Belize Internet Exchange Point speeds up service

Nine of Belize’s internet service providers (ISPs) have partnered to establish Belize’s first internet exchange point (BIXP), which will greatly speed up local internet traffic, allowing for greater efficiency and reduced costs.

The partners officially launched the new exchange point at a ceremony hosted by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Ministry of Public Service, Energy and Public Utilities at the University of Belize West Landivar campus in Belize City on Wednesday.

The partners include Net King Solutions Ltd., Internetworks Ltd., Centaur Communications Corporation Ltd., Speednet Communications Ltd, Alliance IP Belize Ltd. Alternative Networks Ltd., Belize Telemedia Ltd, Broadband Belize Ltd, and the University of Belize.

Internet Engineer Etienne Sharp explained that the new exchange point consists of nine router-switch boxes which rout all local traffic, housed in and air-conditioned room at UB. The cost to install the equipment was around $100,000 he said. The new BIXP routs local internet communications to remain in country, so local internet traffic no longer has to go all the way to a server in Miami or Mexico before returning to Belize, as was the case in the past.

Caribbean internet strategist and outreach manager Bevil Wooding has been an advocate and driving force for the establishment of the BIXP, and he explained its advantages. The BIXP not only increases speeds, greatly reduces the cost for local ISPs to provide service to their customers with consequent increase in profits, which the ISPs may then pass on to their customers in lower rates, he said.

Where local ISPs presently offer internet connecton through copper cable wires, Wooding suggested that ISPs invest in fiber-optic cable installation which allows for much greater bandwidth as vastly reduced costs.

Minister of Education, Sports and Culture Hon Patrick Faber also gave an address at the launch. He thanked Wooding and noted that he had been instrumental in setting up local training programs to teach high school students how to design mobile apps, stimulating entrepreneurship in software design. Wooding had also helped introduce the “raspberry-Pi” rudimentary computer, which is now being used to teach Belizean high school students the elements of robotics and how to build applications for computers.

The BIXP partners also elected a chairman at a meeting just before the ceremony: Centaur’s Chief Operating Officer Errol Cattouse, who expressed the hope for a bright future with faster speed and better service at lower costs for all.

The Reporter