MyIX calls for better regulatory framework to lure global players
By Karamjit Singh March 22, 2019
- Clearer Internet laws can attract international content providers and ISPs
- MyIX infrastructure upgraded; port fees reduced by 36%
LAUNCHED in December 2006 with a consortium of 17 Malaysian Internet service providers (ISPs), the Malaysia Internet Exchange (MyIX) is a non-profit and neutral internet exchange hub where both local and international ISPs, telecoms carriers, content providers, for example iflix, and games providers connect with each other (“peering” in industry lingo) to exchange internet traffic.
Funded by the Malaysian government with an initial RM2.5 million to get things moving, the original idea was to save costs to local ISPs and improve the broadband experience of users.
At that time, only TM Net and Jaring were sharing an internet exchange between them and it was not open to other ISPs. As a result all other Malaysian ISPs were routing their domestic traffic via exchanges in Singapore and Hong Kong, back to Malaysian users.
It was a process that cost Malaysian ISPs hundreds of millions of ringgit annually. It also resulted in latencies of between 80 to 100 milliseconds. However, once MyIX went live, cost went down and the broadband experience of users when accessing local websites improved from the greatly reduced latencies.
Yet one characteristic of Malaysian internet behaviour is that a huge portion of internet traffic, 85%, goes to content sites outside of Malaysia which means local ISPs have to lease more and more international capacity to accommodate this traffic.
For a sense of perspective, internet traffic within the MyIX network hit a new peak of 391Gbps in 2018 as compared to five years ago when it hit 94Gbps in 2014. MyIX expects this 4.1x growth to repeat itself over the 2019 to 2023 period.
Thus it is no surprise that the chairman of MyIX, Chiew Kok Hin (pic), has called for an improvement of the current laws governing the Internet, in the hopes of making the country a more attractive option for international content providers to set up a presence in.
He tells DNA that MyIX is speaking to various content providers to encourage them to locate their servers in the country. “Many of them are already peering with MyIX but their actual content is not here, it is still based overseas, thus we won’t be able to obtain economies of scale. We need their content to be based in Malaysia.”
Currently more than 10 international content providers (which includes software) have a direct presence in Malaysia. These include MyIX peering partners such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Akamai Technologies (content delivery network and cloud service provider), Amazon, Alibaba, Cloudflare (Internet performance and security company), Limelight Networks (content delivery network), Tencent and Imperva (cyber-security software and services company).
But much more needs to be done, starting with the regulatory environment, Chiew believes.
To him, a supportive regulatory framework plays a key role in ensuring the Internet ecosystem is conducive and safe, in order to help attract more global ISPs and Content Service Providers (CSPs) to establish a presence in Malaysia.
He calls on the minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo, “to prioritise the betterment of the existing regulatory framework, so that Malaysia can level up as a viable option for international content providers to operate from when covering Asean and Asia Pacific.”
“When these global players set up their presence in Malaysia, it basically means that their content is brought nearer home, to provide a better experience for Malaysians in accessing that content,” he explains.
Economic benefits will also be unleashed through these direct investments as a stronger regulatory framework will attract global CSPs, data centre operators and ISPs.
And while MyIX believes that having a more transparent regulatory framework is important to attract global content providers to want a direct presence in Malaysia, it is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution. “We need to adopt a holistic approach,” says Chiew. “We need to get various things right, like access to good networks, any censorship is done with clear guidelines, the power tariff is competitive regionally, bandwidth prices are competitive and other factors.”
Certainly it will be a tough balancing act to ensure clearer Internet laws, which Chiew feels need to be more liberal and clear in the area of censorship, freedom of speech and sharing of content. At the same time, he calls for Internet laws to be, “firm in setting out the boundaries and penalties in criminal Internet activities and content such child pornography, illegal betting and such.”
MyIX has 98 members in its peering network – comprising 74 local members and 24 foreign members. The latest addition includes XMT Technologies Sdn Bhd, Majubina Resources Sdn Bhd, Cato Networks, GB Network Solutions Sdn Bhd, Jenexus Holding Sdn Bhd, KS IT Solutions Sdn Bhd, SMARTSEL Sdn Bhd and Orient Telecoms Sdn Bhd.
In anticipating more peering members, MyIX has invested in new high performance; high density, scalable switches at Cyberjaya and AIMS Data Centre (Kuala Lumpur) to cater to growth in the next five years until 2023. Chiew is the CEO of AIMS Group. The upgrade will also see higher density ports per slot to reduce operational expenditure and better ready MyIX to provide new services.
Besides the infrastructure upgrade, MyIX has also reduced its port fees by an average of 36% starting 2Q19 for 1G and 10G ports.
Chiew says, “We want to ensure that our members get affordable peering services, so that this savings can be passed on to their end consumers. MyIX will continue to play its role as part of Malaysia’s main peering network to promote efficient routing of traffic via direct peering”.