Press release: ISPAs 10 Years Of Internet Activism

Published on: 2006-06-06

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Today is the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Internet Service Providers Association of South Africa (ISPA).

Ten years ago South Africa was ranked the 14th most connected country in the world. Today, weve slipped down to 37th place. The reason is the lack of choice afforded to the Internet consumer due to Telkoms stranglehold over the industry, said Greg Massel, Co-chair of ISPA.

From establishing the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) to influencing South Africa’s telecommunications and Internet policies, ISPA has achieved a great deal for consumers and ISPs in the space of a decade.

ISPAs first battle was simply for recognition. A decade ago Telkom was trying to convince SATRA (SA Telecoms Regulatory Authority) that its monopoly over voice services extended to the Internet as well. In the first setback for the telecoms monopoly, SATRA ruled that Telkom’s monopoly did not extend to the Internet Protocol, thus blocking Telkom’s attempt to extend their monopoly to include Internet access, said Mr Massel.

JINX enables ISPA members to interconnect their networks and exchange traffic in order to save costs. In 1996, JINXs four links boasted speeds varying from 64 kilobytes a second to 256 kilobytes a second. Ten years later, link speeds exceed 100 megabytes a second.

Further key regulatory victories for ISPA included WiFi LANs (Local Area Networks) being declared legal and the ability of ISPA to persuade Parliament and the Department of Communications to amend the Electronic Communications & Transactions Act, the Electronic Communications Act and the Films & Publications Amendment Act to make them fairer to ISPs.

The ISPA founding meeting took place on 6th June 1996 attended by Dave Frankel of Internet Solutions, Jon Oliver of GIA, Mark Todes of Internet Africa, Steve Corkin of Sprint and Ant Brooks of Future Foundation. Currently 113 ISPs are members of ISPA.

A further ISPA achievement and milestone for 2006 is the 5th anniversary of iWeek. This free event takes place from 4 7 September 2006 at The Castle in Kyalami, ISPA and UniForum SAs flagship annual gathering has emerged from a purely South African event to a truly international conference attracting the best and brightest from the worlds Internet community.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association is a South African Internet industry body incorporated not for gain. ISPAs members are comprised of large, medium and small Internet service and access providers in South Africa. ISPA has historically served as an active industry body, facilitating exchange between the different independent Internet service providers, the Department of Communications, ICASA, operators and other service providers in South Africa.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.