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ISPA Year in Review
(AGM Report September 2005)

iWeek 2005 marks ISPA's ninth year since inception and ninth successful year of looking after the interests of the South African Internet industry, facilitating communication between participants, and giving back to the community at large.

Membership

ISPA's membership currently stands at 95 members. Growth steadied down to 12% during the past year, down from the previous year's 37%, with the new members all in the small or medium membership categories.

The membership committee are responsible for iWeek, ISPA's annual Internet event. iWeek 2004 was a great success and thanks must go out once again to the team for all the hard work that has gone into iWeek 2005.

The ISPA web site has also undergone an intensive revamp and thanks to Bretton – our Webmaster – and the MemCom team, the new site boasts more information and a much improved user interface.

Regulatory

For many years now, ISPA's Regulatory activities have been the key focus of the organisation.

While ISPA's original complaint to the Competition Commission (which received a favourable outcome) awaits hearing by the Competition Tribunal, delayed by Telkom's jurisdictional challenge, ISPA's Regulatory Committee has been at work preparing a second complaint, dealing with Telkom's more recent forms of anti-competitive behaviour, particularly in areas such as ADSL.

The VANS licensing framework has also been a topic of much attention for Regcom. Whilst ICASA has finally made some progress on the issue, and a number of ISPA members are now issued with their VANS licences, there remains a lack of clarity regarding who requires a VANS licence and which services are considered VANS services. The latter is a particularly sensitive issue, since it affects the amount payable in terms of licence fees. Regcom continues to make submissions to ICASA on these issues.

One of the most disappointingly effected provisions of the ECT Act was the E-Rate. Despite the minister effecting this from January 2005, the poorly worded provisions in the Act and a lack of regulation from ICASA have caused complications, leading to few schools receiving the intended benefits.

Also disappointing is the lack of progress on the regulations for Industry Body Recognition. Consequently, another year has passed without ISPA receiving its recognition in terms of Chapter 11 of the ECT Act.

The draft Lawful Interception directives were amended significantly based on our submissions, however, there has been minimal activity on this during the past six months, a mixed blessing, given the costs to members of compliance.

On a more positive note, ISPA's presentation to Parliament regarding the Convergence Bill was extremely well received, with many of our proposed changes accepted and the issues understood.

Also encouraging is that our Code of Conduct has proven its value with a number of complaints having been heard and resolved.

Other activities include the development of an advisory for parents with children accessing the Internet and a submission on the alternate dispute resolution regulations (for domain name disputes).

Technical

ISPA's Johannesburg Internet Exchange remained a critical facility in the exchange of local Internet traffic. In the past six months, peak traffic levels across the JINX switching fabric increased 25%.

During the course of the year the "I" –root name server instance at JINX was enabled (thanks to PCH and Autonomica) and a TLD DNS server was installed (thanks to UltraDNS). An audit of the exchange was also performed, including a full equipment register.

The 3-year term of the hosting contract for JINX expires in October 2005, and a process is underway to call for and evaluate proposals for the hosting of JINX in the coming three years.

In April 2005, ISPA sent two Techcom representatives to the Euro-IX conference in London.

Techcom is working on various other issues, relating to anti-spam best practices, service definitions and a security advisory.

Social Development

In 2001, ISPA and Uniforum SA partnered to launch the "Train the Teachers" project, aimed to assist in solving the computer literacy problems being experienced in schools.

During the 2004/2005 period, Avuxeni Computer Academy was appointed to conduct the training. The academy is accredited and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Information Systems, Electronics and Telecommunication Technologies (ISETT) SETA. Teachers who complete the training are therefore granted credits towards a national certificate.

The project has grown significantly over the years, with Uniforum SA very kindly increasing their already generous contribution by 25%. Sponsorship from members quadrupled as well.

During the 2005 Easter vacation, 60 teachers received training. A further 89 teachers were trained in the 2005 June/July vacation with plans to train a further 90 teachers still this year.

Since inception of the initiative in 2001, 633 teachers have been trained, 526 of whom took beginners courses and 107 intermediate courses.

Conclusion

ISPA's commitment to representing its members' interests remains visible from its successes. Growing membership, favourable influence on the regulatory regime, increased traffic levels at JINX and successful training of more teachers bear testament to this.

Thanks must be extended to all the individuals who have given their time to contribute to ISPA's various committees and initiatives. A special vote of thanks goes to the Future Foundation for their ongoing commitment to ISPA and its successful running as well as to the iWeek 2005 team for ensuring another successful event.

 

 

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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