Dec 9, 2013, 9:50 AM
Stakeholders in the telecommunications industry notably, Gamtel, PURA, Gamcel, Comium, QCELL, Unique Solutions, Netpage, ECOWAN, the media, among others Wednesday validated the draft study report of the West Africa Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (WARCIP) on setting up an internet exchange point (IXP) in The Gambia.
The validation, held at WARCIP office along Kairaba Avenue, followed a consultancy commissioned by WARCIP to provide recommendations on the technical and management process aspects of the future IXP in The Gambia.
The primary objective of the IXP is to improve the internet connectivity in the country rather than generating profit, which is more easily reached by a non-profit entity.
The project, according to officials, started on 5th February 2013, with the visit of the consultancy firm’s team to The Gambia to gather the market insight, and held meetings with all the stakeholders.
There was also a review of the existing work and conclusions reached during a workshop and subsequent consultation held last year.
Presenting the IXP study report, the consultant, Michael Kende, said the document represents options and recommendations regarding the technical and management process aspects of the IXP together with the organizational aspects, which have already been agreed on by all stakeholders.
He added that these recommendations considered the existing IXP consultation signed by different stakeholders following a workshop held in October 2012 as well as specifications following their February 2013 workshop.
Commenting on the benefits of the IXP in The Gambia, the consultant outlined that it is cost-saving for most of the ISPs by eliminating the need to exchange traffic through expensive international links, improve quality, thanks to the reduction in latency and to larger bandwidth available to Gambian internet users as result of the lower cost of local capacity, among others.
IXPs, he added, can provide a range of services to facilitate the management of the IXPs and provide maximum benefits to its members.
‘This service helps members to populate their Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) routine tables by collecting and sharing route information among members,’ he said, adding that this is useful for efficiency and maintenance purposes.
According to him, the service is potentially useful for members, and does not require significant incremental investment and also it can be safely assumed that the demand will not justify the need for link aggregation in the initial years.
The responsibility, he went on, should be shared between the IXP and its members and, therefore, the IXP should be responsible for maintaining the services level target on the provision of ports, and their availability as described.
Lamin Camara, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure (MOICI), who is also the focal point of WARCIP underscored the need for stakeholders to make a collective decision.
‘We as a Ministry are just here to facilitate, the IXP is here for you and you are the ones who are going to make use of its services,” he stated.