Grenada's IXP Shows Growth, Delivers Improved Internet Service

ST. GEORGES, GRENADA. 22-11-2012 - Grenada Internet Service Providers touted the benefits the Grenadian Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is delivering to their networks and their customers at a Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) regional meeting in Grenada. Senior representatives from LIME and Columbus Communications described the improvements in local Internet traffic routing and local content delivery experienced since the Grenada IXP was launched in May 2011.

An Internet exchange point is a physical facility that allows ISPs to exchange domestic Internet traffic locally instead of through more distant facilities in the US or Europe.

James Pitt, acting General Manager at LIME Grenada explained, “The Grenada Internet Exchange Point and recently implemented DNS Root server copy are important steps in a collaborative effort between LIME, Columbus and the Grenada NTRC to improve the efficiency and robustness Internet services in Grenada.”

Speaking to CaribNOG’s technical audience of over 100 computer network specialists and enthusiasts drawn from across the Caribbean, Pitt described lower network latency, reduced average-per-bit-delivery costs, improved traffic routing and greater incentive to serve local content, as some of the key reasons Grenada has implemented an Internet exchange.

Columbus Communications Regional Manager Network Services, Brent McIntosh, supported his LIME counterpart. According to McIntosh both Columbus and LIME benefit from the Grenada IXP.

“The collaboration between LIME and Flow to establish the Grenada IXP in May 2011, and then to migrate it to a neutral facility at the Grenada NTRC this year is testament to our willingness to work together in the interest of developing the Grenada market.”

McIntosh told the CaribNOG gathering that the collaboration does not end with the Grenada exchange point.  Both organizations will be encouraging and supporting the development local content that can take advantage of the local IXP.

CaribNOG coordinator Bevil Wooding, an Internet strategist at Packet Clearing House commended the Grenada ISPs and encouraged local content providers to take full advantage of the local IXP and DNS Root server. “Opportunity beckons Grenada as it builds out its domestic Internet ecosystem. Companies, schools and entrepreneurs can now provide new local services based on bandwidth-intensive applications like video and audio streaming; VoIP; domestic data backup; new e-government services; distance learning; e-health; and other Internet-based applications that can leverage the local IXP.

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union and the US-based Internet-support non-profit, Packet Clearing House, have been promoting the proliferation of Internet Exchange points in the Caribbean. The initiative has received support from the CTUs member Governments and, increasingly, cooperation from regional Internet Service Providers.

There are now six operational Internet exchange points in the Caribbean, located in the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti and St Maarten. Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago are in the process of setting up local exchange points. There are over 250 IXPs globally, most of which are located in developed countries.