" ITREALMS: InterStella reaffirms position on exclusive gateway


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

InterStella reaffirms position on exclusive gateway

Proprietor of the National Internet Gateway (NiGate), Interstella Communications Limited, has reaffirmed its resolve to implement the exclusive Internet gateway as contained in its license in the country.

Chairman, Interstella Communications Limited, Mr. Obi Thomson, while addressing newsmen at the weekend, insisted that it was unlawful for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to have set up the Nigerian Internet Exchange Point (NIXP).

He noted that already, his firm has instituted a court case requesting the dismantling of NIXP, stressing that Internet is inherently a monopoly infrastructure.

“Our grounds are clear, it was unlawfully setting up by the NCC, which does not have the power to set up any such entity. It is therefore a nullity,” he asserted.

Mr. Obi also said that NIXP was set up regardless of the fact that the issue of exclusivity of his firm’s license was already before the honourable court at the time the purported set up occurred.

He suggested that the court should now be allowed to determine the court action, and sympathized with Nigerians over the use of public funds that were unlawfully invested on NIXP project.

“Interstella Communications Limited is not seeking an exclusive license to operate the nation’s Internet gateways and exchanges network as being wrongly alleged. We already have the exclusivity,” Mr. Obi asserted.

He said “It is expressly stated in the license issued to us by the NCC. If anybody is unhappy with this fact, he or she should go to the NCC and complain. We did not write the license.

Speaking about the inherent monopolistic nature of Internet, he argued, “unknown to some so-called experts is the fact that the Internet is inherently a monopoly.”

While throwing more light on the nature of Internet, Mr. Obi, recalled that the issue at stake at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) held in Tunis in 2005 was the issue of Internet monopoly by the United States.

“What nations have done is to try and set up certain streamlining infrastructures within their borders for their internal control of the Internet,” he argued.

He explained that in order to develop any nation’s component of the global network called the Internet, the first thing to do is to define and designate locations at which Internet traffic converges within specific geographic localities in a country, as well as how Internet traffic enters and leaves a country.

“This is what gateways or exchanges points are. Centralization is inherent in the concept,” he said, adding that this scientific fact by itself evidently shows “it is an undertaking that cannot be left in the hands of Internet bandwidth traders and amateurs who parade themselves in the land as experts.

He emphasised that it is certainly not a mere ‘’layer 2’’ function requiring simple devices. It is this type of uninformed and inexperienced description of a national Internet gateway cum exchange networks that made the so-called NIXP a stillbirth of purpose.

He also explained that unknown to the some of us the very thing they fight against is exactly what obtains behind the scene in those countries from where they are presently importing Internet access.

“All we’re doing is to domicile the same facility in Nigeria so that the full benefits remain in Nigeria. Nigeria is not a cyber protectorate,” he asserted.

He further argued that if Nigeria has the proper facility, as being claimed by the management of NIXP, then why is the landscape littered with various Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) pointing to various foreign networks.

“Why are these ‘bandwidth traders’ providing Internet services in Nigeria from hubs in USA and European Union (EU)? Why are those hubs not located in Nigeria?” he wondered.

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