BRIDGETOWN, Barbados—The first-ever Caribbean Peering and Internet Connection Forum (CarPIF) successfully concluded with commitments from Internet companies Akamai Technologies and Google to pay closer attention to the needs of Caribbean Internet service providers and consumers. More than forty regional and international technology experts met in Barbados on May 27 to 28 to discuss strategies for improving the economics and technical efficiency of Internet content delivery in the Caribbean.
The meeting, organised by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), explored the state of Caribbean Internet infrastructure, the impact of local Internet exchange point (IXP) deployment in the region, and practical steps for improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of Internet service across the region.
The gathering was supported by two non-profit Internet organisations, Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the Internet Society (ISOC), along with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.
It attracted Internet service providers, including Cable & Wireless and Columbus Networks, as well as telecommunications regulators and IXP operators from across the Caribbean. International participants included the American Registry for Internet Numbers (Arin) and the Internet Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), search-engine giant Google, and Akamai, the world’s largest content delivery network provider.
“The success of the region’s first peering forum is testament to the increasing maturity of the Caribbean Internet community, and the increasing regard for that community by international players in the Internet space,” said Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with PCH and a main organiser of the event.
He said that while the region recently made "positive strides" in establishing critical Internet infrastructure, there was still "considerable room for improving the reliability and efficient delivery of content to Caribbean consumers."
Wooding, one of the co-founders of CaribNOG, is responsible for establishing the peering forum, together with Shernon Osepa, Regional Outreach Manager for Isoc, an organisation that encourages and supports peering forums in other parts of the world.
"ISOC was pleased to be able to work together with the CaribNOG community and Packet Clearing House to stage this first peering forum in the Caribbean,” Osepa said.
Arturo Servin, who works on content delivery and peering for Latin America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula at Google, shared on the mega-corporation’s experience in bringing its content closer to Caribbean customers. Google Inc. is the company behind popular Internet services such as YouTube and Gmail.
“Google wants to bring its content as close as possible to Caribbean audiences,” Servin said. “We are currently exploring options that will allow us to better service Internet service providers and IXPs in small markets like those in the region."
Google committed at the meeting to support Internet exchange points in the Caribbean, and used the opportunity to meet face to face with IX operators and regulators from across the region.
“This was a great opportunity to meet our customers in the Caribbean and establish new connections,” said Martin Hannigan, Director, Networks and Data Center Architecture at Akamai Technologies. “These types of gatherings are commonplace in other regions, so it’s great to see the Caribbean establishing CarPIF and putting things in place to make it possible for consumers and businesses to have a better Internet experience. That improved customer experience is the real point of peering and it's what matters most."
Organisers announced plans for the second CarPIF event to be staged in Curacao in June 2016.