EMIX to expand capacity

Emirates Internet Exchange (EMIX), Etisalat’s internet connectivity division, is to expand its capacity over the next few months to meet growing demand in neighbouring countries and the UAE.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  June 3, 2003

Emirates Internet Exchange (EMIX), Etisalat’s internet connectivity division, is to expand its capacity over the next few months to meet growing demand in neighbouring countries and the UAE.

The unit, which supplies connectivity to carriers and ISPs in the region, is planning to add at least four more STM-1, 155Mbps circuits to its network this year to raise its total bandwidth capacity to almost 2Gbps.

Since its launch in 1998, the provider has installed seven STM-1 connections supplying 1.1Gbps bandwidth in total, but will add two more circuits by June, followed by at least a further two by the end of the year, according to Ahmed Hareb, EMIX marketing manager.

The move reflects EMIX’s reaction to growing demand for multimedia services offered by its ISP and carrier customers, and the provider’s aim to become the main transit centre in the region for international connectivity. The provider has also seen growing interest from carriers looking for back-up capacity following last month’s earthquake in Algeria.

“We’re forecasting 50% [growth] this year... so we’re expanding by an additional four STM-1’s. We should be able to activate these by the end of the year. This, I believe, will put us a little below 2Gbps,” adds Hareb.

EMIX uses the FLAG and Sea-Me-We3 submarine networks to link its Network Access Points (NAPs) in the UAE with the US and Europe, and has built up its customer base with deals to serve bandwidth to ISPs and carriers in Kuwait, Oman, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Iran and Pakistan.

The company also struck a deal in May to supply 155Mbps of bandwidth to Jordan Telecom, the Kingdom’s incumbent fixed operator, which is experiencing growth in demand for telecoms services and is preparing for the rollout of next generation networks.

Jordan Telecom will use one of EMIX’s seven existing STM-1s and become one of the supplier’s largest customers, says Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi, acting president and CEO of Etisalat.

“We see a very promising future for EMIX because we are dealing with a rapidly developing market with substantial growth opportunities,” adds Al Qadi.

Further expansion will focus on countries less well served in terms of capacity by links to Europe and markets offering growth in terms of internet subscribers.

“Iran is one of our main targets for the upcoming year and we’re trying to gain share within that market. [Iran] has a huge percentage of the Middle East population, and is under-penetrated in terms of internet [services],” adds Hareb.

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