POTRAZ commits to have the “Zimbabwe Internet eXchange Association” by May 2017…

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The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), who won a tender for US$200,000 in September 2015 to build a regional Internet Exchange Point has committed to establishing the Zimbabwe Internet eXchange Association (ZIXA) by the 15th of May 2017. This looks to be after their failure to meet the December 2016 deadline (POTRAZ in their defense stated that funding was delayed hence their failure to meet the deadline).

At a breakfast meeting this morning it was revealed that POTRAZ will not “force or compel” any entities to be a part of the Association, adopting a ‘soft touch approach’ in the beginning, increasing their firmness if need-be depending on the uptake of the facility by the internet operators – I have my reservations to this, as I believe that all operators should be made to join, with a number of benefits touted but most importantly the cost of data coming down.

For the benefit of readers (like myself) who might not understand all the jargon and technical terms, basically what POTRAZ are proposing to do is to have all our internet go through one point (an Internet eXchange Point – IXP) and there ‘switches’ will check whether the stuff that is being requested on the internet is ‘local’ or ‘international’. If the content is from a local website (I’m not too sure how many websites host locally – we don’t) then the consumer will access the website free of charge, if it is from an international website, then the Exchange will go and collect that content.

The beauty however, is that that website just needs to be accessed once and after that will be stored (‘cached’) on the exchange’s serves, equating to an ‘access once serve plenty’ format.

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An Internet eXcahnage Point will allow a number of things to take place, such as:

  • reducing the cost of the internet
  • improving the customer experience (as internet data is accessed locally, hence faster as there are less hops to access it)
  • “improved national security” – our data is not getting into the hands of our detractors and so they won’t know what we are doing in lovely Zimbabwe (insert ‘hondo ye minda‘ jingle here).

From the looks of things, most of the goings-on have been foundational/background stuff, hence it may look like the wheels were not turning for the implementation of the Exchange, however, based on the enthusiasm in the room this morning, May 15 may be an achievable deadline.

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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8 Comments

  1. Charles Muzonzini says:

    typo “15th of May 2015”

    1. William Chui says:

      Thanks, fixed it

  2. Sabhuku Chikoto says:

    “The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), who won a tender for US$200,000 in September 2015 to build a regional Internet Exchange Point has committed to establishing the Zimbabwe Internet eXchange Association (ZIXA) by the 15th of May 2015”

    Are we going back in time?

    1. William Chui says:

      Thanks, sorted it.

      Interested to know your comments on the other content

  3. Sabhuku Chikoto says:

    Please fix the glaring spelling errors in the article. Thanks.

  4. Macd Chip says:

    Let me start by saying l support your view here, ISPs must not be given the option to join at their own time. They just need to join by a certain date full stop once the exchange is ready.

    William, l think you have mixed two things here.

    1. Internet exchange
    2 Content Delivery Network

    What is in the tender, is it to build an IX or both?

    CDN needs to remain in the hands of ISPs as it determines the speed at which internet is accessed and websites browsed. You do not want ISPs pointing fingers when faced with slow browsing complains from users

  5. Tapiwa✓ says:

    If the content is from a local website (I’m not too sure how many websites host locally – we don’t) then the consumer will access the website free of charge, if it is from an international website, then the Exchange will go and collect that content.

    That doesn’t sound right: normally ISPs buy their own international bandwidth and the IXP is used for peering so that local traffic is routed locally instead of going out to the UK and back again, which is slow and expensive. If you are a ZOL customer visiting a page hosted by iWayAfrica or the government, you want that traffic being routed locally. International traffic (such as Facebook or youtube) will not be routed through an IXP.

  6. Sagitarr says:

    No doubt IP traffic will be secure and maybe faster, but with Potraz in control, what guarantee is there that traffic will not be filtered through a govt “quarantine” as a form of control?

    I’ve read somewhere that IoT will be an Internet of insecurity instead…

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