Growing global interest in South Africa’s Internet exchange points will see multinational companies doing business in the country having a larger say in how the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX), Cape Town Internet Exchange (CINX) and Durban Internet Exchange (DINX) are managed.
Internet Exchange Points (INXs) are physical locations, or points, that allow data networks owned by different entities to communicate with each other. South Africa’s three existing INXs were built within the country by the Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) to keep Internet traffic local and thus save costs. INXs promote “peering”, the direct interconnection of two networks without international transit costs being incurred.
“JINX, which is Africa’s first exchange point, will be 20 years old next year, and is one of the world’s earliest (within the top 30) Internet Exchange Points, to be launched. Initially started to cater for South African concerns, we’ve revised the connection policy several times to embrace non-SA based organisations, and we now have a good number of overseas firms peering at our INXs,” says Nishal Goburdhan, ISPA’s Internet Exchange Point Manager.
However, Goburdhan explains that, in the spirit of open participation that is traditionally espoused by an INX, it is necessary to allow greater decision making abilities, by participants of the JINX, CINX and DINX themselves; a role that the ISPA’s management committee has traditionally vicariously played.
“The solution was for ISPA to create a separate INX Management Committee (Mancom) that is open to any network locally or globally that is currently peering at our INXs. This Mancom will have autonomy over how the INXes are run operated. ISPA embraces the concept of self-regulation, and believes that, given a choice, non-ISPA members located overseas that want to be able to have a say in how SA’s INXs are managed on a day-to-day basis, now have that opportunity. This is another African first, ” he says.
The first INX mancom elections will be held at the industry’s iWeek event in Cape Town on 7 September 2015. iWeek is South Africa’s leading and longest-running annual Internet industry gathering that attracts delegates from South Africa, the rest of the continent, as well as globally.
The INX mancom will have the sole task of taking care of the daily management of the three local, and future INXs, while ISPA will ensure adherence to a long-term strategy that benefits the peering community.