Nigeria's first national internet exchange has been established, a result of collaboration between the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the ISP industry represented by Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria. The Exchange, known as Nigeria Internet Exchange, is an independent, non-profit and neutral association. The Nigeria Internet Exchange Association would manage the Nigeria Internet Exchange.

The Nigeria Internet Exchange Association, a company limited by guarantee, has three layers, namely, Board of Trustee, Board of Directors and Management. According to Engineer Ndukwe Kalu, chairman of the implementation committee, plans are already at advanced stages to constitute these organs and they are expected to be concluded in the first week of May.

The Exchange is set to have one of the most ambitious Internet Exchange capacities in Africa. Already the committee in concert with Digitec TeeVee has already ordered the required equipment.

"We are in discussions with Foundry for a first class Exchange. The Exchange will have seven branches and about forty sites, with at least one site in each state and Abuja", Kalu said.

He added that each exchange branch will be linked to the nearest branches. The Exchange would start with the Lagos branch with three sites of NECOM House (NOC), Ikeja and Victoria Island sites.

When the Exchange opens this month, it would provide various port services (10/100, 1GB, etc) and also non-port services like route server, UNGANA among others. It would have a wireless network to enable members connect at the least cost.

The IXPs is open to service providers and content providers with member and associate member categories.

To ensure equality and that the fundamental goal of the exchange is met, Kalu explained that the Exchange would operate a Mandatory Multilateral Peering Policy. This would ensure that all members peer with all others without discrimination.

With the Lagos branch expected to be up this month, the exchange would then move on to other phases to connect and bring up the other branches. To enable the exchange proceed faster it has defined an elaborate partner programs.

The various partner categories available are Equipment, Co-location, National Transit, International Transit, Training and General Partners. According the Engr Kalu the committee has already identified some partners and are advanced stages of discussion with them. Some of the partners include, Foundry Networks, Mikrotik, Interconnect Clearing House Limited, Nitel, among others.

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