During the 2nd Session of the African ISP Forum at the
ACT Summit held in Pretoria, South Africa on the 1st of August 2001 and subsequent
to the presentation of EuroISPA by Peter Van Roste, the current President
of EuroISPA, the African ISPs and African ISPAs decided to hold a follow-up
meeting to discuss the possibility of establishing an African ISPA body that
would consist of national ISPAs and facilitate International co-operation.
David Woolnough, DFID - UK
Birhanu Yifru, Ethiopian Telecomms Corp. - Ethiopia
Martin Brasg, Newskies Satellite - SA
Schuller Habeenzu, UUNET Zambia - Zambia
Eric Osiakwan, GISPA - Ghana
William Stucke, ISPA (SA), ISOC-ZA, ZAnet Internet Services - SA (Acting Chairman)
Joseph Mucheru, TESPOK, Wananchi Online - Kenya
Richard Bell, TESPOK, SwiftKenya - Kenya
Brian Longwe, TESPOK, ISPKenya - Kenya (Acting Secretary)
Maxwell Kadiri, Global Internet Policy Initiative - Nigeria
Olasupo Oyedepo, Kontempory Koncepts Limited - Nigeria
Sean Moroney, AITEC Africa - UK / SA
Peter Van Roste, Euro ISPA
Kyoko Day, APIA
Dennis Jones, Cable & Wireless
Nikki Popoola, Cable & Wireless
Alh. Lamin D Jagne, GAMTEL- Gambia
Following introductions, updates were received from various countries as to the current status of ISP Associations within the respective countries.
The idea to set up an ISP Association grew out of a realised need to exchange data locally. Heavy handed action by the Government and regulatory authority in Ghana also prompted the ISPs to get together in order to make formal representations both to Government and the regulator.
Subsequent to an initial meeting between ISPs a rough consensus was reached. There were initially 7 ISPs present at the meeting. These formed the initial members of GISPA, and were recently joined by NCS (Ghana's first ISP). Ghana has 29 licensed ISPs; 10 are operational, of which 8 are full members of GISPA.
GISPA has since formation established a good dialogue with the Government of Ghana and has been invited by the Minister to provide input into ongoing policy and legislative review in the communications industry.
GISPA's primary agenda at the moment is the establishment of an Internet Exchange Point.
GISPA has been incorporated as a non-profit organisation. Membership is as follows:
Joining Fee: $1000, Monthly Fee: $50
Joining Fee: $500, Monthly Fee: ?
ISPs in Nigeria started having problems with the PTT; they formed the "Committee of ISPs" to fight down the costs of Internet access. These efforts were successful.
Initially there were only 8 companies involved in the initiative, in June a meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel. This meeting was very well attended and attracted the majority of ISPs in Nigeria.
An Internet exchange point was discussed but the level of suspicion between ISPs was very high and so the group at the meeting decided that it would be necessary to hold a workshop aimed at educating the ISPs on issues of co-operation and specifically the benefits of Internet Exchange points.
Joining Fee: $500, Annual Subscription: $200
Gambia received Internet access via a UNDP project. There are currently two ISPs in the country, the PTT and a private company. The regulator recently licensed a third ISP. There is no ISPA within the country at the present.
South Africa's service provider space is varied. Some ISPs have a "Value Added Network Services" (VANS) license while some do not. The current legislation is unclear whether a license is required for an ISP. ISPA (SA) was formed in 1996, in response to a threat from the monopoly state owned PTT, Telkom. ISPA currently has 48 members and operates two Internet exchange points; one in Johannesburg (JINX) and the other in Cape Town (CINX).
ISPA is actively involved in regulatory matters especially with regard to defining legislation to curb child pornography and other illegal use of the Internet in SA as well as the telecommunications regulatory regime.
Members may choose their membership category: Small, Medium or Large. Large members may peer at JINX or CINX, and Medium members may peer at CINX.
Joining Fee: None, Monthly $25, $125, $625
Kenya has over 70 licensed ISPs, of these about 30 are operational. The majority are members of the Telecommunications Service Providers of Kenya
(TESPOK), which is the local ISPA.
TESPOK's primary agenda upon formation two years ago was the establishment of an Internet Exchange Point. This objective was pursued keenly by the ISPs until in November 2000, the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) was launched. Despite having received regulatory approval, KIXP was shut down by the regulator within a matter of days, primarily due to objections from the PTT, Telkom Kenya.
TESPOK is lobbying Government and the regulator on various issues including:
- re-opening of KIXP
- liberalisation of Satellite communications (the PTT has a monopoly on International communications)
TESPOK is registered as a non-profit organization.
Joining Fee: $2000 Annual Fee: $300
Following the updates, discussions were held to gauge the level of interest and determine whether a regional ISPA would be necessary.
Some of points raised with regard to the advantages of a regional ISPA were:
- different regulators and Governments have varied interpretations and understanding of ISPs. A regional ISPA could lobby at Government levels to promote harmonisation of policies.
- Many of the policy makers in different countries don't really understand the issues that affect the growth and stability of the Internet. A regional ISPA could actively educate the policy makers so that policy would be made on an informed basis.
- A representative of a company providing satellite bandwidth to Africa and other parts of the world mentioned that a regional ISPA could also facilitate bulk bandwidth purchases for the continent or regions on the continent, thus maximising on the economies of scale and reducing the overall cost of bandwidth to Africa as a whole.
- Other regional organisations involved in the Internet were discussed in order to establish whether there would be any conflicts or duplication. The organisations mentioned were:
AfriNIC - Regional Internet Registry (IP Addresses)
AfNOG - Network Operators Group (training and technical co-operation)
AfTLD - ccTLD Regional body (interaction with ICANN, continental ccTLD issues)
ATU - continental telecommunications union
It was confirmed that there were no conflicts with existing organisations
- It was suggested that similar to Asia/Pacific, which holds AP* meetings which bring together the different regional Internet organisations, that an AF* or Afri* could be considered. This would help the different groups get to know each other and harmonise efforts and initiatives.
- A vote was taken as to whether a continental ISPA should be pursued. The result was a unanimous YES
- a suggestion was made to model the continental ISPA along the lines of ISOC, this was discouraged and the EuroISPA model was suggested as the
Peter Van Roste, the President of EuroISPA was asked to say a little about how EuroISPA is operated. He mentioned that EuroISPA prepares a monthly regulatory report which is circulated to all members. EuroISPA also makes sure that there is representation in all continental matters that affect members, such as EU policy meetings, EC meetings etc...
It was suggest that the Africa continental ISPA start off virtually through the mailing list as an initial step.
Some suggested objectives were:
* a continental ISPA can direct the minds of the people who are forming policy in the respective countries by providing reasonable, qualified input.
* a continental ISPA can also give direction to the donor community and facilitate private sector co-operation and co-ordination for donor projects / funding.
Discussions were held to determine a name, among those suggested were:
The matter was left to a vote and AfrISPA was selected
Through the use of mobile technology the domain name AfrISPA.org was immediately confirmed to be available and registered through the services of ZAnet by William Stucke.
Eric Osiakwan (GISPA) was nominated as the spokesperson for AfrISPA
TESPOK and AITEC offered and were assigned the task of collecting data on all existing ISPs and ISPAs across Africa.
Olasupo Oyedepo - volunteered to design and host the website for AfrISPA
DFID offered to assist with sponsorship in the start-up phase of AfrISPA
New Skies offered to take the information about the formation of AfrISPA back to their Board with a view to raising some contribution towards the establishment of AfrISPA.
William Stucke of ZAnet offered to set up a Mailing List
Proposed Action Plan