India ranks second in Asia in 2023 for the most internet exchange points per country, according to a recent report.
This is a significant milestone in India’s commitment to adopting advanced technologies and addressing the challenges of a connected world, the Internet Society Pulse Country Report said.
India’s growth in IXP deployment in Asia helps pave the way for leadership in internet innovation and connectivity. As of December 2023, 40 IXPs have been established by several organisations across India, and around 900 internet networks connect to these IXPs, the report said.
An IXP is a physical and usually neutral location where different networks meet to exchange local traffic. IXPs have a significant impact on improving the digital capabilities of public services, which is important for a nation like India.
IXPs provide incentives for local hosting of internet services by promoting the creation of local content. This propels IT centres, which in turn benefits the IT industry, the service industry and society as a whole.
“In an era where streaming, digital education, and the global work-from-home economy heavily rely on IXPs, their importance cannot be overstated in the context of India, given its growing number of Internet users,” said Michuki Mwangi, the Internet Society’s distinguished technologist and former chief technology officer of Kenya Internet Exchange Point.
“While India is one of the leaders in Asia, it needs to expand on this good work and deploy more IXPs, encourage the remaining 85% of networks to peer with these, and establish more local data centres for it to increase the speed and affordability of its Internet services,” Mwangi added.
The location of IXP deployment is also important, according to Saadia Azim, a representative of the Internet Society’s India chapter. “With an internet penetration of approximately 67% in a country of 1.3 billion, the number of people who are still digitally disconnected is huge. This gap contributes to a widening digital divide.”
“The recent expansion to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Kolkata, Durgapur, and Bardhaman is creating significant opportunities in healthcare, public services, e-governance and education,” Azim said.
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