Participants at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) have been reminded of the crucial role that Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) can play in developing Internet services and bringing a wide range of benefits to industry and users alike.
The IGF is currently holding its third, annual meeting this week, bringing together stakeholders from governments, regulators, business, civil society, and the technical community to discuss a wide-ranging agenda of Internet-related issues. The IGF was established by the United Nations as part of the mandate of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
During the workshop “The role of Internet Exchange Points in creating Internet capacity and bringing autonomy to developing nations,” leading technical experts explained the many technical and policy considerations that surround the formation and impact of IXPs.
Michuki Mwangi, Senior Education Manager at the Internet Society (ISOC) explained how Internet Service Providers can, by participating at exchange point facilities, enjoy immediate and ongoing benefits in network performance, quality of service, better access to all local content, and greatly reduced international transit costs.
International transit costs can be prohibitive barriers to the delivery and expansion of services, particularly in developing countries. But peering at an IXP means that interconnected ISPs can keep all their local Internet traffic within the local networks, avoiding the international fees.
As an example, Sebastian Bellagamba, ISOC’s Regional Bureau Manager for Latin America, explained that the experience in Argentina is that “between 35 and 38 percent of the Internet traffic goes through the local links once the IXP is established”.
These savings can be substantial, allowing lower cost of access for the local community. The performance benefits from avoiding the lag in international connections also improves most aspects of the Internet experience for users.
ISOC has an active programme of supporting IXP development and, among many activities, has produced a range of information detailing the technical, policy, and regulatory considerations involved in establishing successful IXPs.