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#503851 - 04/30/15 05:45 PM Internet providers sign for first ever IXP
Marty Offline
Belize to Establish its First IXP in Order to Offer Faster Internet

With broadband service slow and unavailable in much of the country, Belize is gearing up to build its first Internet exchange point (IXP) in a bid to persuade more people to sign up for superior service.

Telecoms operators in Belize have signed a Memorandum of Understunding (MoU) to create the country's first local internet exchange point (IXP), Trinidad Guardian reports. According to the report, major telecom operators have reached an understanding to participate in the construction of the IXP, which eases the movement of data on the network and will thus reduce the average per-bit delivery cost of the service.

An Internet exchange point is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange traffic between their networks.

IXPs avoid the need for data to travel to other countries to get from one network to another, thus reducing latency. Today, many ISPs in the region need to pass the data through networks in the United States before rerouting to their consumers in island nations.

The companies that signed the deal include Alliance IP, Belize Telemedia, BroadBand Belize, Centaur Communications Corporation, Network Solutions and Speednet.

The World Bank has already lent a huge sum of money to fund IXPs across the region, with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union(CTU) teaming up with U.S.-based consultancy firm Packet Clearing House (PCH) to advise regional governments on bolstering the telecom infrastructure.

Over the past two years, dozens of IXPs have surfaced in several Caribbean countries including Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and the Dominican Republic.

Analysts say the proliferation of IXPs could speed up the delivery of Internet-based services such as video conferencing, voice of IP, data backup and online gaming.

Although Belize is a relatively wealthy country, its telecoms service is poor by regional standards. According to telecom research firm Buddecomm, there is little or no demand for fixed-line service, with the majority of the population subscribing to mobile service. The mobile sector account for about 90% of all phone subscriptions in the country.

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#503864 - 04/30/15 10:46 PM Re: Internet providers sign for first ever IXP [Re: Marty]
klcman Offline
curious as to what speed constitutes "broadband" in Belize.

Here in the US (which certainly is not the leader in broadband services for it's citizens), this past January 2015, the Federal Communications Commission changed the definition of broadband and raised the minimum download speeds needed from 4Mbps (what is was in 2010) to 25Mbps. The he minimum upload speed under the new definition increased from 1Mbps to 3Mbps.
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#503871 - 05/01/15 02:31 AM Re: Internet providers sign for first ever IXP [Re: Marty]
SimonB Offline

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#503880 - 05/01/15 11:24 AM Re: Internet providers sign for first ever IXP [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize Is Getting Faster Internet

Sometimes the best solution to a technical problem is social engineering. After a journey of two years, that’s exactly how Belize has come to a major milestone in its technological development.

The country’s Internet service providers (ISPs) have committed to set up Belize’s first-ever Internet exchange point (IXP), a piece of critical Internet infrastructure through which they can exchange local Internet traffic between their networks. The process was as simple—and as difficult—as getting nine Internet service providers (ISPs), all fierce competitors, to agree to work together for the greater good.

Belize Telemedia, Speednet, BroadBand Belize, and Network Solutions signed the historic agreement on April 16 at the University of Belize’s (UB) Belize City campus, clearing the way for the establishment of the region’s latest IXP, called Belize IX or BIX.

“As with all things important and meaningful, it was not an easy task to get to this point. However, the journey of the negotiating the pathway to this agreement for the Belize Internet exchange (BIX) was in indeed rewarding,” said Michael Kong, owner and CEO at NetKing Solutions, who spoke at the signing on behalf of the ISPs.

Other signatures to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) include Centaur Communications Corporation, Alliance IP Belize and NetKing Solutions.

“I speak on behalf of all providers when I say that determined team effort and collaboration for the greater good made this historic day a reality. We can all be happy and proud to know we are part of a milestone that will go down in ICT history in Belize,” Kong said.

The agreement marks a significant moment for Belize. It is the first time that the country’s ISPs put aside their differences to work together to address a challenge that affects them all—bandwidth.

“The upcoming launch of BIX will put an end to a costly and inefficient situation whereby data and access to other critical local services has to be routed internationally just to get back to a local customer, who could be only a few feet away from the person who sent it. In other words, we were using expensive international Internet connections to exchange domestic traffic,” said Bevil Wooding, Internet strategist with international non-profit Packet Clearing House, speaking in an interview following the signing.

Packet Clearing House, a non-profit organisation, plays a key role in implementing IXPs around the world. In the Caribbean, Wooding and his team have worked closely with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, regulators and local ISPs to set up IXPs across the region.

Faster Net Traditionally, local internet traffic would need to leave Belize to an ISP in the United States and then get rerouted back to Belize. Once BIX is set up, that local traffic will no longer have to leave the country. That means better speeds for local Internet users.

Establishing a local IXP brings benefits not only to local consumers but also to the ISPs’ bottom line, Wooding explained.

“A local IXP improves the quality and cost effectiveness of delivering local Internet-enabled services to citizens and businesses. That’s a major benefit for local ISPs. The IXP also enables new forms of local innovation and entrepreneurship, as Internet users benefit from greater opportunities for e-commerce and local content development, including online education.”

Alan Slusher, President of the University of Belize, said the university “is looking forward to greatly expanding its capacity to deliver training across the length and breadth of the country and directly into the homes and workplaces of our work people. Thus greatly reducing the costs of education while expanding its availability. We are looking for a great leap forward as a result of this corporation.”

The soon-to-be established IXP will not only address the inefficiency of local Internet traffic exchange. It will also allow other important Internet infrastructure to be located in Belize, such as domain name root services and content delivery caches from major content networks like Google, Netflix and Yahoo.

Roosevelt Blades, chair of the ISP working group, is already looking ahead. He announced at the signing there are plans to have a similar facility built in Belmopan, once the Belize City IX is up and running.

Technical discussions about how to set up the IXP started two years ago, with a working group that included ISPs, the Belize Public Utilities Commission, government ministries, Packet Clearing House with support from other regional stakeholders, including the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, and the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG).

Speaking at an October 2013 CaribNOG event at which the plans to establish BIX were announced, Kingsley Smith, then Director of Telecommunications at the Belize Public Utilities Commission said, “This development is expected to provide significant benefits to local ISPs and the Internet users in Belize.”

With the signing finally becoming a reality, Belizean Internet users are one step closer to a faster, stronger and more secure Internet.

Caribbean Journal


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