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Growing the Internet Internet Governance

The Content Side of the Access Equation

By Michael Kende and Karen Rose

As the infrastructure necessary for Internet access is becoming more available in developing countries, efforts to close the digital divide have increasingly focused on promoting local content to increase interest in using the Internet and drive uptake.

As we began to think more about the content side of the access equation, we noticed three related points:

  • Most, if not all, developing countries already have local content, typically provided by local newspapers, radio stations, and other businesses and individuals.
  • This content tends to be hosted abroad, even when there are local data centers that could be used.
  • The performance of these websites is often poor, dampening potential usage.  

While it is true that international bandwidth to many developing countries has become dramatically cheaper in recent years, it is still significantly more costly than using domestic links connected to an Internet exchange point (IXP) to connect users with locally developed content.  Also, distance adds latency, which impacts user performance.  As a result, we wondered what dynamics were involved in the decisions on where to host content

We decided to investigate these points more closely, using Rwanda as a case study, in close partnership with Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana and his team at the Ministry of Youth and ICT (MYICT) and with the assistance of the Rwandan Information and Communication Technology Association (RICTA), the IXP and ccTLD operator in the country.  MYICT and RICTA generously facilitated the participation by all significant Rwandan stakeholders in the study.  Using input from the stakeholders, we found the following:

  • Content developers were hosting their websites abroad, largely to save money in hosting costs, however, ISPs had to pay more to deliver the content back to users in country.
  • Websites hosted abroad experienced greater latency than locally hosted sites, which slowed down the delivery of web pages and access speeds fairly significantly.
  • The increased cost of accessing content abroad, along with lower throughput, limits potential Internet consumption and the ability of content producers to provide more advanced, interactive services.

Rwandans have already seen the benefits of local hosting of content.  Google implemented a Google Global Cache in Rwanda several years ago, and more recently, Akamai made a cluster available in Rwanda – both saw their usage increase significantly as users responded to the lower latency and better response times. 

In our paper, released this week, entitled “Promoting Local Content Hosting to Develop the Internet Ecosystem” we investigate the dynamics of hosting content abroad, and highlight the factors that drive hosting decision by local content producers.  We detail how hosting abroad increases the cost and latency of accessing local content, and also present data about the impact of Google and Akamai making content available locally.  We then present business, technical, and policy recommendations that can form an enabling environment for local hosting of content. 

While local content hosting is an important element for creating a vibrant local Internet economy, global hosting options have been important to the development of the industry in Rwanda and elsewhere, and will continue to play a role.  Thus, the report notes that the focus for policymakers, companies, and content entrepreneurs, should be on creating a positive enabling environment that will incentivise local hosting and service development and thereby offer content providers a local choice, rather than imposing measures that artificially require local hosting.  

Categories
Deploy360 Internet of Things (IoT) IPv6

CEA Webinar Archive: Making Content Available On IPv6 and Ensuring the Optimal Customer Experience

CEA IPv6 Content WebinarHow can you make your content available over IPv6 and ensure the optimal customer experience?  That was the topic of a excellent recent webinar from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) on September 16, 2014,  featuring these panelists:

  • John Jason Brzozowski, Comcast (and CEA IPv6 Working Group chair)
  • Leslie Daigle, TCE
  • Vint Cerf, Google
  • Jason Fesler, Yahoo!

The session is now available for your listening and viewing at:

https://consumerelectronics.adobeconnect.com/_a89885078/p2d42e4ygya/

The abstract for the session is:

While some mainstream content providers have enabled their content to be available over both IPv4 and IPv6, a large population of the same continues to be available only over IPv4. Join this webinar to learn why making your content available over IPv6 is critical to the IPv6 transition and more importantly to ensure an optimal customer experience. As part of this webinar, manufacturers, service providers and retailers in the consumer electronics industry will learn why support for IPv6 is important as the steps required to ensure popular consumer electronics are enabled to support and actively using the same.

It was great to hear Leslie Daigle again (given that she used to be involved here) and she started out the session providing statistics about IPv6 and speaking about the impressive growth we’ve seen over the past few years.

Vint Cerf spoke next and first talked about Google’s strong commitment to IPv6 and then discussed what is happening with Nest thermometers (owned by Google) and the new “Thread” protocol being advanced by a group of companies as a method of enabling the “Internet of Things (IoT)”.  Thread is based on IPv6 using the 6LoWPAN technology and provides a powerful way to interconnect devices and services. (I’ll note that earlier this week there was apparently a gathering at Google’s California campus where many people involved with Thread met and provided an update on the project.)

Jason Fesler then spoke about the business case for deploying IPv6 for content providers.  His number one reason was that companies need to “ensure the best possible user experience for our customers.”   He noted that it is not a matter so much of what IPv6 brings us, but rather what is the future of IPv4.  He talked about the challenges of carrier-grade NAT (CGN) and how it limits the ability of a content provider to optimize content for an individual user. He also spoke of  the dangers of CGN in potentially blocking an entire network due to a single bad actor.   Jason then discussed how Yahoo! is preparing to make its web sites and content available to IPv6-only networks, as they do expect to see more of such networks in the years ahead.

After the presentations there was a lengthy Q&A session and more ongoing discussion.

