Unified National Networks (UNN), the national network infrastructure operator wholly-owned subsidiary of Darussalam Assets and DE-CIX, the world’s leading Internet Exchange operator have announced a strategic partnership on Thursday, launching Borneo-IX which gives the sultanate and simultaneously, the Southeast Asian region access to worldwide internet hubs in Asia, Europe and America.  

Borneo-IX represents the first international neutral Internet Exchange in Brunei and on Borneo, and according to UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler, acts similarly to a “stock exchange, bringing together demand and supply, creating a digital marketplace for data, information, digital services and entertainment”. 

Image: Analisa Amu

Internet Exchanges (IX) are technical infrastructures where networks such as Internet Service Providers (ISP), mobile operators and Content Delivery Networks (CDN) like Google come together and connect to exchange internet traffic.  

“Brunei Darussalam as a member of the ASEAN community and presiding ASEAN this year is part of the regional and global economic system. The global economy is transforming towards digital economic processes and relations,” said Dr Oehler during the launching ceremony held at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club. 

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“Internet, access to data and digital access to markets and services is amplifying the globalization and digitalization of industries, creating new opportunities for small and big businesses by lowering entry barriers into new market and creating new partnerships,” he added. 

With the establishment of Borneo-IX, Brunei, Borneo and the region will have access to DE-CIX’s worldwide networks which include more than 2,000 connected networks and 28 other Internet Exchanges, therefore offering domestic and regional customers the “shortest route and dedicated access” to worldwide internet hubs. 

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DE-CIX’s global neutral interconnection ecosystem extends all the way from DE-CIX IXs in North America, Europe, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia connecting more than 2,100 networks overall. 

Set to serve the Southeast Asian market, the dedicated access at Borneo-IX will provide customers with a comprehensive set of interconnection services which include peering locally with other Southeast Asian networks, streaming-media services (OTT) and enterprises, therefore, gaining access to a vibrant interconnection ecosystem in the region and other DE-CIX locations in due course. 

As all DE-CIX IXs in Southeast Asia are connected within the DE-CIX Asia interconnection ecosystem- having metro markets in Singapore and Malaysia – customers at any exchanges are able to access networks at any other IXs in the region, paving the way for a seamless connection, top quality interconnection services and represents the most cost-effective way to peer across Southeast Asia. 

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“With the Borneo-IX being part of the global internet exchange network, Brunei will be a prime location for digital business, providing capacities on par with Singapore or Hong Kong in Asia, Frankfurt or Amsterdam in Europe and other prime locations in the world,” Dr Oehler explained.

On the economic implications, the establishment of Borneo-IX will create new opportunities for Bruneian businesses to collaborate and expand internationally while attracting international organisations to consider Brunei for business and investments. 

“Keeping in mind the Brunei government’s Digital Masterplan Strategy, driven by Wawasan 2035, the Borneo-IX exchange is one crucial building block to develop Brunei’s telecommunication industry towards a vivid ICT Hub for the country and the region,” continued Dr Oehler. 

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In his part, CEO of DE-CIX International, Ivo Ivanov said that with more than 600 inhabitants in Southeast Asia, there is a massive digital demand that needs to be served (as) 80 per cent of the relevant international content providers are doing business in the region and “are in need of robust and flexible interconnection services”. 

“The key content and cloud-computing players have started to extend their footprint throughout Southeast Asia – including to the island of Borneo,” he said. 

“The demand for low latency and the huge traffic volumes driven by video, gaming and in general digitalisation in the industry such as finance, e-health and mobility are massive,” added Ivanov. 

“DE-CIX’s mission is to support all of these needs today and into the future with excellent interconnection services,” he concluded. 

Located at the Tungku Submarine Cable Station Brunei Darussalam, the new interconnection platform will be operated by DE-CIX on behalf of UNN, as part of the DE-CIX-as-a-Service (Daas) programme. 

Under the programme, DE-CIX will provide a set of services from 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. 

DE-CIX delivers the technical set-up needed for an Internet Exchange as a fully pre-configured and standardised “DE-CIX in a box” solution – easy to plug and play. 

The event was officiated by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah who is also the Chairman of UNN, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Abd Mutalib POKSSDP Hj Mohd Yusof. 



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