Malaysia eyes own Internet exchange

Malaysia, which mostly sees Internet access through Singapore or US servers, will set up its own exchange to improve connectivity and reduce foreign exchange leakages, a top government official, quoted by an AFP report, said.

The report quoted Malaysian energy and communications minister Lim Keng Yaik as saying that the current set-up of Malaysian Internet users surfing Malaysia-based Web sites via Singapore or even the US "was inefficient and costly for consumers."

"Let me promise you, we'll have our own Internet exchange and all local traffic will be switched locally," Lim, quoted by the AFP report, said. "I told them they should be set up by the end of this year. I'm getting all the stakeholders to talk now."

Analysts said Internet traffic within Malaysia was mostly routed through host servers located in Singapore, as it had more international telecom cables and operating costs were cheaper, according to the AFP report.

"We're losing a lot of foreign exchange by redirecting our calls and Internet connection," said Lim, although he could not elaborate on cost savings from setting up a domestic exchange.

The minister said the exchange would likely operate on a non-profit basis in order to provide a service, according to the report.

"It doesn't matter who owns the Internet exchange - it could be a consortium owning it - but it must be independent and industry-neutral," Lim said, adding past efforts to set up the exchange had been unsuccessful.