Indian Broadband Policy and Regulatory Resources

Interconnection

Interconnection with a major operator should be ensured at any technically feasible point in the network. Quality of interconnection should be comparable to similar services offered by own network. The issue of unbundling local loop, reasonable rates for interconnection, interconnection tariffs and universal service etc. are covered in this section. As new technologies are coming forth, the structure of the telecommunication market place is changing rapidly. With VoIP becoming a dominant form of voice communication, regulations for interconnection is becoming a paramount issue in case of broadband diffusion.

The presence of monopoly, who already has significant market power and extensive network poses various obstacles to keep the market devoid of competition. Denying interconnection is one of the most powerful tactics. Duty of the policy makers and the regulatory regimes is to make and amend policies and enhance regulatory oversight to solve interconnection issues related to the marketplace.

Regulations related to Indian Interconnection can be accessed here.

Country Studies

Africa: Interconnection Challenges in a Converging Environment – Policy Implications for African Telecommunications Regulators.  Interconnection is one of the most important elements of telecommunications policy in a liberalized environment and is needed to achieve equitable and sustainable expansion of infrastructure services in the poorest countries of the world. It also represents a critical challenge for regulators in developing countries needing assistance to introduce the needed changes.

New Zealand: Using Competition Law to Regulate Interconnection – New Zealand unlike many other countries relied on it’s general competition law, the Commerce Act 1986, to prevent anti-competitive behavior. The Commerce Act can be enforced by the Commerce Commission (New Zealand’s competition authority), or privately through the courts.

Kenya: Review of implementation of Interconnection – This Interconnection Determination facilitated the implementation of a cost-based interconnection pricing structure in Kenya. The Interconnection Determination was phased in during 2007 and 2008. A review of the implementation of the Determination was conducted in January 2008 and new interconnection rates were introduced in March 2008 (phase two of the implementation of cost-based interconnection rates).

Links

Introduction to Interconnection   – Networks interconnect to exchange traffic and supply inputs in situations where the operators both compete and cooperate. As explained above, such inputs are “essential facilities.” As the OECD observed: “the regulation of the terms and conditions under which competing firms have access to essential inputs provided by rivals has become the single biggest issue facing regulators of public utility industries. This issue is both theoretically complex and inherently controversial. 

Forms of Interconnection – One-way interconnection occurs when payment goes only one-way (eg when rail operators seek access to rail networks). Two-way interconnection occurs with reciprocal payments (eg between networks with customers who communicate across networks). One-way and two-way interconnection can co-exist. 

Interconnection Agreements and Dispute Resolution – Often a regulator will require the development of a Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) as part of opening the sector to competition. The RIO sets out the terms and conditions for interconnection services that a competing operator can choose to accept without further negotiations. The purpose of the RIO is to avoid disputes and to shorten the entry time for a new competitor.

IP-Based Interconnection – Interconnection for Internet traffic over IP networks operates according to a different set of rules from telephony. However an increasing proportion of telephone traffic is carried over IP-enabled carrier networks. There are now many different operators offering network capacity to send, transit and terminate traffic, ranging from traditional telecom carriers to third party vendors, from Internet Access Providers (retail) to Internet Backbone Access (wholesale) carriers, from content distribution networks (CDNs) to utilities with spare capacity to wholesale. The commercial terms and ways in which interconnection is offered varies considerable.

Articles

Interconnection principles contained in the WTO reference paper – Section 2 of the Regulation Reference Paper addresses interconnection.  Section 2.1 states that the interconnection provisions apply “to linking suppliers providing public telecommunications transport networks or services in order to allow the users of one supplier to communicate with users of another supplier and to access services provided by another supplier, where specific commitments are undertaken.”