Middle Eastern Exchange Points

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Wed Feb 8 03:30:16 UTC 2006

      On Tue, 7 Feb 2006, Joe Abley wrote:
    > I would not be surprised if the toplogical centre of today's African 
    > Internet turned out to be the LINX.

Yep, with 111 8th close behind.

      On Tue, 7 Feb 2006, Frank Bulk wrote:
    > A look at Telegeography's bandwidth maps suggest that the African 
    > routes are predominantly coastal.

Effectively, there's no connection between North Africa and the rest of 
Africa...  North Africa is relatively well connected to Europe via 
multiple cables across the Mediterranean.  The western coast of Africa, 
wrapping around down to Cape Town, is "served" by SAT3/WASC, which is a 
consortium cable with a strict noncompete, so there's no market pricing 
available anywhere along there...  Fiber is just as expensive as 
satellite, but with the additional cost and hassle of monopoly backhaul 
from the landing.  East Africa and the land-locked central African 
countries are unserved.  Since Nigeria is a huge market and generates a 
fair amount of cash relative to other markets in Africa, there are a 
couple of new cables which may soon introduce competition on the 
relatively short route from Lisbon down to Lagos and Abuja.  Also, 
there's been talk forever, but no action, on an East African cable which 
would close the loop down from Djibouti to Cape Town, serving Mombasa and 
Dar and Maputo.  The population on the east coast is smaller and less 
densely packed, though, and the fact that SAT3/WASC is effectively 
running without a safety net (unless anybody's bothering to patch a 
protect loop through SAFE to KL and back again through FLAG, which I 
doubt) doesn't seem to bother anybody, since the cable is priced out of 
the market anyway, and is thus virtually empty.

Anyway, back to the conversation at hand:

      On Tue, 7 Feb 2006, Howard C. Berkowitz wrote:
    > Middle Eastern Exchange Points
    > I know of a Cairo IXP, and possibly one in the UAE.  Is there one in
    > Kuwait as yet?

All the ISPs I've talked to in Egypt claim that the Cairo IX was a failed 
experiment and that they haven't heard anything about it in the last two 
years.  Which roughly corresponds with the last time I heard anyone 
talking about it in the present tense.  But I'll defer to Joe if he has 
other information.

As Joe's pointed out, what's available in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and 
Kuwait are governmental monopoly incumbent transit services, a la STIX, as 
opposed to Internet exchanges where peering takes place.  There are 
several private colocation facilities which sell transit, but are not 
IXes, in Dubai and Kuwait.  There has been a Bahrain governmental effort 
to get an actual neutral IX going, which has been taking a while to get up 
to speed, and isn't out of the weeds yet...  They've been talking to all 
the right people, have a site, have commitments from all of the cable 
systems, have ISP customers who've signed letters of intent and have cash 
waiting, but they don't have a building yet, just a bunch of cargo 
containers sitting on the lot in Manama, and a satellite dish farm.

Nothing else I know of.


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