His Excellency (H.E.) Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti today launched the first Internet Exchange Point in Qatar (QIXP), which is established in MEEZA Data Centre, aiming to enable local networks to exchange information efficiently at a common point within the country instead of exchanging the local information outside the country, thus ensuring that Internet users in Qatar have faster and a more secure access to the digital content.
In a statement, H.E. Minister of Transport and Communications said:
"We are pleased to launch QIXP today, which is a new achievement in developing the essential components of Internet infrastructure in the ICT sector of Qatar. 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."
His Excellency pointed out that the Ministry has a plan to launch 3 other major Internet Exchange points this year.
On a question about the State's preparations in terms of transport systems for the 2022 World Cup, His Excellency explained that the Ministry had integrated plans for launching several alternatives of transportation that are safe and environmentally friendly during the next two years in preparation for the World Cup, as well as to encourage individuals to use public transport and increase dependence on electric public transportation where about 25 percent of the public transport fleet in Qatar will be environmentally friendly.
H.E. President of CRA Mohammed Ali Al Mannai thanked all stakeholders for their cooperation and contribution to the success of this project, specially MEEZA, Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar. He added that the CRA will continue to communicate and work with them and with all concerned and interested parties to develop this project.
The CRA, he said, ensures that the best international practices are applied to improve the Internet infrastructure and ensure provision of advanced, innovative and reliable local Internet services, and this is what the project will contribute to providing, as enhancing speed, reliability and security of local content exchanges will benefit all parties; Internet service providers, content providers and users, and thus will contribute to the development of the ICT sector in Qatar.
On the occasion, Technical Affairs Department Manager, CRA and QIXP Committee Chairman Eng. Abdulla Jassmi said;
"The launch of QIXP is one of the achievements that we seek to achieve in this field, and it 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. The Committee will continue to work as a one team to follow up on the progress of QIXP, in order to reach our desired goal which is meeting the market requirements of providing advanced and innovative services to contribute to achieving the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030."
To connect to QIXP 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 based on the followed procedures.
The QIXP functions as a meeting point between Internet service providers and digital content service providers for the exchange of data and information. It is one of the key components of Internet infrastructure, which will directly contribute to improving the quality of the Internet, developing the Information and Communications Technology Sector (ICT), raising the performance of networks by reducing the latency of accessing the content and reducing the number of intermediate points. Due to QIXP strategic importance in terms of information security and Internet infrastructure stability and sustainability in Qatar, it is also considered as a key factor in supporting the digital services that are needed to achieve the national policies and strategies and contributing to supporting the major events that Qatar hosts such as the FIFA World Cup 2022.
It is worth to mention that 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 QIXPs 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 H.E. Minister of Transport and Communications related to its objectives. According to the plan, other Internet Exchange Points will be activated during 2020, by using the data centers of telecom service providers or any other technically qualified parties, in order to facilitate the connection for the interested content providers.
Cover image credit: CRA Qatar
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