Monday, March 13, 2006

IP based NGN TAX at Dhaka? or Internet Held Hostage? 

Yesterday I received a curious e-mail out of nowhere (from Optimum T&D?) with the above text in the reference and the following text (including typos):
Dear Sir,

It is our pleasure to take an opportunity to an International tender enquiry as noified by Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board for supply, installation, testing and commissioning of IP based NGN Tax at Dhaka, Khulna, Jessore, Barisal and Kushtia on turnkey basis. Bid submission is due on 26th April '2006. Please note that the project is financed by the Government of Bangldesh.

It would highly be appreciated if you kindly forward this enquriy to the specific person for our sake.

Thanks in advance for your kind support & cooperation in this instance.

Best regards. / K. M. Haque
First I already wanted to delete it as spam, but then I asked myself what a TAX is on a Turnkey basis is and why it requires installation, testing and commissioning.

Since curiously (especially for a spam) no links where provided, I googled for Bangladesh Telephone Board and found BTTB online, and there was on the bottom a link pointing to BTTB Tender Info and there it was:

Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of a Common Platform for exchanging VoIP and Internet Traffic on turn-key basis" (Book-1 and Book-2).

So nothing about tax, it is a tender for a national IP and VoIP platform!

Book 1 contains mostly the legal and procedural stuff for the tender, Book 2 contains the proposed network architecture and the requirements.

From quick scanning the 150 pages I get the following impression: the Bangladesh Government wants to implement a state owned international gateway both for IP traffic and also for VoIP traffic. All national ISPs and also all ITSPs (Internet Telephony Service Providers) MUST connect to this platform:
The Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, represented by Bangladesh T&T Board (BTTB) intends to deliver huge bandwidth getting through SEA-ME-WE4 Submarine Cable to the subscribers’ like-households, corporate offices, international organizations, Internet service providers, government/semi-government/autonomous offices/ research organizations and educational institutes. As such it intends to procure all the required products and services for the work as mentioned subsequently in this Bidding Document in the name of "Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of a Common Platform for exchanging VoIP and Internet Traffic on turn-key basis”.
Brief description of the Network:
Under this Procurement, Common Platform will consist of 4 Nodes. The Nodes will be installed at Dhaka, Chittagong, Bogra and Sylhet. The connectivity among MPLS enabled Routers of these sites is shown in Fig- 3.1. Chittagong Router will act as International Gateway Router. The capacity requirement of this Gateway Router along with Backbone Routers at other nodes is given in Annex-1.3. BTTB’s Internet Uplink (s) will be terminated here. The links carrying Voice traffic of different ITSPs will also be terminated here. From this gateway router the voice traffic of different ITSP will be forwarded to respective ITSP’s router with ensured bandwidth, for which ITSP has been committed. The voice traffic for Chittagong ITSPs and Internet Traffic for Chittagong will be forwarded to Chittagong LAN. Traffic along the different links is narrated below ...
So the government wants to control all Internet traffic and especially the Voice traffic. And as usual, this hinders innovation: looking at the requirements, it is obvious that it took them 4 years to develop the tender, as one can easily see from the state-of-art of the referenced standards. It is basically a softswitch architecture providing all interfaces including ISDN, SS7 and last but not least V5.2 and R2. And of course H.323

SIP is mentioned only as a side remark, referencing RFC 3261 and RFC 3262 (not even RFC 3263!)

Bid submission is due April 26th, 2006, so dear incumbent manufacturers, get going: this is the last chance to get rid of your obsolete boxes in store.

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