Taiwan’s peering community in the spotlight

By on 1 Sep 2017

Categories: Community, Events

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Last month, more than 300 network, peering, interconnection, and policy managers and operators from internationally renowned carriers, ISPs, ICPs, CDNs, and regulators attended Taiwan’s first national Internet Peering Forum — Taiwan Peering Forum (TPF) 2017.

This event created business opportunities as well as contributed to the visibility of Taiwan in the international market, allowing the world to see the efforts and commitment made by Taiwanese in promoting Taiwan as Asia’s major Internet exchange centre. Below are some of the highlights from the event.

IX development is growing in Taiwan

To begin the forum, Yi-Ning Chen, Commissioner of the National Communications Commission, provided a brief introduction on the Internet and IX development in Taiwan for the benefit of many of the foreign attendees.

Taiwan’s major Internet Exchange is Taipei Internet eXchange (TPIX), which is operated by Chief Telecom, a company in the Chung Hwa Telecom (CHT) group. Later in the day, the Chairman of Chief Telecom, Yan Hong Wu, explained that TPIX is focused on supporting the needs of Taiwan’s digital development rather than profits.

With corporate and social responsibility in mind, TPIX is trying to build an IX platform so that Taiwan companies can have the same foothold as those powerful global companies with a fair traffic exchange and business development. TPIX was also an important co-organizer of TPF 2017.

Commissioner Chen also shared updates on the latest Drafts of the Digital Communication Act and Telecommunications Management Act, and elaborated on the government’s Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan, Digi+ 2025 Program.

This program is expected to expand Taiwan’s digital economy, increase Internet bandwidth, ensure citizens’ basic rights to broadband Internet access, and raise Taiwan’s standing in the global information sector.

‘The Good. The Bad. The Ugly’

Keynote speaker Mehmet Akcin from Yahoo! provided a thought-provoking presentation on ‘The Good. The Bad. The Ugly’, and the development of peering in Asian countries —Taiwan, luckily, is listed among the ‘Good’ economies.

Mehmet discussed a number of issues that the peering community in the Asia Pacific is facing, including:

  • Verifying best practice peering concepts
  • Too many Internet Exchanges
  • Increase in fake Internet Exchanges
  • Port Price Games

Some attendees voiced their concerns about major ISPs in Taiwan not exchanging traffic through IXs.

Peering best practices in Taiwan

Tom Paseka, from Cloudflare, gave an in-depth analysis of the Interconnection Ecosystem in Asia by comparing majors IXs in HK, SG, Tokyo, Malaysia, Seoul and Taipei.

Tom commented that Taiwan did not have a very competitive peering market and that regulated peering pricing was higher than market rates for Internet access.  He went on to ask the question: “With Hong Kong 20ms away, is the price disparity worth it?”.

To overcome these concerns, Tom gave several very practical suggestions for both the government and Internet Exchanges to consider, including:

  • Not focusing on pricing — leave that to the market
  • Look out for anticompetitive behaviour
  • Making sure policies support competition and growth
  • Remembering that the strongest ecosystems exist with little legislation, but with a good framework for competition
  • Be transparent with your pricing
  • Encourage local meetings
  • Keep the design simple

The event was a great success. View some photos of the event below.

William Lu is the manager of TPIX (Taipei Internet eXchange).

 

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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