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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) launched the first neutral internet exchange in Pakistan powered by DE-CIX.

Addressing on this occasion, caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif said that four important milestones have been achieved in collaboration with PTCL, SCO, PTA, De CIX, PEACE Cable and China Mobile.

Dr Saif announced that agreement has been reached with China to start routing their Internet traffic through Pakistan — making Pakistan a regional hub for connectivity. This will earn Pakistan huge revenue for Internet transit traffic. Second, Etisalat has set up Pakistan’s first carrier-neutral IXP and Data center in Pakistan to strengthen the reliability of internet connectivity.

Third, PTCL will work with DE CIX German data center and IXP operator to run the operations of this new data center. Bringing a world-class data center operator to Pakistan will now enable us to both bring super-scaling cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure to Pakistan and provide a local content hub for content services such as YouTube, TikTok, and Netflix. And last but not least, Pakistan’s internet users can now access services locally and Pakistan can become a hub of regional connectivity.

Describing the revolutionary steps, Dr Saif, further said, “Pakistan is a massive digital market, with an internet user base larger than the population of Italy.”

He said over the past few years, we have made significant strides in advancing fiber connectivity. We got two fiber loops from Kashgar to Rawalpindi, further extended to Karachi by PTCL. Additionally, multiple submarine cables making landfall in Karachi further enhance our connectivity.

Now, PTCL Business Solution’s carrier-neutral data center, managed by a tier 1 data center operator, DE-CIX is up and running and generates exciting prospects for localized content hosting from leading platforms like YouTube, Netflix and TikTok.

The content cached and routed from Pakistan can seamlessly reach other markets, positioning us as the regional digital connectivity hub. It can generate annual revenues, ranging from $200-400 million through transit traffic to substantially add to our economy.

Housed in the PTCL data center in Karachi, the IX is operated by DE-CIX under the DE-CIX as a Service (DaaS) model and built on DE-CIX’s award-winning interconnection infrastructure. The interconnection platform offers local peering, as well as remote access to DE-CIX Frankfurt (Germany), one of the largest IXs in the world. PIE powered by DE-CIX is set to serve as a hub for regional connectivity, enabling local networks low-latency interconnection and the localization of global content, while increasing network stability, scalability, and security.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with DE-CIX to bring this state-of-the-art interconnection facility to Pakistan,” said Zarrar Hasham Khan, Group Chief Business Solutions Officer at PTCL and Ufone 4G. He further stated, as the largest integrated ICT company in Pakistan, we are committed to advancing the country’s digital infrastructure to support widespread digitalization, and this collaboration is a significant step forward in achieving that goal.

“As one of the most populous countries in Asia and with Internet usage growing extremely fast, Pakistan needs local interconnection. The Pakistan Internet Exchange powered by DE-CIX will prove itself to be key to unlocking the economic potential of excellent Internet connectivity for the country. The IX will enable national networks to serve world-class Internet connectivity and attract more international Internet and cloud service providers to do business in Pakistan, allowing the development of a vibrant local digital ecosystem,” commented Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX.

“In this way, the people in Pakistan can enjoy the best access to local and international information, content, and services.”

Pakistan Internet Exchange will be joining such success stories as the UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX in Dubai, whose growth and success over the last twelve years has led to it being recognized as an important international Internet hub. The DaaS program includes a set of services – such as installation, maintenance, provisioning, marketing, and sales support – designed for digital infrastructure operators to create their own IX and interconnection platform, fully operated by DE-CIX. It delivers the technical set-up needed for an Internet Exchange as a fully pre-configured and standardized “DE-CIX in a box” solution.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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