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Making access to the Internet possible: Competition versus Internet exchanges

In addition to giving the keynote at the OECD/infoDev workshop on the Budget Telecom Network Mode at the IGF in Sharm el Sheikh, I attended several sessions, one being that on reducing interconnection costs. The key recommendations seemed to cluster around two actions, creating Internet Exchanges in each country and reducing leased line costs by introducing competition and breaking incumbent control on essential facilities such as cable stations. Our findings from countries that have had working Internet Exchanges at various times such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka show that their effects fluctuate (there is an unfortunate tendency of internal dissension in these things) and that getting leased line prices (both domestic and international) down is, on balance, more important. That unless the leased-line problem is not solved, the good work done on Internet Exchanges will be washed out.

There is an assumption that every country should have an IX. Why? Does it not make more sense, for example for the Maldives (pop. 325,000), Sri Lanka (pop. 20 million) and Southern India (maybe around 500 million) why should there not be a common Internet Exchange?

And is there a solution to the unfortunate tendency of IXs to implode?


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