14 Things We Learnt From The POTRAZ Implementation Of The National Internet Exchange Point (IXP) Meeting

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Dr. Gift Kallisto Machengete, POTRAZ Director General

POTRAZ hosted a National Internet Exchange Point (IXP) breakfast meeting this morning, and as someone who normally attends events just to take photos, I was thrown in the fray as not only was I the designated cameraman but had to double as the note-taker (and, is it ‘treble’?, as the attendant asking questions and seeking clarity).

I wouldn’t say I was thrown in the fire, but I had to find my footing rather quickly and I’m happy to advise that not only did I survive, but I came out with some take outs to share.

Here goes:

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  1. Don’t expect an event to start on time when a Government official is listed as a speaker. For some strange reason, even with events we’ve held, officials somehow love to take attendants at ‘hostage’ and make you wait. Not only do they do that but after waiting, not only will they be late but it won’t be the person that was initially penciled to talk and you’ll get someone else that will stand in. Sad to note this when it was a POTRAZ (an industry regulator) event, what more if it was someone else hosting the event?
  2. For some relief, the stand in person was up to the task and not only did they present well, but were well and capable of engaging in dialogue during the Q and A segment, something that seldom happens.
  3. POTRAZ won a tender in 2015 to launch a regional internet exchange point, the $200,000 that came with winning that tender was only released in September 2016, hence the delay of progress thus far.
  4. Five other countries won tenders, two in each region (South Africa and Zimbabwe in SADC, Kenya and Rwanda in East Africa and Nigeria and Gabon in West Africa) of which Kenya and South Africa are the only one’s to have launched due to them having received their funding in the first round of tenders, in 2015.
  5. POTRAZ will chip in with an extra $50,000 to cover incidentals.
  6. The Government of Zimbabwe fully supports the initiative as it wants the costs of delivery of the internet to come down and for the speed of delivery to increase.
  7. No mobile network operator attended the event or had direct representation, though when Techzim raised concern about this, we were advised that the suppliers of internet to the MNOs were present (the IAPs), hence indirect participation was taking place.
  8. It was revealed that ZINX was not established by all the ‘internet service providers’ (I use this term broadly and not making reference to how we use it in the industry) for all. This initiative is aimed at creating an all inclusive IXP that will have a management committee  comprising representatives from the following stakeholder groups to oversee the operations  of the IXP:
    • Internet Access Providers
    • Internet Service Providers
    • National Research and Education Networks (NREN)
    • Mobile Network Operators
    • Web hosting Companies
    • Government Departments (for e-Government – Ministry of ICT Posts and Couriers Services, GISP – Government Internet Service Provider, OPC – Office of the President and Cabinet, ZIMRA – Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
    • ccTLD operator – TelOne
    • Consumers
  9. The provisional name that is being proposed for the National Internet eXchange Point is the Zimbabwe Internet eXchange Association – ZIXA.
  10. ZIXA will be formed by way of a constitution  that will be agreed by its membership. This organisation will be self managed and neither Government nor POTRAZ will interfer with how it will be run
  11. Running costs of the IXP will be covered through joining fees and monthly subscriptions  paid by members.
  12. The proposed location of the exchange is at Harare TelOne Exchange Building as it met the following requirements:
    • Proximity to the networks of the potential members (fibre links)
    • Availability of reliable electric power, including a backup generator
    • Availability, capacity and reliability of telecommunication links to the site
    • Access to fibre facilities and rights-of-way
    • Ease of access (independent 24x7x365 access for IXP member staff)
    • Quality of security
  13. TelOne is only providing space and will not run the IXP
  14. The association and exchange should be set up by 15 May 2017.

 

POTRAZ

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe POTRAZ) is the regulatory authority of Zimbabwe's telecommunications sector and was established in terms of the country's Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05. POTRAZ was established in February 2001 Read More About POTRAZ

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10 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Mr. Chui, your capabilities continue to overwhelm us mere mortals. I mean really, multi-tasking is suppose to be something only mother’s can master. Possible typo though, surely access is x365?

    1. William Chui says:

      Thank you good sir, some of us have shorter days in our year, have fixed it for you “mere mortals”.

  2. Anthony says:

    Wait – i though ZISPA (and ZINX) was setup under pretty much the same premise they are suggesting – i get the need for a second open exchange point but why should we double the overheads by having to organising committees’ why can’t the ZISPA/ZINX constitutions and structures be overhauled to run both??

    1. William Chui says:

      Good question, sadly this question was not asked.

      The sentiment that I got was that ZINX was not inclusive and so wanted to start their own. Did they approach ZINX and ask that it be all incorporating?

      Will drop them a few questions and advise

    2. Macd Chip says:

      I didnt like the ZINX idea, it always made me feel there was someone high up there in total control of it.

    3. Anonymous says:

      because the Powers that be feel they can do a better job of running these things (SPOILER!! they cannot – Telone has had broken nameservers for years – never fixed them. ZINX is an opt-in system)

    4. Gizmo says:

      ZINX is not up to the standard of a proper IXP. And it does not also have everyone there e.g. Liquid and Telone are not members. So if a Liquid customer sends an email to a TelOne customer it is routed via SA or Europe before coming back to Zimbabwe where it originated. Even if these 2 customers in the same office park or building!!

  3. eastTech says:

    can you share with us the actual Presentations that were made, thanks

  4. Garikai Dzoma says:

    Very informative

  5. Macd Chip says:

    This needs to be done with speed so that we compete with SA, even if it means using USF monies

Comments are closed.