Just over two years ago, in December 2012, five local network operators signed an MOU to formally establish Vanuatu Internet Exchange with all industry stakeholders (bar an incumbent telecom operator).
Just three months later IXP infrastructure setup was complete and first connections were established to the IXP. Google turned up a few months later to setup a Google cache server, this followed by the installation of i-root and e-root server.
In May 2014 the last incumbent Telco joined the IXP, taking the total number of participants at the Vanuatu IXP to six.
We have witnessed a significant increase to egress traffic from the IXP since the IXP’s inception, with current average egress traffic of 120Mbps during peak hours.
Internet experience for the local community has improved significantly since the establishment of the Vanuatu IXP and continues to do so as more contents/services are added to the IXP. The Vanuatu IXP, which is currently housed at the Vanuatu Government Datacenter, has since become critical infrastructure for Vanuatu.
Ingredients of success
The success of Vanuatu’s IXP is attributed to the excellent working relationship between the Telecommunications industry, the Government and the Telecommunications Regulator (TRR) who worked together.
The fast deployment of the VIX can also be attributed to the fact that technical representatives from each network operator were involve at the beginning to setup the IXP committee, draw up the VIX policy and build the infrastructure with assistance from Philip Smith and APNIC.
VIX has received excellent support from organizations such as APNIC, NSRC, PCH, Google, Netnod, PITA and certain individuals such as Philip Smith towards its establishment.
Several other countries within the Pacific region stand to follow suit in establishing their IXPs with Samoa taking the lead and PNG and Fiji showing some interest as well.
Samoa held an IXP workshop recently with international IXP experts from APNIC, ICANN, ISOC and NSRC providing information to Samoa to kick-start the process. Vanuatu OGCIO received an invitation to join this workshop from Samoa to share our success story on establishing VIX. I joined the workshop to share the story. It was a great opportunity to work together with our colleagues in the Pacific Islands region. From my personal observation, Samoa can successfully establish its IXP: they have the right team of people to take the initiative forward, and with backing from the Samoan Government and the Telecommunications regulator, Samoa stands to have its IXP up and running within the next couple of months. Samoa stands to receive lots of outside support in its quest to establish its IXP; technical support as well as donations in kind, just as Vanuatu IXP received tremendous external support.
Jethro Webston worked as a Network Engineer for Telecom Vanuatu Ltd for six years before joining the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer to assume the role of Network Manager. He also serves as chairman of the Vanuatu Internet Exchange committee. He received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology from Manukau Institute of Technology in New Zealand. As a network engineer and Vanuatu native, Jethro played a key role in the establishment of the Vanuatu Internet Exchange and other ICT developments in Vanuatu.
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