The Cayman Islands Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg) reports that it's pressing ahead with plans for the jurisdiction to have more control over how local internet traffic is routed.
At present, local internet traffic first goes via a third-party network or switching centre overseas before it then returns to Cayman and is delivered to the intended local user.
According to OfReg, placing such data on third-party networks in theory increases the cost of delivering service and also could make the traffic/data vulnerable and susceptible to interception.
The agency advises that it is vital that Cayman regulates the terms and conditions under which infrastructure and services are provided through the use of what’s known as 'PeeringPoints' or 'IXPs.
Not to be confused with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) which are the companies providing internet service, IXPs and Peering Points are critical pieces of internet technology involving the physical locations where different networks connect and how internet traffic is routed.
Consultation has been carried out to get feedback and input into a range of aspects of technology including regulations and cost implications.
OfReg says having this service based and processed in Cayman would be to the advantage of the jurisdiction in many respects including a Cabinet directive to ensure local internet communication remains onshore, and the Government's overall vision for innovation and development of the ICT sector.
Malike Cummings, CEO at OfReg, says, “This should generate cost savings for the local internet service provision, resiliency and improved internet performance for customers.”
According to the agency, the peering system and the use of IXPs “through balanced regulation, encourages secure and efficient use of infrastructure and increases the attractiveness of the local digital ecosystem in support of facilitating investment, innovation, and development for the country.”
Sonji Myles, (Acting) Executive Director of ICT at OfReg states:
"We intend to promote public awareness of the contributions that peering and IXPs can make to the development of the Cayman Islands' Internet and its digital economy. The presence of IXPs is likely to reduce local dependence on digital infrastructure and enterprises outside of the jurisdiction.”
CEO Cummings further states that: “OfReg is committed to exploring and implementing appropriate regulatory frameworks to promote and enable growth and development in the ICT sector and all sectors under our purview, being cognisant especially in this case, to make provisions for technological innovation in today’s ICT converged world.”