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Internet Exchanges Help India Manage Internet Traffic

The government has installed 42 Internet Exchanges to date. Internet Exchanges primarily provide peering services to internet service providers (ISP), content providers, and other networks. Establishing Internet Exchanges reduces Internet traffic coming from one ISP to other ISPs and participating networks like content delivery networks (CDNs) or data centres.

Internet Exchanges reduce latency, improve response time, and have the potential to reduce the cost to deliver Internet services and content. Internet Exchanges are set up by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). NIXI, owned under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), mandated the setting up of new Internet Exchanges in select locations depending on need assessment. In line with this, NIXI sets up new exchanges from time to time. Recently, it set up one in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh with 1 GBPS connectivity between Chennai and Visakhapatnam.

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) create shorter routes for Internet traffic. They offer better resilience, stability, efficiency, and quality improvements at lowered costs. IXPs are expected to benefit the IT and service sectors and society at large. Establishing more IXPs not only aids traffic management but encourages local content development and creates incentives for the local hosting of Internet services due to the larger pool of local users. These users can access online content faster and cheaper.

India has operational Internet Exchanges in Guwahati in the state of Assam; Patna (Bihar); Raipur (Chhattisgarh); New Delhi (Delhi); Panjim (Goa); Ahmedabad, Vadodra, and Rajkot (Gujarat); Gurgaon (Haryana); Shimla (Himachal Pradesh); Srinagar and Jammu (Jammu & Kashmir); Bangalore and Mangalore (Karnataka); Indore, Bhopal, and Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh); Mumbai (Maharashtra); Pondicherry; Jaipur and Jodhpur (Rajasthan); Chennai and Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu); Hyderabad (Telangana); Agartala (Tripura); Noida, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Agra, Meerut, and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh); Dehradun and Haldwani (Uttrakhand); and Kolkata, Burdwan, and Durgapur (West Bengal).

In October, OpenGov Asia reported on a three-day Digital India conference for state IT ministers, where the MeitY Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, announced that IN 260 billion (US$ 3.1 billion) will be used to install 25,000 new mobile towers. He said the move will connect all parts of the country, one of the main objectives of the Digital India initiative. The project is financed by the Universal Service Obligation Fund. The state-owned Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) will be used to deploy the towers.

The government has claimed it is committed to promoting technology start-ups beyond Tier-1 cities. It emphasised collaboration, start-up-friendly policies, and incentives at the state level to create a thriving start-up ecosystem. Regarding emerging technology, the government has stressed the importance of data-driven decision-making and data and process-driven innovations using artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, drones, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It will work with industries and academia to upskill and train youths and professionals in deep technologies while providing them with better digital infrastructure and opportunities.

Launched in 2015, the Digital India initiative is the government’s flagship programme that aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. It consists of nine pillars: broadband highways, universal access to mobile connectivity, public Internet access programme, e-governance: reforming government through technology, e-Kranti (the electronic delivery of services), information for all, electronics manufacturing, IT for jobs, and early harvest programmes.

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