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At a Glance

Current status:
Open

Eligibility

How to Apply

Sustainable Peering Infrastructure Funding Program

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are effective in improving the end-user experience and lowering access costs while catalyzing the development of the local Internet ecosystem.

We work with local communities to build IXPs in markets where they are needed, enhance existing IXPs to realize their full potential, and further develop organizations and communities that support peering and interconnection. Grant funds are available to assist in training, capacity building, community and regional development, and equipment purchases (switches, optic modules, servers, and routers).

The Internet Society’s work is partially funded by generous grants from Meta and ICANN. 

Our peering and interconnection work endeavors to:

Program Objectives

  • Increase the amount of Internet traffic within local infrastructure, reducing costs associated with traffic exchange between networks.
  • Provide support to build new and enhance existing IXPs to ensure their long-term sustainability.
  • Champion the development of peering and interconnection by building local capacity in collaboration with regional entities.

Focus Areas

IXP Operational Support

We support establishing or enhancing IXPs in markets that do not have them, where additional capacity will be useful, and where assistance will help the IXP realize its full potential in the Internet ecosystem. Developed markets often have developed IXP infrastructure, so our primary focus is on:

  • Emerging economies
  • Low-income economies
  • Small island developing states

Peering Ecosystem Organizational Support

We also seek to strengthen the peering ecosystem by supporting organizations and systems that improve interconnection through capacity building, training, community building, and infrastructure development.

Eligibility

Applications are accepted from legally registered entities that:

  • Operate an existing IXP that needs improvements;
  • Plan to build a new IXP;
  • Champion peering and interconnection in a specific region; or
  • Provide a positive contribution to the entire IXP ecosystem.

Application Review Process

Applications are accepted in two windows: 16 January-22 March 2024 and again from 1 July-6 September 2024. They are reviewed by the Internet Society, the Internet Society Foundation, and external experts to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements and are aligned with the focus areas. Please note that this process could take up to ten (10) weeks.

Read this overview or watch our recent webinar for more information about the program and application process.

Selection Criteria

We determine where funding will play a critical role in ensuring that the un- and under-connected have faster, cheaper, and more resilient Internet access based on some combination of the following criteria:

For new and existing IXPs:

  • A substantial market with at least three (3) independent ISPs and at least 20% Internet penetration rate
  • Data demonstrating that:
    • Latency and performance could be better optimized by the creation of a new IXP in the local market, and/or
    • Local traffic costs could be considerably lowered by improved peering infrastructure
  • Community of interest and local champion(s)
  • Input from relevant regional organizations (if needed)
  • Status of an existing IXP (if any)
  • IXP Self-Assessment Tool results (if applicable)
  • Endorsement from local network operators (minimum 3)
  • Availability of a neutral location with a multistakeholder community
  • Agreement to run the IXP as open and nonprofit

For peering ecosystem organizations:

  • Strengthens peering and interconnection at a local or regional level through capacity building, training, community building, or infrastructure development
  • Provides a meaningful service, tool, or activity to the global peering ecosystem

Funding

Funding availability varies based on the documented needs of the IXP or organization. Grants are available up to USD $50,000, and projects can run for up to 24 months.

Eligible funded activities include IXP equipment, reasonable operational, governance, and business development costs, IP transit capacity to promote local CDN cache content distribution, and technical, policy, and best practice workshops.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online in English using the Foundation’s grant management platform. Only applications submitted online will be considered.

Incomplete applications, applications that do not meet eligibility requirements, and applications that do not allow sufficient time for review will not be considered (see “Eligibility” section above). 

Reporting

The funding recipient organization or community will submit a narrative report directly to the Foundation using the online Fluxx platform halfway through the project’s length, and four weeks after the project is completed.

Questions?

You can reach the peering team at the Internet Society by emailing us at [email protected] and [email protected].

Image credit: © Randy Berghout