SGIX adds peering point in western Singapore, but challenges remain

The partnership involving BlueTel Networks will see a neutral peering point sited in Digital Realty's data center, which will complement the current two in the east under the Singapore Internet Exchange.

The Singapore Internet Exchange (SGIX) will have a third peering point in the west of the island, following a partnership involving BlueTel Networks and Digital Realty.

"As the demand for a more open Internet Exchange environment grows, we are pleased to offer our clients an enhanced and alternate connectivity point in the west of Singapore," said Kris Kumar, Asia-Pacific regional head at Digital Realty.

The alliance with the Singapore Internet Exchange and BlueTel Networks includes an agreement to site a neutral peering point in Digital Realty's Singapore data center, in addition to SGIX's two existing peering points in the east.

According to Digital Realty, peering points on both sides of the country will enhance the overall performance of the Internet in Singapore. The SGIX is a not-for-profit neutral Internet exchange set up to attract regional and international carriers to use the country as a hub for Internet traffic. This allows service providers to efficiently exchange traffic and reduce latency, ultimately allowing the growth of services which may be bandwidth-intensive.

"We have the space and power capacity to allow for the growth of our customer base, which will hopefully grow the membership base of the Singapore Internet Exchange," said a spokesperson. She added that SGIX will be able to leverage the company's customer base growth, such as through colocation, and will be attractive because no cross connect fees are imposed by Digital Realty.

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However, an additional peering point will do little to help the industry, at least in terms of local peering , according to Vignesa Moorthy, CEO of Internet service provider Viewqwest.

For a service provider to exchange Internet traffic with another, both parties require an agreement to do so, such as over a peering point provided by SGIX. However, an obstacle arises when an incumbent such as SingTel , refuses to openly peer for free with others, said Moorthy.

Previously, this prompted ISPs to route traffic overseas, typically Hong Kong, before returning it to Singapore. This was cheaper, as it cost twice as much acquiring a connection with SingTel, he explained.

However, due to the lag time incurred when bouncing traffic overseas, many ISPs have been increasingly "forced" to agree to SingTel's terms in order to keep service standards, as the incumbent has the bulk of the marketshare of users.

There are currently over 40 members on SGIX, according to its site, including the likes of incumbents SingTel and StarHub. Members are free to set their own peering terms and are not obligated to peer with one another.

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