The broadband Internet in Asia and the Pacific has witnessed phenomenal growth in the last decade but there have been significant gaps among member countries of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). While ESCAP launched the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative to narrow the digital divide and expand broadband Internet access, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) continue to experience lower fixed-broadband subscriptions than other countries in the region. Although CLMV countries have seen rapid growth in the mobile broadband segment, insufficient wired network infrastructure and inefficient Internet traffic management have contributed to a relatively high cost structure and low broadband subscription.
Recognizing the challenges, ESCAP and the National Information Society Agency (NIA) of the Republic of Korea conducted a study in CLMV countries as part of the AP-IS initiative from 2017 and published results of the study in 2020. The study recommended, among other actions, the establishment of Internet exchange points (IXPs) to reduce data transit costs and network latency, and help increase Internet uptake and quality of service.
This working paper builds on the 2020 ESCAP-NIA study and analyses the challenges and opportunities for enhancing Internet traffic exchange and management systems in CLMV countries, as contribution towards the achievement of AP-IS goals. Following analysis of the network structure and traffic, and the existing IXPs in CLMV countries, the study proposes an inter-country IXP network topology and donor funding modality for IXP establishment. A cost estimate and guidelines for IXP establishment based on best practices are also provided.