The Ghana Internet eXchange (GIX) is the facility which keeps Ghanaian Internet traffic in Ghana. GIX allows local Internet Service Providers and Network Operators to easily exchange traffic within Ghana, while improving connectivity and services for their customers.
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. Whiles the GIX is a facility (router and switch) housed at the Ghana India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence, the GIXA is the community of operators (ISPs and Network Operators) who are connected and owners. GISPA is a professional, non-profit trade association representing the interest of ISPs and those interested in the provision of Internet service. The structure of the GIXA (GIX) is such that non-members of GISPA can also connect to the exchange. Hence it is open to all carriers (operators) who may want to exchange traffic locally.
- Keeping local traffic local
- Enhancing local internet experience
- Saving ISPs and customers money
- Promoting the creation of local content
- Knowledge worker job creation
The value of an IXP is clear to governments, regulators, industry experts, and industry members for good reason: it usually heralds significant development and opportunities for new revenue in the local ICT industry. It is because of this eventual national pay-off that IXPs are usually financed by donations from individuals, organizations, corporations, governments, etc. One point of failure for Exchanges is attempting to finance them by means other than donations or sponsorship.
The cost of the Exchange is minimal compared with the benefits. Exchange points have two benefits (short and long term) that directly address two obstacles to ICT growth (international bandwidth costs and network latency). The short-term benefit happens overnight. Once ISPs are connected to the Exchange, they will no longer pay international bandwidth costs for local, Ghanaian traffic. This cost savings, however, is not the only value of an IXP.
The long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term. Once the ISPs are connected to the GIX, latency or transit time of traffic becomes a fraction of what it was since it stays within the same network. As a result of this increased speed and reliability, additional “value-added” services become possible on the national network. Exchange Points make web content hosting, audio and video streaming, E-commerce, E-governance, etc. possible. Right now ISPs and local businesses often go outside of Ghana for advanced Internet solutions such as the above, taking revenue elsewhere. With the GIX, all of that business and the revenue that comes with it can come to Ghana creating more entrepreneurial opportunities, jobs, and options for investment.
In Ghana the cost of Internet bandwidth and connectivity is highest 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, 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. With the offsetting of the local traffic to the exchange point, the upgrading of International links of operators can be postponed for an additional period. Therefore translating to saving on the International link capacity. These savings can further be extended to the operators customers.
Internet use is enhanced when the end users realize fast and efficient services. Interconnecting to the GIX will improve access to the local content. Consequently improved local communications, download and uploads are realised hence increased customer satisfaction in the quality of service provided.