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Minutes of Meeting

"Internet players in Vietnam"
01.10.13, UNDP Hanoi, from 9:00 to 12:00

organized by ISOC members in Vietnam,
as a joint activity with UNDP's "Partnerships to Fight Poverty" Meeting
17 Participants

Stefan Probst:
Thanks to Vern Weitzel for helping to organize and UNDP for hosting the event.
Thanks to Hoang Minh Cuong for engagement in inviting other players.
Thanks to Vern for taking minutes.
Introduction about the Internet Society in Vietnam ("ISOC-VN")

Mr. Hoang Minh Cuong (VNNIC) explains relationships within the Department General of Posts and Telecoms (DGPT):

* VN-NIC (Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre)
- one of DGPT's Departments
- responsibilities: .vn domain names, .vn Domain Name Server, IP numbers for Vietnam, Protocols. "Internet Resources".
- three divisions: Technical, Information, Administration
- all together 12 staff, Cuong is chief of Tech Division
- makes proposals to Policy Department
- implements policies of Policy Department

* Policy Department
- one of DGPT's Departments
- drafts regulations etc. and submits to other authorities to issue

For more about DGPT structure see

- the business unit of DGPT
- VDC is "member unit" company under VNPT,

VNNIC has some international contact to IANA and ICANN, but few others.
They are waiting for new standards and will implement them then in VN.

VNNIC is considering to become an ICANN accredited registrar for gTLDs
(i.e. .com, .net, .org, .info, etc.).

New policy (probably soon to be released): A .vn domain can be located
anywhere, not only inside Vietnam as it is now.

Mr. Tran Ba Thai asks about the status of the postulated ICT Ministry.
VNNIC has no information.

Mr. Thai: VN is very inactive in contributing to international standard setting
procedures, e.g. concerning the actual issue about multilingual domain
names (MLDs). It was in the past already the same when setting UNICODE

Stefan: Multilingual name standards are being developed regionally, mainly
by Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea. Viet Nam is by contrast following others
and not helping make the standards.

Mr. Cuong: Now, translation of domains in Chinese requires a client for the
computer to translate UNICODE to ASCII. There is no client for Vietnamese
names yet.

Stefan: Right now it is not (yet) about the usage of MLDs (for which those
clients would be needed), but about setting the standards. Vietnam should
be more active in contributing to the definition of the translation
algorithms. This would take a little time to organize, but it would be
fairly easy.

Mr. Romeo Bertolini (ZEF Bonn - on fact finding mission for possible future
German governmental development aid in ICT for Vietnam): So this is
technically possible and should be done. This issue could be studied.

General discussion over moving websites to UNICODE. It may be possible for VNNIC to help, e.g. by informing domain name holders.

Mr. Thai: Better to go from the grass roots to influence government.

Concerning VDC structure, the same technicians work at the core, backbone or ISP. There is no division in VDC between IAP (IXP) and ISP.

Firewall: Each ISP manages its own firewall. The equipment and SW of the
previous national firewall is now VDC's wall. VDC still runs several (or
all?) services through their firewall, at least incl. telnet. Netnam uses
their firewall only for web. According to Thai, with Nimda and CodeRed
viruses, no standard application-based firewall can handle that load.

Some organisation in State Security (no specific answer) provides the
blocked-site list. Netnam follows the list that VDC uses.

Bandwidth: every ISP and IXP-leased-line users has the same access to the
core. VDC technical department propose new bandwidth and new routes (i.e.
which medium to use to which network hub), managers decide then. This
process took months in the past, but only 2 weeks now. In the last weeks,
national bandwidth to the outside increased from 34 to 40Mbps. Load on
those lines is usually less than 70% of capacity.

Vern Weitzel: Virus problem. Is this a national security problem? Viet Nam
has no Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), unlike some other countries in the region. Hence, Viet Nam is exposed to computer-related disasters.

Mr. Thai: Except Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, Vietnam is the only country in the region which doesn't have one.

Short mentioning of Decree 55. Stefan says it is a very good paper, but
much will depend on the outstanding guiding regulations.

Note from Stefan, to which Mr. Thai agrees: MOSTE has lost power/influence mainly to DGPT with Decree 55. Thai advises that this has a lot to do with the personalities of the leaders.

Mr. Tran Ba Thai is invited to discuss Netnam ISP. Thai says it is hard to
compete with a large organisation like VDC or with the aggressive marketing
of FPT. Netnam concentrates on LAN-based corporate services and technical innovation. One example is the Universal Messaging System (UMS). He says their system is based on pattern synthesis (a competing system being developed in HCMC University by one of their former students is based on a dictionary).

Concerning SMS, Netnam stopped this service, since with the introduction of fees for SMS, they can't afford it anymore. Only mobile phone network
providers like GPC (VinaPhone) or VMS (MobiFone) could do that, since it
doesn't cost them extra.

Stefan proposes to VNNIC to publish not only the number of Internet
subscribers in their statistics. The current situation is inadequate,
relying on 'subscribers' only, which is not a true indication of the number
of users, since neither multiple users on one line (Internet Cafes,
offices), nor users on non-account dial-up (1268/1269 service) are counted.
Furthermore it is quite cheap to have an account, but not to use it, i.e.
people might have an account, but rarely use it. A better indicator for the
development of the Internet in Vietnam would be the usage time (in on-line
minutes). Cuong advises that this is the subject of an internal discussion
within DGPT. VDC has this information but FPT would not release theirs to
VNNIC. When asked, Thai says that Netnam is open and ready to provide this information.

Question from Stefan: How is usage calculated for leased lines? Cuong did
not know the exact formula but it relies on equating the size of a line to
a certain number of users.

Mr. Thai: One important phenomenon in Viet Nam are chat services. These are
heavily used by young people. Sometimes over 1000 people are logged in at
one time. Different countries have different strategies: SMS is very
popular in the Philippines.

Stefan proposes to VNNIC to inform domain name holders: All domains should come with such email addresses as postmaster@domain, webmaster@domain and abuse@domain (there is an RFC about that). ISOC Viet Nam could assist with this.

Stefan informs: Problem with VDC's SMTP servers which prevents
organisations with their own domains from sending mail: Danish, Swedish,
Swiss embassies, ADB, several Vietnamese companies etc. This is because VDC has changed its mail server settings to reduce excessive spamming by some high school students: The "from:" address has now to be a "" domain. This makes VDC's SMTP server however quite uninteresting/useless for most organisations, which have their own non-vn domain.

Netnam applies different (i.e. more "standard") anti-spam measures, which
allow the use of other domains without any problem. When asked, Thai
confirmed, that Netnam has no intention to change that policy.

- . -
Note: The correctness of these minutes have not been confirmed by the
quoted speakers and other attendees. If anybody of them thinks, he/she is
not mentioned adequately, or wrongly, then pls. contact Vern Weitzel or
Stefan Probst.
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