The first Internet Exchange Point in Qatar (QIXP), a state-of-the-art facility that will allow local networks to exchange information efficiently at a common point within the country, was launched Monday at Meeza data centre by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti.
QIXP aims to ensure internet users in Qatar have faster and a more secure access to digital content. According to the plan, other Internet Exchange Points will be activated during 2020 by using the data centres of telecom service providers or any other technically qualified parties, in order to facilitate the connection for the interested content providers.
HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, along with QIXP Committee chairman engineer Abdulla Jassmi, Meeza CEO engineer Ahmad Mohamed al-Kuwari and other officials at the event.
“We are pleased to launch the first QIXP, which is a new achievement in developing the essential components of Internet infrastructure in the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT) of Qatar,” HE al-Sulaiti said in a statement.
“This project will contribute to further improve the country’s international network readiness rankings and to attract global content providers, in addition to enabling the new generations for creativity in the digital content realm and building up the aspired digital future, thus contributing to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 goals by providing a world-class infrastructural and informatics backbone and a knowledge-based economy that contributes to diversifying the national economy,” the Minister noted.
The event was attended by Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) president Mohamed Ali al-Mannai, Technical Affairs Department manager and QIXP Committee chairman Abdulla Jassmi, Meeza CEO Ahmad Mohamed al-Kuwari, and representatives of entities that form the QIXP Steering Committee such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar University, Qatar National Library, Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN), Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) under Qatar Foundation for Education, Sciences and Community Development, Ooredoo Qatar, Vodafone Qatar and Gulf Bridge International (GBI).
CRA noted that the QIXP serves as a meeting point between internet service providers and digital content service providers for exchange of data and information.
QIXP, according to CRA, is one of the key components of internet infrastructure, which will directly contribute to improving the quality of the internet, developing ICT sector, raising the performance of networks by reducing the latency of accessing the content and reducing the number of intermediate points.
CRA highlighted QIXP’s importance in information security and internet infrastructure stability and sustainability in Qatar saying that it is also considered as a key factor in supporting the digital services needed to achieve national policies and strategies, apart from its contribution in supporting major events that Qatar hosts such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Al-Mannai thanked all stakeholders for their co-operation and contribution to the success of the project, particularly Meeza, Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar.
He said CRA will continue to communicate and work with them, all concerned and interested parties to develop the project.
The CRA, al-Mannai added, ensures that the best international practices are applied to improve the internet infrastructure and ensure provision of advanced, innovative and reliable local internet services.
Jassmi said the launch of QIXP confirms that "we are taking sustainable steps towards contributing to the development of a knowledge-based society, because Internet exchange points reduce the cost of interconnection and help in creating the digital environment to enable the future generations to be creative in the world of digital content".
He added that the Committee will continue working as one team to follow up on the progress of QIXP to reach their desired goal – meeting the market requirements of providing advanced and innovative services to contribute to achieving the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Al-Kuwari said that the launch of QIXP is a big milestone for Meeza and the country, which enables content owners such as Google, Amazon, among others, to meet with the telecom service providers under one roof.
To connect to QIXP, CRA said the connecting policy needs to be signed and some technical conditions need to be fulfilled, such as obtaining Autonomous System Number (ASN) which is granted by the regional entities concerned with assigning internet numbers, in order to connect different data networks together.
Interested entities can submit an application to the Committee for consideration.
Exchanging internet automatically via self-control systems
The QIXP Steering Committee was formed based on Cabinet Decision No. (24) of 2018. The aim of the committee is to benefit from the infrastructure available in the country through which Internet service providers' systems work, in addition to the content delivery network by exchanging internet automatically via self-control systems to establish the QIXP.
The committee has a set of related competencies and powers, including developing the technical plan for the establishment of the QIXP’s System, managing the software of QIXP’s system and following up on the progress of the system operation and the connection between the different participants, in addition to any other competencies assigned to the committee by HE Minister of Transport and Communications.