We missed this earlier: Anil Kumar Jain has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Internet Exchange of India (NICI). According to the Beijing-headquartered Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Name Association, Jain was appointed with effect from July 31, and has spent 36 years in telecommunications roles in the government, including at BSNL and the Department of Telecommunications. He had been on the board of NIXI as recently as the financial year 2017–18, according to the exchange’s annual report for the period. Jain replaces Sanjay Goel, a Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), who held the CEO post as an additional charge.

In a panel discussion earlier this month, Jain bemoaned the state of interconnection at smaller cities and rural areas. “Although we [NIXI] have opened Internet Exchange Points [in Guwahati and Ahmedabad], we keep on begging for traffic,” he said. “All stakeholders need to contribute. At least the traffic should be there.” Internet exchanges allow ISPs and content providers to peer with each other and are a significant part of the internet’s plumbing.

NIXI’s relevance has been diminished for a long time because it did not permit content providers like Google, Facebook and Amazon to join and restricted membership to ISPs and telcos. Even ISPs bristled at fees that they would have to pay for disparity between outgoing and incoming traffic. Eventually, NIXI removed both the constraints, and is now allowing content providers to peer with them after paying a flat fee. Peering means that the traffic will be sent to NIXI-connected ISPs. Months after the policy relaxation, Zenlayer is the only content provider that is currently peered with the exchange, according to PeeringDB. The rise of private internet exchanges has made it harder for NIXI to be able to compete even now, as these players have been able to largely satisfy bandwidth demand in the market.

On top of its eponymous internet exchange, with nodes in Mumbai, Noida, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bangalore and Hyderabad, NIXI also maintains the .in top level domain’s registry (along with Indian language equivalents), and runs the Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers, which “provides allocation and registration services of IP addresses and AS numbers”.

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