Ferghana Valley IXP – Reducing the Digital Gap in Central Asia Thumbnail
Beyond the Net 19 March 2018

Ferghana Valley IXP – Reducing the Digital Gap in Central Asia

By Isabek AsanbaevGuest AuthorProject Coordinator, UNICEF Kyrgyzstan Country Office

The Internet Society Kyrgyzstan Chapter is implementing one of its first major projects supported by Beyond the Net Funding Programme. The aim of the Ferghana Valley Internet Exchange Point (FVIXP) project is to establish an IXP in the city of Osh in the south of Kyrgyzstan and to bring more affordable Internet for the residents of Ferghana Valley.

Ferghana Valley is located on the crossroads of three countries – Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan –  and is the most populated area in Central Asia with over 14 million residents. Historically, this area has been a source of regional interethnic tensions due to water irrigation and land disputes, poverty and lack of access to communication services.

Internet prices for end users in Ferghana Valley are higher than in other districts of Kyrgyzstan. Residents in the southern cities pay five times more for the same bandwidth than their countrymen in the capital city Bishkek located in the north of Kyrgyzstan. Users in the neighboring countries of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan face even higher prices due to very limited options for international connectivity and to challenging domestic market conditions.

With this project, the Kyrgyzstan Chapter hopes to increase regional cross-border collaboration between stakeholders and communication between people through lower Internet tariffs, multiplied growth of Internet data traffic, and increased Internet penetration rate. Ferghana Valley IXP will follow principles of openness and neutrality by providing equal access to infrastructure to all stakeholders including government agencies, educational, and healthcare institutions as well as commercial banks. The IXP will help local small and medium Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to minimize traffic costs thus allowing them to invest more on infrastructure.

Considering the above mentioned situation, we believe that establishing an IXP in Ferghana Valley will alleviate the digital divide between the north and south of Kyrgyzstan as well as between the bordering countries. An open and neutral IXP in this region will greatly enhance the utility and value of the regional Internet and promote the growth of the local digital economy.

Do you have a great idea to make your community better via the Internet? Apply for a Beyond the Net grant, which funds projects up to $30,000 USD, and follow Beyond the Net on Twitter!

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

Related articles

Beyond the Net 5 June 2019

Want to Make a Difference in Your Community? Apply for a Beyond the Net Medium or Large Grant

Applications are now open for the 2019 Beyond the Net Medium and Large Grants. All Internet Society Chapters and Special...

Beyond the Net 7 February 2019

A Free and Open Course on Data Protection in the Post-GDPR World

Last year, we published “The Dawn of New Digital Rights for Finnish Citizens,” about the launch of the New...

Beyond the Net 6 February 2019

In Southeast Asia, Improving Livelihoods Through Crowdsourcing

The Southeast Asia region is one of the fastest growing regions in the world today. With rich natural resources,...