Gov’t opens Cebu Internet exchange, links up with tech group

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The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has formally launched its new Internet exchange in Cebu to speed up Internet speed in the Visayas and Mindanao.

ICT Office chief Louis Casambre and DOST secretary Mario Montejo were in Cebu this week for the Digital Strategies for Development Summit at the Waterfront Hotel. At center is ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao ICT Office chief Louis Casambre and DOST secretary Mario Montejo were in Cebu this week for the Digital Strategies for Development Summit at the Waterfront Hotel. At center is ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao[/caption]

Like the Philippine Internet Exchange (PHOpenIX), the Cebu node will be operated by the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the DOST. However, the Cebu facility will not be connected to the PHOpenIX but will instead serve as an Internet exchange for ISPs in the southern part of the country.

Also in Cebu, the DOST-ICT Office partnered with tech advocacy group Internet Society to host several Internet Exchange Point (IXP) development workshops to encourage improvements in local Internet service.

“Internet exchange points help to keep domestic Internet traffic local, contributing to reduced transit costs, improved quality of service and more affordable Internet for end-users,” said Rajnesh Singh, regional bureau director for Asia-Pacific at the Internet Society.

“Promoting neutral exchange points is crucial in Southeast Asia, which still suffers from a lack of carrier-neutral IXPs.”

The workshops addressed the principles, economics, and benefits of local interconnection, as well as best practices for sustainable IXP management.

Highlights included a multi-stakeholder discussion on the basics of Internet peering and its local benefits, an Internet policy dialogue between key government and industry players, and a training workshop for Internet service providers (ISPs) and network operators.

“We are at the dawn where true peering, which is the exchange between previously independent networks, will soon benefit the customers of each of these networks,” said Louis Casambre, undersecretary of the DOST-ICT Office, at a recent Memorandum of Agreement signing with PLDT, wherein the telecom giant committed to provide fiber optic connectivity to PHOpenIX.

The government network component of iGovPhil, which will be expanded in different regions, will also help to provide fiber connectivity to the program.

PHOpenIX has a growing membership of Internet service providers, network operators, content distributors, and research institutions, and hosts services ranging from route server peering to transits for IPv6 networks.

“Non-exclusive peering through PhOpenIX makes local Internet traffic exchange more efficient and cost effective,” said Denis Villorente, director of DOST-ASTI and project director of iGovPhil.

“We want to roll out more IXPs in other parts of the country as a way to further develop our Internet ecosystem.”

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