Chile on Friday announced plans to open up five new Internet exchange points (IXPs) next year to reduce network latency and Internet traffic costs.
Jorge Atton, head of Chile's telecoms regulator Subtel, told BNamericas that the new IXPs would enable the country to reduce Internet traffic costs to $5 a megabyte, which is the typical price for member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Over the past two years, Internet service prices in Latin America have come down from about $35 per megabyte to $15-18, but when these new IXPs are completed Chile's service providers will have more direct routing, which will reduce latency and costs even further.
One of the issues that has driven up Internet prices in some Latin America and Caribbean countries by up to 40 percent is that about 80 percent of all of the two regions' Internet traffic is routed through the United States. Chile itself has seven IXPs run by a number of major providers including Entel, Claro, Global Crossing (now Level 3), NAP Chile, Orange, Telefónica Mundo, and Intercity.
Only a few major Latin American countries already have IXPs. Columbia has two IXPs and Brazil has eight. Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and Costa Rica do not have IXPs, and there is not enough information on what infrastructure is in Peru and Ecuador.
*Does not include visits from public Access computers, such as Internet cafes, mobile phones or PDAs. (Image source: comScore)
Atton said the IXP focus points will be located in the following areas: Antofagasta, to serve Chile's north and to connect with Peru and northern Argentina; Santiago; Puerto Montt, to serve the south and also connect with Bariloche in Argentina; Punta Arenas, to connect Chile's deep south, and Coyhaique, to serve the area between Punta Arenas and Puerto Montt.
Atton added that "We aim to improve the connection with other countries without all traffic going through Santiago."
Providing more Internet exchange points at a lower cost comes at a time when Chile's use of bandwidth-intensive services such as online video continues to rise.
According to comScore, Chile led Latin America in online video viewing. In August, users watched an average of 171 videos per viewer in August. The study found that 6.8 million people age 15 and older watched online video, representing 92 percent of the country's overall online population.
Trailing Chile were three other Latin American countries: Mexico (154.7 videos per viewer), Brazil (125.4 videos per viewer) and Argentina (117.2 videos per viewer).
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