Direct IP Model
On March 21 2002 ANATEL (the Brazilian Telecommunications Agency) published Public Consultation 372 concerning the role of telecommunication services and networks, in particular the switched fixed telephone service (SFTS) in internet access. The document proposes three internet access models as follows:
- the current model;
- a model that employs the '0i00' non-geographic coding system; and
- a direct internet protocol (IP) model consisting of flat-rate internet access, based on the English 'FRIACO' (flat-rate internet access call origination) model.
The common aims of these alternatives are:
- to preserve the rights of telecommunications service users, including (i) nationwide access to high-quality services; (ii) non-discriminatory treatment of internet users; and (iii) freedom of choice of services and providers;
- to develop and expand telecommunications services and network use, with particular emphasis on: (i) maximum use of infrastructure, in particular the SFTS access networks; (ii) interconnection between telecommunications networks; and (iii) benefits for consumers as a result of technological convergence; and
- to universalize telecommunications services, with a view to further popularizing internet access.
The main characteristics of the models are outlined below.
It is suggested that the current model for internet access be preserved, with no alterations to billing, numbering, routing or the telecommunications service providers with regard to interconnection and remuneration for network use.
Under the 0i00 model, ANATEL establishes specific conditions for use of the SFTS in calls between users and internet access providers. Individual non-geographic access codes will be assigned to connection providers.
SFTS providers will set a flat rate (enabling users to estimate expenditures) and all calls will be intemized on users' bills.
This model is intended to promote interconnection between SFTS networks and those of other telecommunications service providers.
Under the direct IP model, other providers (eg, mobile communications system providers) will use SFTS networks to handle the internet traffic of SFTS users. Users will contract with a mobile communications system provider whose network is connected to a SFTS provider network, thereby enabling dial-up internet access.
This model is intended to encourage interconnection between SFTS networks in the local mode and mobile communications providers. The latter will bill users and remunerate SFTS providers for the use of their networks.
All mobile communications providers will be assigned an identical, single access code for the provision of internet access, and will create service plans using billing criteria that are commensurate with the connection provider's traffic (including a flat-rate plan).
Traffic is characterized as 'IP' or 'direct IP' according to the traffic's starting point.
Comments were invited on the three regulatory alternatives until April 22 2002, particularly concerning other viable alternatives.
For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Barretto or Fernanda Bottura Casella at Barretto Ferreira, Kujawski, Brancher e Gonçalves – Sociedade de Advogados by telephone (+55 11 3066 5999) or by fax (+55 11 3167 4735) or by email ([email protected] or [email protected]).