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Govt moves to cut internet costs

by Staff reporter
08 Nov 2017 at 05:50hrs | Views
THE Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has launched the Zimbabwe Internet Exchange Point (ZIX), which will cut internet costs by using already established networks in neighbouring countries for internet bandwidth rather than sourcing it from foreign suppliers.

An internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which internet service providers and Content Delivery Networks exchange internet traffic between their networks. However, one major danger is that this will give government unfettered control and access to internet provided by service providers who have signed off on the programme.

Speaking at the launch of the ZIX yesterday in Harare, Information, Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services deputy minister, Win Mlambo said the primary purpose of an IXP is to allow local networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through third party foreign networks.

"This provides one central infrastructural point in a defined physical local through which the ISPs [internet service providers] and content delivery networks will exchange traffic amongst their autonomous networks. The establishment of a well-constituted National Internet Exchange Point in Zimbabwe has always been high on our agenda as government," he said.

"The African Union Commission (AUC) grant would, therefore, not have come at a better time. It is within this context that Zimbabwe feels extremely honoured by the AUC and the AU. We can assure you that we will not disappoint in out delivery of the expectations to the region."

Zimbabwe won a $200 000 tender back in November 2015 from the AUC to host one of the Southern Africa's Regional Internet Exchange Points and has to date received $100 000 for the first phase.

Mlambo said that this phase of the project involved the identification of the location to host the RIXP which TelOne stepped up in by providing the space for its home.

"The phase also involved the preparation of the location and the setting up of equipment to allow local peering at the IXP. To date, a total of $50 178 has been used on the project and $56 716 has been committed for more equipment that has been ordered, and still to be delivered," he said.

He added that the next phase of the project would place more emphasis on capacity building.

The internet service providers that have joined their network onto the IXP are TelOne, Liquid Telecom, Africom, Dandemutande, Powertel and Telecontract Private Limited.

Zimbabwe becomes the second country after South Africa to have an IXP.

Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said the AU's involvement was essential in setting up this IXP in Zimbabwe, providing technical support and funding.

"The IXP will lower the cost of bandwidth a huge feat because of the premise and national development that the IXP holds, therefore, we stand tall as a nation to unveil the IXP," he said.

Source - newsday
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