Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 9th 2014 Contents &T became the latest
Caribbean country to take a
key step toward building a
more robust domestic Internet.
The establishment of the T&T Internet
Exchange, dubbed TTIX, situates a critical
piece of Internet infrastructure locally and
clears the way for a new phase of local Internet
"The launch of TTIX is a very significant
milestone in our continuing effort to facilitate
the creation of a domestic Internet infrastruc-
ture that is more resilient, more efficient and
more secure," said Kurleigh Prescod, chairman
Around the world, Internet exchange points
(IXPs) serve as a catalyst to dramatically enrich
a country s Internet ecosystem. The reason is
simple. IXPs are a vital part of global Internet.
Without them, the Internet could not function
because the different networks that make up
the Internet would not be able to exchange
traffic with each other. With them ISPs are
able to cost-effectively connect their customers
to locally destined content and services.
"This new local Internet Exchange will ben-
efit private and commercial internet users in
T&T in a number of ways," Prescod explained.
"Not only will it improve local Internet per-
formance, it will act as an incentive to attract
content providers, such as Netflix, Akamai,
and Google to establish a point of presence
The T&T exchange point brings together
seven of the country s Internet service
providers. Telecommunications Services of
T&T (TSTT), Digicel, Massy Communications,
Open Telecom, Greendot, Lisa Communica-
tions and Flow have signed on to TTNIX and
are now all connected to a special network
switch that is physically located at the Fujitsu
data centre in Barataria. Fujitsu is providing
rack space and the IXP switch at its data centre
in Barataria free of charge for four years.
In a release from TTIX, Jean-Paul Dookie,
executive vice president of government busi-
ness for Fujitsu, Trinidad, said, "We view the
TTIX as an essential building block towards
the development of the T&T knowledge econ-
omy, through the efficiency enabled for local
content creation and collaboration, through
this peering point."
Supporting Internet development
There are more than 350 IXPs around the
world and they have proven to be integral to
the Internet infrastructure of many nations,
offering more than just cost and performance
benefits. For a relatively small investment, a
well-run IX opens a new world of possibilities
by allowing Internet service providers a low-
cost option for delivering local Internet traffic.
This, in turn, allows local application developers
and organizations to develop products and
services that take advantage of new high-
speed, low cost local Internet access.
The promise of a better local Internet expe-
rience, data security and commercial oppor-
tunities has been one of the greatest incentives
to establishing IXPs across the Caribbean. The
TTNIX exchange now brings to eight the num-
ber of active IXPs in the Caribbean. T&T joins
British Virgin Islands (BVIX), Curacao (AMS-
IX), Dominica (DANIX), Grenada (GREX), Haiti,
St Maarten (OCIX) and St Lucia (SLIX) as
Caribbean countries with exchange points.
Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis
and St Vincent and the Grenadines are also
actively engaged in setting up local exchange
"Tremendous progress has been made in
sensitising the region to the importance of
building out national Internet infrastructure.
Now we are seeing the fruit," said Bernadette
Lewis, secretary general of the Caribbean
Telecommunications Union (CTU).
TTNIX was a direct result years of education,
outreach and ongoing efforts by the CTU to
promote the proliferation of IXPs in the
Caribbean. The CTU has had the support of
regional regulators and international Internet
development institutions. In fact, new col-
laborations have come to define the IX process
in the region.
The CTU s collaboration with international
Internet research non-profit, Packet Clearing
House has been instrumental in raising aware-
ness of the importance of local IXPs to the
region s development. The Internet Society
(ISOC), and the International Telecommuni-
cations Union (ITU) have also been supportive
of countries seeking to strengthen their domes-
tic Internet infrastructure.
From local peering to local content
Each IX established in a positive step. How-
ever the launch of an IX is not enough to guar-
antee its success. ISPs get the immediate ben-
efit of more efficient, cost-effective traffic
exchange. The development of local applica-
tions and content to take advantage of the
availability of a local exchange point will not
happen automatically. Realising the larger eco-
nomic and societal benefits require effort,
strategy and leadership.
Exchange points have to have a clear plan
for attracting local and international content
providers and encouraging local Internet inno-
vation. In addition, deliberate steps can now
be taken to attract and incentivise local organ-
izations to build local apps, create local content
and deploy local services that take advantage
of the local exchange.
Further, stakeholders from private, public
sectors, academia, and civil society have to be
sensitised to new opportunities and supported
in their efforts to take advantage of them.
Each new Caribbean Internet exchange is
already helping to inform the dialogue among
government, business, policymakers, technol-
ogy innovators and entrepreneurs still con-
tending with access costs and bandwidth
issues. The key will be to translate the new
dialog into meaningful action.
More exchange points in the Caribbean
ensure that more Caribbean Internet traffic
stays in Caribbean With every megabyte of
local traffic that does not have to be needlessly
exported and with every millisecond saved in
local Internet transmissions, IXPs confirm
their place as enablers of the domestic digital
More IXPs also means the region gets a
more robust, secure, economical and better
performing domestic Internet. The result is a
Caribbean Internet that is better for consumers
and businesses, better for spurring new enter-
prise, and better for strengthening the
Caribbean Internet economy.
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt OCTOBER 2014 • WEEK TWO
T&T launches local exchange... Barbados, Jamaica soon to follow
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