Brazil has a large number of IXPs, the result of strong government policy support combined with an effective multi-stakeholder agency responsible for the stewardship of the Internet in Brazil, the Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil (CGI.br). CGI has access to funding from the registration of .br domains and has legal status as the agency responsible for promoting the development of the Internet in Brazil with representation from government, the private sector and civil society.
Until 2003, only three cities had an operational IXP. Almost 20 cities in Brazil have more than a million people, so there was much tromboning of local traffic, negatively affecting both costs and quality of service outside a few urban areas.
In 2004, CGI launched an initiative to create more IXPs, known as Ponto de Troca de Tráfego (PTTs), in cities across the country. These were established in partnership with a variety of network operators (from universities to large ISPs and telecom providers), with CGI responsible for network administration while NIC.br provides the equipment and management. This strategy has helped to reduce setup and transport costs for smaller players while still providing a neutral platform for traffic exchange with larger network operators.
The number of IXPs grew from four to 19 between 2006 and 2010 and the total today stands at 24 different locations, covering 16 of Brazil’s 26 states, with aggregate peak traffic of about 250Gbps. Charges are not normally levied on participants at these exchanges.
In the larger urban areas, most of the PTTs operate as geographically distributed IXPs within a particular metro area with multiple interconnection locations. The largest of these and the first IXP of the project was established in São Paulo; it is now the largest IXP in the region both in terms of peers and traffic exchanged. The exchange clocks about 175Gbps of peak traffic and with over 300 networks exchanging data, it is the seventh largest worldwide in terms of participants. Domain name root server instances are hosted at about 15 of the IXP locations around the country.
Brazil PTT IXP nodes throughout the country
In addition to these nodes, there are independent exchanges operating outside the PTT model, most notably Terremark (owned by Verizon) that operates NAP Brasil under agreement with Fapesp, a public research foundation. In addition, a variety of commercial data centres exist where networks peer bilaterally. IXPs in Brazil
Another 16 potential sites for IXPs are in planning under the CGI programme and a further 47 sites are under consideration. The ptt.br website (www.ptt.br) actively solicits proposals for new IXP locations with a detailed application form online form. One of the criteria used to determine the need for establishing a new IXP is that at least 3 Autonomous Systems (AS) in the location are interested in participating in an Internet exchange. In determining the size of the area covered by an IXP, CGI normally uses a radius of approximately 80km for fibre optics and 200km for radio links.