Many telecommunications networks in the Pacific interconnect not directly but via international carriers in the United States or Australia. This has a profound impact on both the cost and the performance of regional traffic. While web traffic is slowed, real-time collaborations are rendered unusable, creating barriers for inter-island collaboration.
Governments, competitive carriers, Internet societies, and activists argue that direct interconnection, or peering, is the answer to these performance problems. They believe that if competitive networks are allowed to exchange traffic free-of-charge with incumbent networks, the cost of Internet will go down, and performance will go up.
Incumbent networks throughout the Pacific steadfastly refuse to openly peer with other carriers, education networks, and government networks – and a change in this behaviour is not in sight. Not only do they refuse to peer, they sometimes charge their competitors more for direct access to their networks than competitors pay for global Internet connectivity. Competitors, activists, and even governments say this is a clear violation of network neutrality. This project investigating carrier interconnections in the Pacific has shown the situation to be far more nuanced.
This project’s objective was to share research collected during an earlier iteration of the project via the web in a dynamic way. This included information on physical and routed topologies, telecommunications market data, and information on the relationships Pacific Island nations have with the rest of the world.
In support of these objectives, the project has produced a website that reviews the telecommunications environment of the Pacific Islands. The site looks at each market’s connectivity to the world: telecommunications, sea freight, air routes, and trade. It provides real-time statistics on carrier market share. Finally, it considers the complexity of island telecommunications through a composite case study on peering.
The report is publicly available.