Dominica launches the Caribbean's newest Internet Exchange Point

Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist, Packet Clearing House delivers feature address at DANIX launch, February 2013. Dominica became the latest Caribbean country to establish an Internet exchange point (IXP) when its three local Internet service providers (ISPs) teamed up with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) and US-based Packet Clearing House to launch DANIX Wednesday.

Through the launch of DANIX, Internet traffic originating from one Dominican ISP can now terminate on another local ISP’s network without having to go through lengthy, expensive, international routes.

“An IXP is a physical piece of infrastructure that allows different ISPs to exchange local traffic between their networks without cost,” explained Bevil Wooding, an Internet Strategist with Packet Clearing House and a key technical advisor for the initiative.

Executive Director of the NTRC, Craig Nesty, described the occasion as a “milestone that we should all be proud of”, adding that the three local ISPs--LIME Dominica Limited, Marpin 2K4 Limited and SAT Telecommunications, --“collaborated and cooperated for the greater national good.”

Dominica is now the second country in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and only the third in the English-speaking Caribbean to implement the facility.

“With the Dominica IXP now established, focus must shift to sparking new levels of indigenous innovation, local content creation, and industry growth,” said Wooding, who has helped countries in the region with the IXP establishment process, through the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s regional IXP campaign that has led to the establishment of IXPs in Curacao, St Maarten, British Virgin Islands and Grenada.

Dominica is already benefiting from DANIX. The participating ISPs have all reported fast speeds for traffic moving between their networks. They also noted that faster resolution of domain name queries as a result of the DNS Root Server copy installed by PCH on the island.

“We will now be able to serve some Google content including YouTube videos from right here in Dominica. No longer will it be necessary for every subscriber in Dominica to download a YouTube video from some international source every time they want to view that content,” Mr. Nesty said.

He added that Ross University, one of the largest consumers of bandwidth on the island, is now exploring the possibility of integrating its multimedia content within the IXP.

Engineering manager at Marpin 2K4 Limited, Peter Bannis said, the establishment of DANIX is “a big step for us”.

Minister for Information, Telecommunications and Constituency Empowerment Ambrose George, set the DANIX launch in a wider context, as “another major milestone in the telecommunications liberalisation process”.

Minister George commended CTU and PCH for their role in initiating the process, and thanked the local ISPs and the NTRC for bringing DANIX to fruition. He said the succesful establishment of the IXP represented " content development, cost reduction and better quality of service to the internet eco-system".

The Minister encouraged the NTRC to facilitate training programs for stakeholders to better inform them on the importance and benefits of IXPs.

The CTU, an inter-governmental ICT policy body, has been on a region-wide campaign to sensitize Caribbean Governments about the need to strengthen Internet infrastructure.  The CTU, as part of its Caribbean ICT Roadshow, has been working closely with PCH, the world leading implementer of IXPs, to promote IPX proliferation in the region. The initiative has led to the establishment of IXPs in Curacao, St Maarten, British Virgin Islands and Grenada.

The Dominica Internet Exchange Point, DANIX, was launched at a formal ceremony at the Fort Young Hotel, Rousseau. The event was attended by representatives from the Dominica’s three ISPs, government officials, educators, media and members of the local technology community.