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PTCL Launches First Neutral Internet Exchange in Pakistan

Caretaker Federal Minister for IT & Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif on Monday said Pakistan achieved four important milestones in collaboration with PTCL, SCO, PTA, De CIX, PEACE Cable and China Mobile.

Addressing as a Chief Guest on the inauguration of ‘Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) powered by DE-CIX’, the first carrier-neutral IX in the country in Islamabad, he announced that Pakistan has reached an agreement for China to start routing its Internet traffic through Pakistan.

This will earn Pakistan huge revenue for Internet transit traffic. Secondly, Etisalat has setup Pakistan’s first carrier neutral IXP and Data center in Pakistan to strengthen the reliability of internet connectivity.

Thirdly 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 the least, Pakistan’s internet users can now access services locally and Pakistan can become a hub of regional connectivity.

Describing the 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.

He said that 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.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), is the largest integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) company of Pakistan and DE-CIX, is the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator.

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 & 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. Our nationwide network and DE-CIX’s interconnection infrastructure will serve as a foundation to enhance the Internet experience of our customers while facilitating the local hosting of content by international platforms. We believe this partnership will not only drive digital enablement across the country but also help accelerate the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy.”

“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. We at DE-CIX want to serve this great demand for high speed, high quality, stable, and resilient Internet connectivity to guarantee a seamless experience for end users and businesses across the country,” Ivanov continued.

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.

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