South Africa’s Internet community continues to organise in pursuit of its objective of liberalising the local telecoms market. Figures supplied recently by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) reveal that membership grew 23% between February 2006 and February 2007.
Membership of the 11-year old Internet industry body currently stands at 129 large, medium and small Internet service and access providers. 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 SA.
The latest figures show a marked increase in membership, compared with 12% growth over the previous 12 months.
Ant Brooks, ISPA’s GM, attributes the healthy increase in membership to ISPA’s achievement of many of its stated goals. For example, Government has taken tangible steps towards deregulating the telecoms industry and Voice over IP (VoIP) is now legal.
“The number of ISPA members increases almost on a monthly basis. Attracting ISPs from wide-ranging services and target markets, the rise in membership growth figures may be attributed to the fact that entities are taking various industry issues such as privacy, consumer protection, spam and protection of minors more seriously than before,” he says.
The five categories of ISPA membership are Large, Medium, Small, Affiliate and Honorary. While applicants are free to determine their own membership category, ISPA does provide guidelines on its website.
Interested parties can apply for ISPA membership at www.ispa.org.za/apply
. ISPA’s constitution explains the basic requirements for membership, the categories and fee structure. Applications are sent to ISPA’s membership working group for review and the management committee for approval. The process takes 5 - 6 working days.
ISPA offers potential members the following good reasons to join:
- ISPA strives towards the common good of the Internet industry.
- ISPA maintains strong relationships with relevant authorities such as The Department of Communications (DoC) and the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), which members will significantly benefit from.
- Members of the association will have access to ISPA’s regulatory advisors, who will provide equitable solutions for its members quickly and efficiently.
- ISPA develops and provides members with legal information, advisories, assistance and research results, saving members time, money and resources.
- ISPA members abide by a Code of Conduct indicating to customers that ISPs conduct their businesses according to ethical principles.
- Membership of ISPA will provide your company with free access to general meetings, workshops and conferences where industry concerns can be raised by members.
- ISPA members are encouraged to join one of the many working groups to contribute to the association’s initiatives and activities.
- ISPA has a dedicated secretariat to assist with queries and to keep members informed on all relevant issues.
- ISPA members have access to the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX), which encourages the local routing of Internet traffic not destined for international locations, thereby saving on costs.
- ISPA’s links to global associations ensure that members are kept up-to-date with the latest trends affecting the Internet.