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Google supports Caribbean Internet exchange points
Global Internet giant Google has given a major endorsement to the ongoing move to set up Internet exchange points (IXPs) throughout the Caribbean. Speaking at a special forum on critical Internet infrastructure organised by the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) in Barbados, Marc Crandall, Google’s senior manager of global compliance, said: “Google supports the proliferation of Internet exchange points globally and we strongly believe in the development of a robust local Internet ecosystem.”
IXPs are special facilities where Internet service providers (ISPs) agree to exchange local Internet traffic between their networks at no cost. The CTU has been advocating for the proliferation of IXPs in the region as part of its Caribbean ICT Roadshow initiative. Crandall explained that Google sees IXPs as a critical component of the development of emerging markets like the Caribbean.
“Countries can derive tremendous benefits when local Internet traffic is exchanged locally,” he said. Google’s position was further supported in the keynote addressed given by Bevil Wooding, an Internet strategist with the international non-profit research institute Packet Clearing House (PCH). He gave the audience a detailed explanation of how the global Internet economy works and how IXPs can create local development opportunities.
“Internet service providers must privately cooperate among themselves to deliver global connectivity, while very publicly competing for customers on the basis of price, value-add services, and performance,” he said. Turning his focus to the region, Wooding explained: “The current, pervading models for Internet traffic in the Caribbean discriminate against development of regional content.
“The current scenario leads to the depletion of scarce foreign reserves from economies and societies that can ill afford this hemorrhage.” Wooding appealed to Caribbean ISPs and governments to draw example from the US, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, Kenya and Nigeria, where IXPs have helped boost the domestic Internet economy.
He also explained how IXPs help with local content development, privacy and data security by not “needlessly and expensively sending domestic-bound traffic across international lines.” “The Internet is critical to the development of a modern society. “Governments and Internet service providers would be in grave violation of their social contract if they do not take the steps to ensure that the citizens have access to the necessary infrastructure and the enabling environment to take full advantage of its promise.”
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