How it works
Exchanging electronic documents for post-award processes in PEPPOL requires access and use of the PEPPOL messaging network known as the Transport Infrastructure (in future this will be known as PEPPOL eDelivery). Note that for pre-award processes the use of the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure is optional.
Connecting to the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure takes place using Access Points (operated by Access Point providers) in a similar way to how sending and receiving email requires access to an Internet mail server (provided by Internet Mail Service Providers).
The basic operations of an Access Point are:
The sender of an electronic document (for example an eInvoice, an eOrder or an eCatalogue) sends the document to a PEPPOL Access Point using mechanisms agreed with their Access Point provider.
The Access Point identifies the service required (and may validate the type of document being sent) and also identifies the Access Point for the recipient.
The Access Point delivers the document to the recipient's Access Point.
The receiving Access Point delivers the document to the recipient.
Access Point providers typically connect to their customers through their existing networks and use the PEPPOL Access Point to exchange documents with other Access Point providers. So the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure can be considered as providing a ‘gateway’ or ‘bridge’ between specific eProcurement communities or service platforms. We call this federated network of Access Points connected to each other, the PEPPOL community.
PEPPOL Access Points may be provided by any organization that agrees to the section of the PEPPOL Transport Infrastructure Agreement covering Access Point Providers, and implements the PEPPOL business processes relevant to their service offering (for example, eOrdering and eInvoicing).
Currently PEPPOL Access Points are provided by government agencies, private companies and also as value added services by eBusiness network providers. The list of currently certified PEPPOL Access Points is available here.