

      On Mon, 6 Aug 2007, Baher Esmat wrote:
    > I must also say that I was a little bit puzzled with parts of the
    > as it appeared to me that we're not differentiating between the
    > like STC, Batelco, ect., (those incumbents are also ISPs) and
other smaller
    > ISPs. My understanding is that the Incumbents whether they have
    > peeing among themselves or peer via IXPs, they remain the big guys
who own
    > the customers as well as most of the traffic. The small ISPs on
the other
    > hand have to have their own IXP setups and hence be in better
positions to
    > negotiate better deals with Incumbents, or with upstream providers
if ISPs
    > are allowed to connect directly to them.

Another way of putting it is to say that everyone needs to peer, in
to grow.  The big guys know this (they couldn't have gotten big if they 
didn't), and will always peer, whether internationally (in London or 
Amsterdam or Hong Kong or elsewhere), or across private bilateral
between each other.

It's the little guys who need the IXPs, in order to be able to
compete with that, and peer as well.  If the big guys grow, and the
guys don't, you've got an increase in the digital divide problem.  If 
everyone grows, the whole market grows, and more new service is
to all potential customers at lower, more competitive prices.


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