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CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT), a Thai leading telecommunication provider, adjusts its strategy to serve the enormous growth of the Internet Exchange Point (IXP) service in the digital age. Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 crisis, which forces consumers to adapt their “New Normal” life to live with physical distancing, eventually transforms the public relationship into digital and online communication. Therefore, CAT has stepped in to facilitate internet connectivity through Thailand IX – the next Asian Digital Hub.  

Ubonpan Chuenchom, Vice President of Carrier Business Department of CAT Telecom, said with ADSL Thailand, “CAT’s Thailand IX service is beneficial to Internet Service Providers (ISP) who have been dealing directly with the consumers “new normal” lifestyle their high demand.”

There were two types of Internet Gateway connections in Thailand: 1. International Internet Gateways (IIG) which connects international internet players to local Thai ISPs. In other words, IIG is an IP transit service.  2. National Internet Gateway (NIX) which connects most domestic internet data players. Conversely, NIX is an Internet Exchange service for local providers. Nevertheless, NIX must adapt itself to a global trend which allows international connectivity. Therefore, the CAT-NIX service renamed and repositioned itself as Thailand IX. Today, Thailand IX connects content and internet service providers directly to contain the traffic local as much as possible. Keeping the traffic local enables Thailand IX members and end-users to access their content fast and efficiently.”

Thailand IX and the step to Digital Era of the Region

Thailand IX will be the center of internet information and content exchange services in Thailand. As we already know, IX services increase internet traffic performance and reduce the cost of international internet traffic over IP transit provider. Moreover, as content providers such as video streaming and online shopping applications began to run their operation more in Thailand, or at least has their physical presence in Thailand. Therefore, those ISPs rely less on the IP transit service since merely a single connection to Thailand IX at one point can effectively and speedily connect them to all major players. Thailand IX is also driving Thailand’s content business to grow in neighboring markets who are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV region). The CLMV countries are particularly interested in Thai media and entertainment business content. Thailand IX ease its members (customers) to connect to those content provider with shortest route advantage and reasonable port capacity pricing.

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have changed their behavior to a “new normal” life where social interactions altered, less physical contact, and more online connection. As we have seen, social media usage is skyrocketing during this pandemic, and a wide range of new platforms are developing to serve this “new normal” life. The internet traffic demand from consumers creates a wave demand which forces the ISP and, eventually, more connection needed at the internet exchange points. Yet, Thailand IX has developed its system to serve the increasing demand from the internet service providers unlimitedly.

Exchange: feed and consume content on a global scale, giving birth to the international market.

The content service is the platform where content providers and ISPs are at the same place. The well-known Internet Exchange Point (IXP) will attract more providers into that service point. The consumers who are ISPs and mobile operators. On the other hand, the providers are applications and content providers. The well known IXP providers, such as Amsterdam IX, Netherlands IX, London, Hong Kong IX, IX, Equinix IX, have more than 300 members, which generates a totally at least 10 Tbps bandwidth traffic.

In Thailand, there are more than 10 Internet Exchange point providers who carried IX license holders granted by the Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). Thailand IX is the Thai leading Internet Exchange with the most significant number of subscribers, which means the optimum ability to access the best applications and content in Thailand.

Ubonphan said, “Since Thailand IX gives a connecting service to both startups, SMEs, and large enterprises to connect, they can access their desired applications and contents such as some specific entertainment or games contents. Connecting directly with Thailand IX enables users to access data as effectively as connecting directly with that ISP.” 

Currently, government agencies have started connecting to Thailand IX directly, such as the network of the Office of The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation. This network provides internet services to universities across Thailand, and government agencies cloud connections to access information and support services to the public sector effectively.

Build up confidence with connectivity, both submarine and land cable systems.

Ms. Ubonphan added that over the years, many of the world’s leading application and content providers have expanded their connecting points to Asian countries, such as Microsoft, Tencent, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Some also bring their equipment to install in Thailand as their presence points, and they are interested in connecting to CAT’s Thailand IX platform.

For Internet Exchanges in Southeast Asia, Singapore has a strong IXP market in terms of commercial services and business and IT service. Malaysia follows in the second. Meanwhile, CAT has been developing Thailand IX to represent Thailand will become the ASEAN Digital Hub of this region soon.

“Nowadays, the situation in Thailand has gradually improved from the government’s digital infrastructure development as well as the rapidly growing economy in neighboring countries. As a result, the volume of internet demand is increasing swiftly. Thailand IX will strengthen Thailand’s digital infrastructure and the region in terms of quality and cost of service,” Ubonphan said.

Connect Thailand IX has a Cheaper Cost than Connect to Oversea IXPs.

In the past, service providers had to retrieve content from overseas, such as Singapore, USA, and Japan. If Thailand can gather those international demands to be local in Thailand, instead, our consumers will benefit in lowering their cost in terms of price per bandwidth. Eventually, when the cost of ISP operating reduces, the amount charged with its customers (end users) will be lower. Hence, they will be and able to use more bandwidth, get a better experience in high-performance, and fast internet access. Neighboring countries will turn to use Thailand as a hub for more information connection.

Expectations of Bringing Thailand IX to Be the Regional Hub

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) has encouraged CAT to expand its submarine cable service to neighboring countries in the ASEAN Digital Hub project, which CAT has taken to respond to the government policy adequately. Therefore, CAT has upgraded Thailand IX to connect with neighboring countries. As a result, Thailand has become the regional center of the internet network. Thailand IX has become the connection hub to boost the economy.

 “We invite startups and SMEs to join the Thailand IX platform because of the benefits of the services will resonate back to consumers in getting a better quality of internet usage. The government can help, that is, preparing to open the country to attract digital investors into Thailand by working on infrastructure, the application of law and related policy as well as the development of ICT workforce. If Thailand becomes a hub for telecommunications, those skilled workers are highly sought after by the market,” Ubonphan concluded.

For those who are interested in Thailand IX, please visit https://th-ix.net/th/  or call 02 104 3861 and 02 104 3882.