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Amitabh Singhal

Acting CEO | 21 Apr 2005

The objective of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is to promote Internet services in the country. We are taking care of issues like infrastructure growth and setting up Internet exchanges. This is to ensure that the domestic traffic is managed within the country.

“Amitabh Singhal, Acting CEO of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), promoted by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) in association with the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), speaks to Malini Menon of exchange4media on what really led to the genesis of .IN domain name. Singhal is a Founding Member and President of ISPAI since its formal inception in 1997-98. Before that he was as an office-bearer of the E-mail Service Providers Association.

Q. Can you tell me how did you come up with this association?

“The objective of National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is to promote Internet services in the country. We are taking care of issues like infrastructure growth and setting up Internet exchanges. This is to ensure that the domestic traffic is managed within the country. In any country where there is Internet, there is an exchange to control it. We wanted such an operation in India too, which was the rationale behind coming up with NIXI.

Q. The IT laws aren’t stringent in India. What NIXI as a body is doing about this?

“NIXI as a company is involved with Internet issues. When you are talking of laws, you are talking about the government’s role in it. So NIXI as a body is closely working with the government to make Internet more organised. So this gives NIXI the advantage that whenever government makes decisions on implementation of IP Act, rules and regulations, and enforcement of policies to curb misuse of Net, NIXI is able to provide that input on what is to be done and how the misuse can be prevented. I would like to add that the primary role of NIXI is to empower the industry to use this medium as a means to proliferate the access and business on the Net. So our concern is to bridge the infrastructure gap between the industry and service provider.

Q. How are the IP addresses allocated?

“It’s an international practice and bodies that are recognised allocate IP addresses. In fact, in India the feeling generally is that we don’t get enough IP addresses allocated. However, I believe it is wrong to blame it on someone that we are not given a preference for IP address allocation. It’s been a part of our discussion in meetings with the IT department and TRAI. Less preference for IP address is a reflection of the less usage of Internet in the country. India, incidentally, has the largest number of members in the Internet by virtue of the fact there are so many service providers. However, the presence and involvement that goes into the Internet is minimal. In fact, feedback indicates that even though India technically has the largest number of members, it has not been making its presence. So it’s not really like India is not being given the preference but it’s a result of the direct linkage between business proliferation and the number of IP addresses allocated.

Q. How organised is your registration for .IN?

“Part of NIXI is the registry. On one hand NIXI acts as an Internet exchange and on the other hand we have created the .IN domain name with government’s consultation. The registry handles hardware, software and database. So we do all the backend operations and the registrars and resellers do the front end. They are the ones who market the .IN domain names and approve the customers.

Q. Do you have plans of introducing segmented domain names?

“This will be there and we are not going to restrict ourselves. It’s just the beginning for us and we are waiting to consolidate the present domain name before initiating new ones. When we created .IN our vision was that we didn’t not expect the number of responses that we got during the sunrise period. So, once this stabilises we are open to coming up with new domain names like .BIZ,.INFO,.CO, among others.

Q. Are you advertising your services?

“We did initially during the sunrise period. This was basically to make people aware and also we are looking at a campaign to create more consumer awareness. See our business is not to attract customers. This is the job of registrars and resellers, who are the ones who come in direct contact with the customers and market the product. However, when we came out the .IN registry we believed that it was essential to communicate to the market. So we are looking at a campaign, which would educate the consumer how easier, cheaper and hassle free it would be if they use .IN domain name. As of now, we are still looking out for advertising agencies that can work with us on this campaign. Some of the concerns that we wish to address through our campaign include squatting, the fact that people register in domain names but do not really use them.

Q. When you say that you have developed an exchange, what is its primary function?

“Earlier, international players monopolised the Internet traffic. They would charge ISPs, which are the same for local bandwidth as well as international bandwidth. They don’t distinguish between global traffic and local traffic. The basic idea of setting up an exchange was to prevent Indian traffic from going out and for the search and graphic exchange to remain localised.

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