Trai proposes penalties for ISPs not announcing and accepting Nixi nodes

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Authority of India has recommended to the GOI‘s department of telecommunication, inter alia, that there should be "stringent penalties" for all Internet service providers who do not announce and accept all their routes (including that of their downstream providers) at the National Internet Exchange of India nodes or at direct peering point.

The provision for penalties may be made in the licensing conditions to curb the tendencies of misuse at any interconnection points by ISPs, according to a set of recommendations Trai has sent to the GOI on April 20, to make the Nixi more effective and hence, bring down costs for consumers.


Trai also wants all domestic Internet traffic to be either routed through National Internet Exchange of India (Nixi) or through dedicated domestic peering of ISP with international Internet bandwidth providers.

However, Trai has said that before extending the Nixi nodes to state all capitals (from the existing four at Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai) a detailed study should undertaken.

Trai has sent a set of six specific recommendations on the Nixi to the GOI after issuing a consultation paper and receiving stakeholder responses because "Nixi‘s infrastructure has not been utilised optimally, as only 27 ISPs out of 135 operational ISPs have joined Nixi nodes at four locations.


Studies show that the total number of connections to Nixi from these ISPs are only 53.

"A lot of domestic traffic is still not routed through Nixi, defying the very purpose of setting up Nixi," Trai chairman Nripesh Mishra has said in the signed report issued on April 20.

Trai, Mishra says, has taken "a light regulatory approach… at present and different options to improve effectiveness of Nixi have been recommended".

The issues on which the recommendations have been made include Interconnection of ISPs at Nixi; Domestic Traffic Routing; Segregation of Traffic; Installation and Interconnection of Nixi nodes; Upgradation of Nixi Nodes and Quality of Service; miscellaneous issues like need to encourage data centre and WEB hosting in India, etc.

Because the infrastructure is yet not being fully utilised, Trai has naturally set aside the issue of Nixi nodes at all state capitals for the moment.

Its recommendation is, "It will be desirable to make detailed analysis of present domestic traffic, CAPEX and OPEX required to setup Nixi node and optimum capacity utilisation of existing nodes before taking any decision to setup any additional node."

The recommendations also say that all the ISPs who are providing International Internet IP port in India shall be permitted to have peering for exchange of domestic traffic with other ISPs provided such integrated ISPs segregate domestic and international traffic using any technique/ technology suitable to them, it has been recommended.

On the issue of interconnection of ISPs at Nixi, Trai says that all ISPs or their upstream providers should either be connected at all Nixi nodes or to International internet bandwidth provider through separate domestic peering link.

All the ISPs providing international Internet bandwidth should be connected at all the four nodes of Nixi and in case of multi-homing ISP, such ISP will decide one of the upstream provider to carry domestic traffic to Nixi or to ISP providing International Internet bandwidth through domestic peering link.

Regarding segregation of domestic and International traffic Trai has recommended that all the ISPs who are providing International Internet IP port in India shall be permitted to have peering for exchange of domestic traffic with other ISPs provided such integrated ISPs segregate domestic and International traffic using any technique/ technology
suitable to them.

According to Trai, the interconnection of the four existing Nixi nodes "if not found financially attractive by Nixi members… may be deferred for the time being.

Trai feels it is desirable that Nixi may setup test bed to exchange IPv6 routes between IPv6 enabled networks as well as IPv4 networks based on overlay tunnel.

"This may be completed in time bound manner, say six months so that Nixi is able to commercially support IPv6 exchange of routes," it has explained.

Interestingly, Trai has recommended structural change in the Nixi.

It is suggested that there is a need to modify Nixi‘s structure from a limited liability company to a mutual not-for-profit organisation, the report recommends.

It was also suggested that ISPs should have "member status and rights, obligations to seek the best strategic direction and promote best practices operations".

The National Internet Exchange of India (Nixi) was set up on the recommendation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) by Department of Information Technology (DIT), Government of India, in 2003 to ensure that Internet traffic, originating and destined for India, should be routed within India.

However, Trai has said that Nixi‘s infrastructure has not been utilised optimally due to limited number of ISPs joining Nixi. Therefore a need was felt to revisit the framework of Nixi to provide impetus to effectively exchange domestic Internet traffic.


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