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ISPA Year in Review
(AGM Report September 2004)

It has been slightly over eight years since ISPA's inception and as the year in review draws to a close, the Internet industry faces potentially the most dramatic event since the anti-competitive threats of Telkom in 1996 that united ISPA's founding members. The lifting of the prohibition of VANS to carry voice-over-IP and provide their own infrastructure is a milestone in the development of the South African Internet industry and will provide significant opportunities in the coming years.

Membership

ISPA's membership now stands at 85 members. With a growth rate from mid-2003 to mid-2004 of 37%, the organisation is still growing steadily. With 62 of our members in the small membership category, this category has shown by far the largest growth. There is still considerable room for growth in ISPA's membership and ISPA will continue to strive to grow its membership to ensure that it is the representative body for the Service Providers in the Internet industry in South Africa.

ISPA is still seeking recognition under Chapter 11 of the ECT Act as the "representative industry body" and although the process has been delayed by the Department of Communications longer than anticipated, we do expect recognition in the near future.

The membership committee, with the kind assistance of a few additional people, has organised iWeek again this year. Last year's event was a resounding success and we thank the iWeek 2004 team for their hard work to ensure this year's event is even better.

MemCom is also responsible for the ISPA web-site and work has already gone into a revamp of the site. The new site should go live in the coming months.

Regulatory

ISPA's regulatory activities remain a key focus of the organisation and the last year has been an exceptionally busy one for RegCom.

Fighting Telkom's increasingly anti-competitive behaviour as been an expensive and time-consuming battle, but we're glad to report that we're slowly making progress in this regard.

The Competition Commission found in favour of ISPA on four out of five issues in our joint complaint with SAVA against Telkom and this matter has now been referred to the Competition Tribunal. Telkom are now challenging the Competition Tribunal's jurisdiction over the matter so we can expect the matter to be drawn out for many months still.

On a more positive note, we have settled the greater part of our ICASA section 53 complaint against Telkom as a result of extensive negotiation leading to Telkom's introduction of the IP-Connect product to allow ISPs to sell Internet access via ADSL.

In terms of industry reform, ISPA has engaged members regarding the ICT BEE Charter and is making submissions accordingly.

ISPA has been actively monitoring and commenting on draft legislation affecting ISPs. Our submissions on the Lawful Interception Directives for ISPs have resulted in significantly more favourable and less onerous provisions than initially proposed.

ISPA believes that its submission to ICASA on WiFi was instrumental in having WiFi Hotspots declared legal. Our lobbying on the issues of VoIP and self-provisioning may well have contributed to the minister's decision to lift the provisions on these.

ISPA is still liasing with ICASA on various VANS licensing issues and will continue liasing with the DoC to achieve government recognition as an industry body, lobby for tougher anti-span legislation, and address other ongoing regulatory issues for ISPs.

Technical

Besides facilitating the Johannesburg Internet exchange (JINX), ISPA has extended the reach of its technical initiatives.

During iWeek 2003, an anycast instance of the 'F' Root Server was installed at JINX increasing the reliability and performance of domain name lookups in SA.

In October 2003, ISPA sent a representative to the ARIN XII meeting in Chicago, Illinois to present a policy proposal to reduce the minimum qualifying requirements for African ISPs to obtain Internet numbers. The proposal was well received and subsequently implemented with immediate benefit noticeable by the subsequent increase in ARIN allocations to African ISPs.

After much debate, INX policy remained unchanged, except for a few minor provisions to facilitate native IPv6 peering at JINX, which some members are not partaking in.

The newly formed Technical Committee (a member of the old INX and Root Server committees) is actively seeking new projects for the coming year and welcomes feedback from members in this regard.

Social Development

ISPA - in partnership with UniForum SA - continued to focus its social development efforts on its successful "Train the Teachers" program that was initiated in 2001.

In 2003, the ISPA/UniForum SA joint partnership trained 194 educators. The highlight of the 2003 program was the "Super Teacher" award presentation at iWeek 2003 in which twenty of the top educators identified by the trainers and selected by their respective principals were invited and attended the award ceremony.

During the 2004 Easter vacation, 58 teachers were trained. A further 73 received training during the June/July vacation. A total amount of R198, 739.27 was paid out to the training organisations.

The Social Development Committee recently took a decision that, in future, training proposals would only be considered from accredited training organisations.

ISPA extends its gratitude and appreciation to the UniForum SA Board for their active participation and very generous sponsorship, which made this all possible. ISPA would also like to thank Tiscali and MTN Network Solutions for their generous sponsorships.

Conclusion

ISPA continues to grow its membership whilst looking after its members' interests, fighting for a healthy and competitive Internet industry, lobbying for favourable legislation, encouraging industry transformation and engaging in technical initiatives to benefit the Internet and social development to bridge the digital divide.

We would like to thank the management committee and 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.

 

Gregory Massel and Masedi Molosiwa

 

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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