ECS 07/2019 – Framework for Establishment of Internet Exchange Points (‘IXPs’) in The Bahamas – Public Consultation

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (“URCA”) has published on its website, for comment, a consultation paper on a “Framework for Establishment of Internet Exchange Points (‘IXPs’) in The Bahamas.” IXPs are the technical points, infrastructure or facilities through which companies involved in the Internet connect with one another and exchange traffic. IXPs are central to the infrastructure for the Internet and digital economy in The Bahamas.

URCA issued the consultation paper with the following core objectives in mind:

  • to promote public awareness of the contributions that IXPs can make to the development of the Internet and digital economy in The Bahamas;
  • to alert potential IXP users of URCA’s proposals and recommendations; and
  • ensure the regulatory framework is favorable for IXPs in The Bahamas to operate successfully.

Currently, there are no IXPs in The Bahamas. As a result, local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) routinely route locally generated Internet traffic destined for local users through a third-party network or switching centre in another country. In the consultation document, URCA sets out the regulatory measures it proposes to make to stimulate the entry of IXPs in the Bahamian market. Amongst other things, URCA finds that the building of IXPs in The Bahamas is in harmony with the statutory framework of the Communications Act (Comms Act) and the Government’s overall vision for the electronic communications sector.  In particular, the presence of IXPs in The Bahamas would reduce local dependence on digital infrastructure and enterprises in another country. This, in turn, should generate cost savings for ISPs, reduce delays in data transmission (faster downloads for customers), promote the production of  local content and local hosting of local and international web content.

Alongside this consultation exercise, URCA will hold workshops and open forum discussions on best practices in IXP establishment and operation. Additionally, URCA proposes establishment of an Industry Working Group to promote dialogue and consensus on a range of matters relating to the establishment and operation of IXPs in The Bahamas.

URCA urges stakeholders to submit their written views and comments on the proposals and recommendations set forth in the consultation paper, to ensure that any final regulatory position is taken with full awareness and consideration of all views and opinions.

For the purpose of this exercise, URCA has adopted two rounds of public consultation. In the first phase, respondents should submit their representations on and objections (if any) to this consultation. URCA will publish the responses as soon as possible following the end of the first phase. In the second phase, respondents may submit reply comments (in whole or in part) to the representations and objections of other respondents. The submission deadlines for initial responses and reply comments are as follows:

  • Initial responses must be submitted to URCA by 5 p.m. on 16 July 2019
  • Reply comments must be submitted to URCA by 5 p.m. on 16 August 2019.

Written responses or comments on this Consultation Document should be sent to URCA’s Director of Electronic Communications, either:

  • by hand to URCA’s office at Frederick House, Frederick Street, Nassau;
  • by mail to P.O. Box N-4860, Nassau, Bahamas;
  • by fax to (242) 393-0153; or
  • by email to

URCA encourages the public to embrace the opportunity to participate in the ongoing conversation on the development and expansion of the electronic communications sector in The Bahamas.