The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) has joined three internet service providers here, LIME Dominica Limited, Marpin 2K4 Limited and SAT Telecommunications to establish Dominica’s Internet Exchange Point (IXP).
The network, called the Dominica National Internet Exchange Point (DANIX), was formally launched at a ceremony at the Fort Young Hotel on Wednesday evening.
An IXP is a physical piece of infrastructure, literally a switch that allows different internet service providers to exchange local traffic between their networks without cost.
Executive Director of the NTRC, Craig Nesty, has described the launch of IXP as a significant achievement for Dominica.
“This is a milestone that we should be proud of. Firstly, we are not only the second country in the O.E.C.S and the third in the English speaking Caribbean to implement such a network device, which enables more efficient use of the internet, but the whole process manifest a new dimension in the competitive telecommunications landscape, where the internet service providers (ISP) collaborated and cooperated for the greater national good,” he said.
Nesty explained that as a result of DANIX, internet traffic originating from one local IXP can terminate on another local IXP and vice-versa.
The benefit, according to him, is that all this will be done without having to go through lengthy, expensive, international routes.
“The routing configurations enable only traffic originating in Dominica on one ISP and destined for Dominica on a different ISP to traverse that switch,” he said.
Nesty made it clear that “This is not a device for Government to spy, as some have relayed.”
“While we can guarantee this venture will drive the retail cost of broad band down in the short term, it will however facilitate a number of new initiatives and reduce the amount of expensive international band width required by the ISP’s,” he said.
He said the IXP will allow for greater efficiency in accessing e-government initiatives.
“As Government provides more online services such as ASYCUDA, the Government of Dominica website and soon e-tax filing and other e-government initiatives, the IXP will enable greater efficiency and ensure that all internet subscribers on the island will have the most direct access to these services, irrespective of the ISP provider they subscribe to or the ISP provider who provides the connectivity to these services,” Nesty pointed out.
MNesty indicated that Ross University and Google have both welcomed the IXP initiative.
He encouraged local internet content providers on the island to make an effort to bring their content back to Dominica.
Meantime Minister responsible for Information, Telecommunications and Constituency Empowerment, Ambrose George, has described the development as another major milestone in the island’s telecommunications liberalization process.
“As a continuum of the process towards the journey, today’s occasion also highlights the continued opportunities to harness the rich potential of the creative and cohesive combination of public and private sector initiative and action,” he said.
George noted further, “that of significance are the benefits it presents for stimulating a new entrepreneurial class and the opportunities that are potentially available in content development, cost reduction and better quality of service to the internet eco-system.”
The Minister challenged the NTRC to facilitate training programs for stakeholders to better inform them on the importance and benefits of IXP’s.
“I urge you as NTRC, as regulator, that in the next six to twelve months, you bring together stakeholders, such as engineers from the three Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), other regulatory entities, the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC), the Bureau of Standards, Financial Institutions, local tertiary institutions, the tax, customs and revenue authorities among others to receive technical hands on training as it relates to the benefits of IXP’s,” he said.
The NTRC received technical expertise in setting up its IXP from the Caribbean Telecommunications Union/Packet Clearing House.