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Key takeaways: What it’s like running an internet exchange in India

Over the last few months, MediaNama interviewed senior executives at the country's biggest internet exchanges (IXs), which help internet providers access data easily and cheaply. The internet exchange ecosystem is relatively nascent in the country, transporting a couple or so terabits of the country's internet traffic at any given point — around the same as the data stored on a single hard disk, per second. We interviewed executives from Extreme Internet Exchange, DE-CIX India, and Kolkata's IIFON community internet exchange. Here are some key takeaways from the conversations. 1. Internet Exchanges in India are small — for now Raunak Maheshwari of Extreme Internet Exchange said that around 3% of the 25Tbps of traffic he estimated India had flowed through that IX's network. Figures for other IXs are comparable, and added up they amount to a fraction of India's internet traffic. The reason, Maheshwari said, was that telecom operators and larger fixed-line providers preferred peering directly with content providers like Google, Facebook and Amazon. On top of lax demand for broadband internet (due in part to the mobile data price crash in 2016), the sheer dominance of wireless telecom operators towers over the significance of exchanges. As such, the main beneficiary of internet exchanges are small fixed-line ISPs, who are not always in a position to onboard content providers like Facebook and Google on their own. As such, the significance of IXs will only increase as broadband penetration increases and more ISPs start looking to serve more data at competitive prices.…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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