This CEA Webinar was the second in a series of webinars about IPv6.  The first was last month and focused on IPv6 and broadband.  My colleague Phil Roberts wrote about that session (and participated in it) and provided the link to the archive of that session.

It’s great to see these sessions coming from the CEA  and we look forward to future webinars!

If you want to get started making your content available over IPv6, please visit our Start Here page to find resources available to help you. In particular, the IPv6 information for website owners and content providers may be of great help.

Categories
IPv6

CEA Webinar Archive: Making Content Available On IPv6 and Ensuring the Optimal Customer Experience

CEA IPv6 Content WebinarHow can you make your content available over IPv6 and ensure the optimal customer experience?  That was the topic of a excellent recent webinar from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) on September 16, 2014,  featuring these panelists:

  • John Jason Brzozowski, Comcast (and CEA IPv6 Working Group chair)
  • Leslie Daigle, TCE
  • Vint Cerf, Google
  • Jason Fesler, Yahoo!

The session is now available for your listening and viewing at:

https://consumerelectronics.adobeconnect.com/_a89885078/p2d42e4ygya/

The abstract for the session is:

While some mainstream content providers have enabled their content to be available over both IPv4 and IPv6, a large population of the same continues to be available only over IPv4. Join this webinar to learn why making your content available over IPv6 is critical to the IPv6 transition and more importantly to ensure an optimal customer experience. As part of this webinar, manufacturers, service providers and retailers in the consumer electronics industry will learn why support for IPv6 is important as the steps required to ensure popular consumer electronics are enabled to support and actively using the same.

It was great to hear Leslie Daigle again (given that she used to be involved here) and she started out the session providing statistics about IPv6 and speaking about the impressive growth we’ve seen over the past few years.

Vint Cerf spoke next and first talked about Google’s strong commitment to IPv6 and then discussed what is happening with Nest thermometers (owned by Google) and the new “Thread” protocol being advanced by a group of companies as a method of enabling the “Internet of Things (IoT)”.  Thread is based on IPv6 using the 6LoWPAN technology and provides a powerful way to interconnect devices and services. (I’ll note that earlier this week there was apparently a gathering at Google’s California campus where many people involved with Thread met and provided an update on the project.)

Jason Fesler then spoke about the business case for deploying IPv6 for content providers.  His number one reason was that companies need to “ensure the best possible user experience for our customers.”   He noted that it is not a matter so much of what IPv6 brings us, but rather what is the future of IPv4.  He talked about the challenges of carrier-grade NAT (CGN) and how it limits the ability of a content provider to optimize content for an individual user. He also spoke of  the dangers of CGN in potentially blocking an entire network due to a single bad actor.   Jason then discussed how Yahoo! is preparing to make its web sites and content available to IPv6-only networks, as they do expect to see more of such networks in the years ahead.

After the presentations there was a lengthy Q&A session and more ongoing discussion.

This CEA Webinar was the second in a series of webinars about IPv6.  The first was last month and focused on IPv6 and broadband.  My colleague Phil Roberts wrote about that session (and participated in it) and provided the link to the archive of that session.

It’s great to see these sessions coming from the CEA  and we look forward to future webinars!

If you want to get started making your content available over IPv6, please visit our Start Here page to find resources available to help you. In particular, the IPv6 information for website owners and content providers may be of great help.

Categories
Deploy360 IETF IPv6

Want To Make Your Web Content Available over IPv6? Check Out The Excellent RFC 6589

IETF Logo Are you a “content provider,” such as a website operator, seeking to understand how to ensure your content is available over IPv6? Would you like to know what challenges you can expect? What kind of migration strategies you can use?  What you should do for an implementation plan?

If so, the IETF recently published an excellent guide in RFC 6589, “Considerations for Transitioning Content to IPv6 available at:

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6589

The primary author is Jason Livingood of Comcast but many others have contributed to creating an excellent document! It explains both the issues with moving content to IPv6 and offers suggestions for migration plans and implementation tactics. With World IPv6 Launch fast approaching on June 6, 2012, it is excellent to have this document available to help content providers understand what they need to do!

From the introduction to the RFC:

This document describes considerations for the transition of end-user content on the Internet to IPv6. While this is tailored to address end-user content, which is typically web-based, many aspects of this document may be more broadly applicable to the transition to IPv6 of other applications and services. The issues explored herein will be of particular interest to major web content sites (sometimes described hereinafter as “high-service-level domains”), which have specific and unique concerns related to maintaining a high-quality user experience for all of their users during their transition to IPv6. This document explores the challenges involved in the transition to IPv6, potential migration tactics, possible migration phases, and other considerations. Some sections of this document also include information about the potential implications of various migration tactics or phased approaches to the transition to IPv6.

You can see from the table of contents the range of topics covered in the document:

1. Introduction
2. Challenges When Transitioning Content to IPv6
3. IPv6 Adoption Implications
4. Potential Migration Tactics
5. Potential Implementation Phases
6. Other Considerations
6.1. Security Considerations
6.2. Privacy Considerations
6.3. Considerations with Poor IPv4 and Good IPv6 Transport

The document is an excellent guide for content providers and anyone seeking to understand how to make their content available over IPv6. We’ve now added RFC 6589 to our list of resources and look forward to learning how it may help many of you get your content ready for IPv6!