And our first to last story tonight is one of the most important – and that's because it has a whole lot to do with your internet connection speed.  All Belize's major internet service providers have come together to create a local internet switch which is housed at the UB Campus in Belize City.  That means that all local web traffic will be routed through this switch.  We found out what this will mean today:…

This rack of equipment may not look like much, and if we say that all of it costs about a hundred grand, you might still not be impressed, but if we tell you that the key to Belize's internet future is stacked up right here, then maybe you'd start to get the sense of how important the Belize Internet Exchange Point is:

Bevel Wooding - Packet Clearing House
"There is an unfulfilled potential inside of Belize as it relates to development of local services that run on the local network that support local needs and those are the needs that we need to identify move forward with."

Here's what it does: all the major ISP's – or internet service providers, such as BTL or SMART joined together to create the exchange – so that you will get faster interconnection on local internet exchanges.  In the past that traffic would all have to be routed through Miami:

Bevel Wooding - Packet Clearing House
"So let's think about it in terms of two neighbours and one is asking the other for sugar to be passed over the fence separating their properties. Before the IX that sugar packet would have to instead of going straight over the fence would have to go up to the airport, jump a flight, head to Miami, get a connecting flight, fly back to Belize City to walk down the same street to go right next door. Now as foolish as that sounds, as expensive as that sounds, inefficient as that sounds, that is what the Belize internet looked like before we turned on the IX yesterday. Today with the exchange point in place, you can now hand that packet straight over the fence."

Of course, having the switch doesn't just mean higher quality Whatsapp or Viber calls for example, it means developing new opportunities:

Bevel Wooding - Packet Clearing House
"It's a big deal stopping packets flying out and come back in but the bigger deal would be moving those packers get to the chefs who can make our new internet applications that connect our schools, that link our judiciary, that connect the police service, that link up our hospitals, that facilitate e-health solutions, that allow government to deliver new services. That's really where the action is and that's where you start to see the real celebration cause is today. We can now get more packets over the fence and now we can have for the first time a real conversation around what do we want to make, to bake, to make the internet in Belize sweeter if you will."

That will take some time, but for today history was made:

Bevel Wooding - Packet Clearing House
"This is the first internet exchange point in the Caribbean regions where all of the major internet service providers are present from the start."

The Internet Service Providers have chosen Errol Cattouse form Centaur Communications as their Chairman. Notably, the PUC – which spearheaded the initiative says that Google, Youtube and Facebook have committed to setting up their own servers in Belize – which would make traffic to those sites faster.

Channel 7