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According to ESCAP studies, the Internet traffic routes in the Pacific can be divided into two groups, one in the North and the other in the South. Countries in the North Pacific group tend to be interconnected by subsea cables converging in Guam, which has traditionally (along with Hawaii) been used as a regeneration point and hub location, and increasingly as a point of interconnection for cables in this North Pacific region. Several existing IXPs operate in Guam, enabling Internet providers of North Pacific island countries around Guam to interconnect and exchange traffic.

Countries in the South Pacific group, by contrast, have traditionally been poorly served by subsea telecommunications cables until recently. In many cases, trans-Pacific cables between Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii have been laid that bypass smaller Pacific island nations without landing, so they cannot be used. International Internet service in most of these South Pacific island countries has traditionally been achieved using satellite technology, which has struggled to keep pace with increased demand for reliable, low-cost and high-capacity connections.

South Pacific Island communications traditionally uses satellite links, which is a high-latency solution that doesn’t provide local interconnection. In recent years, several subsea optical fibre cables have been built amongst the southern Pacific islands, and trans-Pacific cables increasingly link the islands to global Internet hubs in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The Pacific-IXP proposal is to utilize these cables to enable every Internet provider in every Pacific island nation a low- latency connection point to interconnect with all other member networks, while minimizing the number of subsea ‘cable hops’ required to connect.