Internet Traffic Begins to Bypass the U.S.

Jim Mercer jim at
Mon Sep 15 04:40:14 CDT 2008

On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 10:22:27AM +0100, Alexander Harrowell wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 7:13 AM, Jim Mercer <jim at> wrote:
> > oddly enough, the ISP's in the region have not caught on to the potential
> > winfall of providing cost effective hosting locally, so therefore, the bulk
> > of the hosting for companies in the region is primarily done in the US,
> > then in EU, then, maybe locally.
> The political implications are interesting; the UAE has been more than keen
> to attract fibreoptic infrastructure, but setting up an IX would encourage
> local networks to interconnect without going via either Etisalat or Du,
> which has consequences both for their quasi-official monopoly and for the
> government's mass Internet filtering policy.

there is an exchange, however, when i last interacted with
them several years ago, it was a relatively closed club.  that, and the actual
exchange is located in Dubai (i think), which will require the arrangement of
transit from the fiber drops (in Fujerah) to Dubai, at whatever rates etisalat
(maybe du) decide to charge.

the government filtering is not out of line with others in the region, and
for the most part, doesn't hit political or religious sites, mostly porn,
or sites that are reported to have porn (facebook/myspace/etc have all had
their turn at being blocked, and then unblocked).

> There are (as you know Bob) already office developments that are allowed to
> have their own access to $World, and presumably there are networks in them;
> if they were allowed to interconnect with each other and with other
> networks, who knows? anarchy, cats and dogs making love in the streets, etc.

nah, the perception that it is some kinda quasi-moral, quasi-authoratarian
issue is wrong.  its about money, period.  they currently actively block
anything VoIP related, and at points in the past, i ran into etisalat blocking
access to sites containing voip-related forums/etc.  

generally the blockage is either for preserving their cash-flow (ie, no VoIP),
or reactions to local-culture complaints about content, which allows them
to maintain the high-moral ground with the local population, as "outsiders"
wouldn't defend the local-culture.

> Interestingly, other emerging markets did it the opposite way round. Kenya,
> frex, established an IX long before it had even the hope of submarine cable
> access. Now, with the new East African projects, there is talk of an
> Indian-style call centre/backoffice boom.

yep.  as i was saying, the middle east region, with all of its potential
capital, is overly protective of its incumbents to allow any kind of real

having lived here for some time, this tends to be true in alot of other market
segments as well.

if anyone from du or etisalat wishes to speak up and correct my impressions,
please do.

Jim Mercer        jim at        +971 55 410-5633
"I'm Prime Minister of Canada, I live here and I'm going to take a leak."
   - Lester Pearson in 1967, during a meeting between himself and
    President Lyndon Johnson, whose Secret Service detail had taken over
    Pearson's cottage retreat.  At one point, a Johnson guard asked
    Pearson, "Who are you and where are you going?"

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