Sunday, September 11, 2005

IP - Interconnect in Germany 

I have serious problems and I am also very disappointed.

As I already indicated in my previous post, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) has established an advisory project group dealing with IP - Interconnect („Rahmenbedingungen der Zusammenschaltung IP-basierter Netze“).

The project group is chaired by the Federal Network Agency and consists of "leading telecommunication experts with many years experience in the market". The members of the group are hand-selected by the Agency (whatever that means) and unknown, at least to me (I have not found any list of members). It would be nice to know whom the Agency considers as experts.

Based on the results the Agency is planning to establish a regulatory framework for IP - Interconnect. The group started in August 2005 and should publish the results within one year. Note: I assume the Agency will do afterwards another consultation and the framework will be available beginning of 2008.

The Fragenkatalog contains not only the questions, but also the mandate of the group.

And here my problems start:

The first problem I have with the document is the language. I just cannot parse some of the terminology. The Germans normally use now mostly English terms, but from time to time they get into French mode and try to use only German terms nobody understands, because the basically do not exist in this context. Siemens had such a period in the '60, e.g. using terms like "Kellerspeicherzeiger" instead of stackpointer. So I may have problems to translate some parts because I basically to not know what they mean.

The second and more serious problem is that the group (and the document) is dealing to 95% with the commerical issues of IP-Interconnect and not with technical issues, so I have also some problems with the terminology used.

The document starts quite feasible (apart from the language) with stating:

Charakteristisch für IP-basierte Netze ist, dass sie auf Grund ihrer stärker dezentral organisierten Architektur einen höheren Grad der Arbeitsteilung erlauben. Das bedeutet, dass unterschiedliche Anbieter auf den funktionalen Ebenen Zugang, Transport, Kontrolle und Dienste Wertschöpfung realisieren können.

... which means correctly that in IP-based networks there is a separation in access, transport, control and services. BTW: "höheren Grad der Arbeitsteilung" is amusing.

They continue that you now will need interfaces between these entites and also between these layers and one could expect that at least one of the question would ask, what they are.

Also one could expect that this "Arbeitsteilung" is taken into account, but it is not.

Talking about language, my favorite is:

Über diese paketvermittelten Netze, die überwiegend auf IP basieren, werden unterschiedliche Verkehre (Daten und Sprache) transportiert.

Via this packetoriented networks ... are different traffics (data and voice) transported.

I am not sure about English, but in German "Verkehr" exists only singular, even in "ständig wechselnder Geschlechtsverkehr" ;-)

Now serious again:

The mandate requires:

Mögliche Szenarien und Migrationspfade sowie die Antworten auf den Fragenkatalog sollten an den folgenden Kriterien gespiegelt werden:

Potential scenarios and migration paths and the answers to the catalogue of questions should be mirrored at the following criteria:
  • Intensivierung eines nachhaltigen Wettbewerbs (intensifying competition)
  • Anreize zu effizienten Investitionen (incentive for efficient investments)
  • Anreize zu effizienter Netznutzung (incentive for efficient network usage)
  • Minimierung von Transaktionskosten (minimising transktion costs - e.g no NP DB ;-)
  • Vermeidung von regulatorisch induzierten Arbitragepotentialen (no arbitrage possible)
  • Internalisierung von Netzexternalitäten (???)
The last one I cannot parse

Now to the (12) questions:

The first question seems quite normal:

Frage 1: Inwieweit sind Anpassungen im bisherigen Zusammenschaltungsregime notwendig, um den technischen Anforderungen an eine IP-Zusammenschaltung gerecht zu werden?

Are there modifications in the existing interconnect regime necessary to satisfy the technical requirements to the IP-Interconnect?

This question is very interesting for many reasons:

The most important fact is that this is the ONLY question of the 12 dealing with technical requirements at all!

First they mention in the document the most important difference to the existing interconnect regime is the 4 layers of access, transport, control and services and that different entities are involved, and now they ask if there are modifications necessary to satisfy the technical requirements? You can bet there are!

The next fact is that there is no question asking what these different techical reqs are and so on. Are they already known? How to evaluate the above mentioned scenarios and the migration path?

The sister group in UK is e.g. discussing different routing and interconnect scenarios for VoIP.

The rest of the questions is only dealing with cost, price, tariffs, etc. Most of them I cannot translate:
  • Kostenstruktur und Preisbildungsprinzipien für Vorleistungen in IP-basierten Netzen
  • Abrechnungssysteme in der IP-Welt
  • Einheitliche oder unterschiedliche Abrechnungssysteme nach Diensten
  • Parallelität von Abrechnungssystemen in der IP Welt und in leitungsvermittelten Netzen
  • Differenzierte Zusammenschaltungsentgelte
  • Implikationen arbeitsteiligerer Produktion für ein Zusammenschaltungsregime in IP-Netzen
  • Zusammenhang zwischen Endkundenentgelten und Vorleistungsentgelten
They even try to solve some non-existing problems of accounting between ISPs in bullet point 2

I am not quite sure what the outcome of this group will be.

I am avonage and lingo user looking for a company that is similar to these with numbers for Brussels, Belgium and Frankfurt, Germany. Are there any VOIP companys that offer phone numbers from these cities in their service offering?

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