PCH

Google Commits to Supporting Caribbean IXPs

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados—The first-ever Caribbean Peering and Internet Connection Forum (CarPIF) successfully concluded with commitments from Internet companies Akamai Technologies and Google to pay closer attention to the needs of Caribbean Internet service providers and consumers.

More than 40 regional and international technology experts met in Barbados on May 27 and 28 to discuss strategies for improving the economics and technical efficiency of Internet content delivery in the Caribbean.

The meeting, organised by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), explored the state of Caribbean Internet infrastructure, the impact of local Internet exchange point (IXP) deployment in the region, and practical steps for improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of Internet service across the region.

The gathering was supported by two non-profit Internet organisations, Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the Internet Society (ISOC), along with the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.

It attracted Internet service providers, including Cable & Wireless and Columbus Networks, as well as telecommunications regulators and IXP operators from across the Caribbean. International participants included the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and the Internet Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), search-engine giant Google, and Akamai, the world’s largest content delivery network provider.

“The success of the region’s first peering forum is testament to the increasing maturity of the Caribbean Internet community, and the increasing regard for that community by international players in the Internet space,” said Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist with PCH and a main organiser of the event.

He said that while the region recently made “positive strides” in establishing critical Internet infrastructure, there was still “considerable room for improving the reliability and efficient delivery of content to Caribbean consumers.”

Wooding, one of the co-founders of CaribNOG, is responsible for establishing the peering forum, together with Shernon Osepa, Regional Outreach Manager for ISOC, an organisation that encourages and supports peering forums in other parts of the world.

“ISOC was pleased to be able to work together with the CaribNOG community and Packet Clearing House to stage this first peering forum in the Caribbean,” Osepa said.

Arturo Servin, who works on content delivery and peering for Latin America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula at Google, shared on the mega corporation’s experience in bringing its content closer to Caribbean customers. Google Inc. is the company behind popular Internet services such as YouTube and Gmail.

“Google wants to bring its content as close as possible to Caribbean audiences,” Servin said. “We are currently exploring options that will allow us to better service Internet service providers and IXPs in small markets like those in the region.”

Google committed at the meeting to support IXPs in the Caribbean, and used the opportunity to meet face to face with IX operators and regulators from across the region.

“This was a great opportunity to meet our customers in the Caribbean and establish new connections,” said Martin Hannigan, ?Director, Networks and Data Center Architecture at Akamai Technologies.

“These types of gatherings are commonplace in other regions, so it’s great to see the Caribbean establishing CarPIF and putting things in place to make it possible for consumers and businesses to have a better Internet experience. That improved customer experience is the real point of peering and it’s what matters most.”

Organisers announced plans for the second CarPIF event to be staged in Curacao in June 2016.

Google, Netflix to join Caribbean Internet providers for CarPIF

By Gerard Best

If you live in the Caribbean, you don’t need to be a computer expert to know that the region’s Internet services need to improve.
If your connection falters so often that you’ve long since stopped calling customer service for redress, then you’ve got a pretty good idea about the challenges of regional connectivity.
Or if you’ve ever tried to launch a web-based startup, but have found yourself at a competitive disadvantage simply because download or upload speeds aren’t cutting it, then you have already have a decent understanding of why the region needs more robust Internet infrastructure.
No further expertise needed.
Of course, fixing the underlying issues that cause those problems is another matter, requiring technical expertise, commerce negotiations and a healthy dose of good old-fashioned collaboration.
That’s precisely the mission of the Bevil Wooding, Shernon Osepa and a volunteer group of Caribbean Internet experts going by the name CaribNOG. They are behind the upcoming Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum (CarPIF) to be held in Barbados from May 27 to 28.
The event is being organised by the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), with support from Packet Clearing House (PCH), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU). It will bring together high-level Internet industry players from across the region and around the world.
It marks the first time that Caribbean Internet service providers and major international content providers such as Google, Akamai and Netflix, will be gathering in the Caribbean for this kind of interaction, said Wooding, Internet Strategist with PCH.
“Internet Peering fora are commonplace in other regions of the world. They are used to bring Internet service providers and content providers from across the spectrum of the Internet ecosystem into one space to build relationships, broker agreements and discuss matters related to the development and strengthening of the peering relationships that underpin the Internet,” Wooding told the Guardian.
As an outcome of the upcoming CarPIF, regional consumers can look forward to a more stable, resilient, efficient Caribbean Internet, he said.

Growing Caribbean Internet economy
Shernon Osepa, Manager, Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at ISOC, said “the forum is a testament to the growth and maturity that has taken place in the Caribbean Internet landscape over the past few years.”
He explained that the meeting will address “strategies for encouraging and increasing local digital content development, and opportunities for content delivery network operators in the Caribbean.”
Internet exchange point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, Internet service providers (ISPs), policymakers and regulators make up the list of registered attendees for the event. The wide range of participants will gain valuable insight into “how the Caribbean can maximise the opportunities that can be derived for greater interconnection and peering,” said Bernadette Lewis, secretary general of the CTU.
That organisation has been playing a major role in bringing regional governments into a greater appreciation of the value of creating a healthy regional Internet ecosystem. Strengthening the region’s critical Internet infrastructure is now widely understood to be a necessary first step to strengthening its Internet economy, as online commerce remains a largely underexploited way for local businesses to deliver local services for local Internet users.