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ISPA Year in Review
(ISPA AGM. 19 September 2003)

ISPA has had another busy year with significant changes in the regulatory environment dominating the associations focus as usual, however this year has also seen a significant effort on the technical side which we will discuss in this review.

Membership

We are pleased to report that during the last year membership has increased by nearly 29%. We ended last year with 49 members and now have a total of 63 members. This increase is attributed to a number of factors including but not limited to, changes in constitution to broaden membership categories, the value offered to the member and the possibility of having ISPA recognised as an Industry Body in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECT Act). Recognition as an Industry body in terms of the ECT Act will afford our members amnesty in terms of wrongful takedown in terms of the Act.

ISPAs plans to gain recognition as the industry body referred to in the ECT Act are quite far advanced. All members now adhere to the ISPA code of conduct as required by the Act, a significant step given the requirements for each and every member to fulfil the required criteria. The financial impact of ISPAs role as the Industry Body is still unknown but is expected to have a significant effect in ISPA finances.

The response to the Internet Week this year has been incredible once again, indicative of the significant interest in the sector for which ISPA plays a significant role.

Regulatory

ISPA continues to concentrate on its lobbying and regulatory role in the South African Internet industry. This year has once again proved to be a very active period for ISPA. Governments liberalisation process in the Telecommunications industry continues therewith goes the role of ISPA to contribute significantly to the process. The organisation's main efforts this year were thus on regulatory issues.

We are very disappointed in the lack of progress in the Second Network Operator (SNO) process which as we are sure everyone is aware has been marred with failure and would like to see Government work toward creating competition through already legislated mechanisms in the Act. In this respect ISPA will continue to lobby for restrictions imposed by the Act to be lifted by the Minister.

We have seen the introduction of the ECT Act, which paves the way for electronic communications to have full legal standing. We have also seen the introduction of what was formally known as the Interception and Monitoring Bill, now known as the REGULATION OF INTERCEPTION OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PROVISION OF COMMUNICATION-RELATED INFORMATION ACT, NO. 70 OF 2002. This legislation has a significant impact on ISPs. ISPAs regulatory committee is spending a significant amount of time working with the Department of Communications and the Department of Justice in order to have our members interests protected in terms of regulations issued in terms of this Act.

The competition complaint against launched in conjunction with SAVA is nearing completion after an extension requested by the commission. The commission is due to finalise the matter in October.

A further complaint was launched with ICASA in terms of launch practises. This is due to be heard later this year, however ICASA has already started investigating regulations with respect to launch practises, the hearings for which were concluded in the last few weeks and we await ICASAs findings.

ISPA has also been at the forefront of getting clarity on the legality of providing WIFI services, services ISPA strongly feels are outside the realm of PSTS services and should be something our members can legally provide. These hearings were also concluded recently and we await ICASAs findings.

Internet Exchanges

This year JINX was moved to outsourced facilities, significantly reducing requirements for resource and financial investment by ISPA, whilst maintaining control of the peering point. Due to the lack of participants in the Cape Town region, ISPA has discontinued providing the CINX facility and will review this need on demand. The exchange continues to play a critical part in ensuring the efficiency of the Internet in South Africa.

South African root server project

We are pleased to report that very shortly there will be a root server right here in South Africa. This is the result of a lot of hard work by the committee tasked with making this happen.

This facility will reduce the dependence of our members networks on international root servers by servicing those requests locally. This development also puts South Africa on the map as one of the few countries in the world that have such facilities locally.

Social Development

ISPAs social development committee continues together with UniForum SA, to focus its efforts on the highly successful teachers training program, which teaches computer literacy courses to disadvantaged teachers.

The highlight of this years program was the SuperTeacher 2003 award, made at the iWeek conference. Twenty of the top participants in the course were invited to attend the ceremony on September 18th. An award was presented to the teacher who has done the most to pass on the skills gained in the course to his or her school community.

Conclusion

ISPA continues to be recognised as one of South Africa's most successful organisations in representing its members' interests. ISPA is passionate in its endeavours to develop the Internet in South Africa.

We would like to thank the management committee and to all the individuals involved in ISPA's various committees and initiatives with special mention of the Future Foundation for their ongoing commitment to ISPA and the membership committee for their tireless efforts to once again ensure the success of the Internet Week event.

 

Greg Massel and Edwin Thompson

 

iWeek 2009

iWeek 2009 conference and exhibition,
Bryanston, Johannesburg,
2-4 September 2009.

Please contact ISPA for sponsorship and exhibition queries:
iweek (at) ispa.org.za


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