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Taking Egypt to the next digital level

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In a bid to enhance Egypt's position as a global digital hub, Telecom Egypt recently completed the first phase of what it describes as the country's largest international data centre. Now, the operator has gone a step further by going live with an open-access internet exchange.

Telecom Egypt’s moves in recent months have been geared towards lifting its home market’s position as a digital hub, in a bid to enhance the experience of internet users both locally and in the wider Middle East and Africa region. Two moves have been at the centre of this.

First, Telecom Egypt announced last August that it had completed the first phase of its Regional Data Hub (RDH), which the company describes as Egypt’s largest international data centre facility. The initial building, called Smart Village B6, is at the heart of Cairo’s business centre.

The open-access facility has been granted Tier III certification, meaning that customers can expect to receive high levels of availability and technical resiliency. With the capacity to house up to 1,600 racks in four data halls, it also offers robust colocation services and levels of redundancy, supporting a carrier-neutral model.

The RDH itself is connected with an advanced fully meshed network providing access to 14 submarine cables, with this number set to increase to 18 by 2025. That means the facility provides onward access to many countries around the world. In addition, the RDH is located near many local and international companies, governmental entities, financial authorities, educational institutions, and research and development centres, enabling it to serve a broad array of customers.

The data centre is designed to appeal to organisations seeking low latency that want to boost their digital services, while further incorporating sustainability features that mitigate growing energy costs and are geared towards meeting international standards.

Open exchange

In a second move, to further leverage the benefits of its data hub, Telecom Egypt has just thrown open the doors of the country’s first open-access internet exchange hosted inside the RDH. Known as EG-IX, the exchange is powered by neutral member-based association the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), which operates multiple interconnection platforms around the world.

EG-IX, which uses the IX-as-a-Service (IXaaS) offering provided by AMS-IX, will act as an open platform for large content delivery networks, and application and cloud providers, as well as telecoms carriers seeking to boost the experience of users in the MEA region. It enables networks from across the globe to directly connect with each other and exchange traffic, improving the efficiency and lowering the cost of peering, as well as cutting latency and boosting internet quality for end users.

“The launch of the EG-IX platform will support Egypt’s digital transformation plans,” says Adel Hamed, managing director and chief executive officer at Telecom Egypt. “This step will not only enhance the country’s internet ecosystem, but also support ongoing efforts to establish a regional digital ecosystem that aggregates internet traffic from Africa and the Middle East.”

Meeting demands

Through the operation of both its data centre and international cable strategy in tandem, Telecom Egypt continues to grow its global reach and position Egypt as a key hub for global communications. The company currently connects 12 subsea cable systems from the East to 14 from the West, with at least five more in the pipeline. It also owns and operates 10 landing stations located in various sites on the coasts of the Red and Mediterranean seas.

On top of this, with the addition of the RDH, Telecom Egypt operates seven commercial data centre facilities within Greater Cairo and Alexandria, with plans to continue expanding its reach with further facilities across the country. The RDH itself has a further three phases to be rolled out, following the completion of its first building. These will be triggered upon passing use targets in phase one.

Through its multiple moves and bid to continue building the infrastructure that fortifies the appeal of its domestic market as a digital ecosystem, Telecom Egypt is forging ahead with a strategy geared firmly towards meeting the international connectivity demands of the future.

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