BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei has launched its first internet exchange platform that will provide domestic and regional network operators with faster connectivity and improved user experience.

The state-owned network infrastructure provider Unified National Networks (UNN) partnered with Germany’s leading internet exchange operator DE-CIX to roll out the internet exchange, dubbed ‘Borneo-IX’ on Thursday.

Located at the Tungku Submarine Cable Station, the Borneo-IX infrastructure is ready to connect internet service providers, cloud providers and content delivery networks across borders, said UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler.

“A neutral international internet exchange acts in a similar way to a stock exchange, bringing together demand and supply, creating a digital marketplace for data, information, digital services and entertainment,” he said.

As part of Brunei’s ‘Smart Nation’ initiatives, the internet exchange helps to reduce costs and improve performance with better traffic control.

L to R : Second Minister of Finance and Economy YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew and MTIC minister YB Dato Abdul Mutalib at the launch of Brunei’s first internet exchange, ‘Borneo-IX’, on Feb 4, 2021. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar

Platform to create collaboration opportunities for Brunei and foreign businesses

Oehler said Brunei will be a new prime location for digital business as the Borneo-IX is part of the global Internet exchange network.

Brunei boasts landing stations for several international submarine cables, while its location on Borneo is well-positioned in the centre of Southeast Asia, said UNN.

“Cooperating with the leading provider DE-CIX enables us to offer connectivity capabilities similar to Singapore, Frankfurt and London. We believe this is a key milestone for the telecommunications industry in Brunei,” the CEO added.

In a statement, UNN said the internet exchange will create new opportunities for Bruneian businesses to collaborate and expand internationally, while attracting foreign organisations to consider Brunei for business and investments.

Borneo-IX offers domestic and regional network operators the shortest route and access to worldwide Internet hubs in Asia, Europe, and America.

It also enables global networks to get closer to users in Southeast Asia and acts as a new gateway between the US and the region.

UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler speaks at the launch of Brunei’s first internet exchange, ‘Borneo-IX’ on Feb 4, 2021. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar

Connecting users in Southeast Asia and beyond

CEO of DE-CIX International Ivo Ivanov said there is massive digital demand with more than 600 million inhabitants in Southeast Asia.

Eighty percent of international content providers are doing business in the region and are in need of robust and flexible interconnection services, he said.

“While Singapore has been a major content hub for the region for the last decade, the DE-CIX Asia interconnection ecosystem brings low-latency and high-speed connectivity to underserved areas of the region, enabling the exchange of traffic locally, but also direct interconnection with networks at other DE-CIX IXs in the region,” he added.

“With this partnership, we take another step towards better localisation of interconnection services across Southeast Asia on the strategically important island of Borneo,” he added.

DE-CIX’s global neutral interconnection ecosystem extends all the way from North America, Europe, the Middle East, India to Southeast Asia, connecting over 2,100 networks.

The launch of the Borneo-IX exchange marks the start of commercial operations of its equipment and related services.

DE-CIX will operate the internet exchange on behalf of UNN and as part of the DECIX-as-a-Service (Daas) programme.

The DaaS programme includes a set of services — such as installation, maintenance, provisioning, marketing, and sales support — designed for data centre operators or other third parties to create their own internet exchange and interconnection platform.

UNN Chief Digital Officer Heiko Trost said, “The next step now is we need time to establish ourselves. Now we need to get content providers to get on board. It will take maybe five to six months”.