As Ghana Internet Exchange formall started operations it promised to create lower costs and latency times through local exchange of traffic.

In Ghana, the cost of Internet bandwidth and connectivity is high compared to the rest of the competitive world. In one sense, the cost of sending a local destined email is equal to the cost of sending an internationally destined email. To overcome this anomaly, the GISPA Director, Leslie Tamakloe said connecting to a local or national exchange, in this case GIX, ensures that the cost of sending a locally destined email is at a lower cost.

He disclosed that with the offsetting of the local traffic to the exchange point, the upgrading of International links of operators could be postponed for an additional period, thereby translating to savings on the International link capacity. "These savings can further be extended to the operators' customers."

With the GIX being operational, he estimated that web servers and mail servers would be the first value-added services to take off within Ghana. "ISPs will be able to offer web hosting with more reliability and greater connection speeds, and will also be able to offer "Ghanaian" email accounts".

Tamakloie noted that GIX would create an opening for entrepreneurial co-location facilities to pop up. It is feasible that these facilities could not only host local, Ghanaian content in their premises, but could also offer competitive rates for West Africa in general.

Ghana can become the "hub" of West African Internet content.

During the launch of the exchange, the Minister of Communications, Hon. Albert Kan Dapaah, announced government's robust network infrastructure, the national fibre backbone, saying that the first phase consists of closing the southern fibre optic loop covering Tema, Takoradi, Obuasi and Kumasi.The second phase however, consists of linking the southern loop with the north with the support of Cisco.He said e-government programme was being built to link all ministries, departments and agencies.

The GIX is run and operated by the Ghana Internet exchange Association (GIXA), an independent non-profit corporation establish by the Ghana Internet Service Providers Association (GISPA) and other stakeholders interested in joining and growing the GIX. While the GIX is a facility (router and switch) housed at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence, the GIXA comprises the community of operators (ISPs and Network Operators) who are connected and owners.

The Ghanaian Chronicle