The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has inaugurated the nation’s first internet exchange point (IXP) in Islamabad, enabling internet users in the country to access locally-hosted content at faster speeds. Local news portal Dawn quotes PTA chairman Dr Ismail Shah as saying at a press conference marking the launch that: ‘Just like a phone call is routed through local exchanges, an online request from internet users in Islamabad [now] will be directed to the servers installed [at the IXP] instead of directing requests to servers in Europe or the US.’ The official added that the use of the IXP would help drive down prices for end users as well improving latency.
Pakistan has seen a spike in internet usage since the introduction of 3G and 4G mobile broadband services in 2014, with Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman noting: ‘We have been adding a million internet users a month since broadband 3G and 4G high speed internet services were introduced in Pakistan. From an insignificant 3.8 million broadband users, Pakistan has now more than 40 million [mobile and fixed] broadband users in less than three years, and the numbers continue to rise.’
ProPakistani writes that eight ISPs are using the IXP at present, namely: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL), Nayatel, Telenor Pakistan, Wateen, Multinet, Cybernet, Wi-Tribe and PERN.