Dubai Accelerates Internet Speed, evolves into an International Internet Hub: New Study

Frankfurt am Main, 15 February 2023: Dubai has made significant strides in enhancing its digital society and establishing itself as an international Internet hub, according to a recent study titled “The Birth of an International Internet Hub: A Playbook for Developing a Digital Society,” published by DE-CIX, the world’s leading Internet Exchange operator.

Over the past decade, Dubai has witnessed rapid growth in its local Internet infrastructure, including the establishment of the world-class Internet Exchange, UAE-IX, powered by DE-CIX. The study revealed several key developments in the digital ecosystem of Dubai:

1. Exceptional Reduction in Latency: Between 2012 and 2022, the latency (delays in Internet data traffic) in Dubai dropped significantly from 200 milliseconds (ms) to under 3ms, aligning with international standards.

2. Transformation of Data Pathways: In 2012, 90% of local data traffic had to be transported outside of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to be exchanged in Europe, Asia, or North America. However, the study found that today, 90% of locally-bound data traffic remains within Dubai, showcasing a complete transformation of data pathways.

3. Reduced International IP Transit Price: The study noted a remarkable 98% reduction in international IP transit prices and an approximately 85% decrease in broadband Internet prices.

4. Eightfold Growth in Locally-Registered Networks: The UAE experienced an eightfold increase in locally-registered networks during the same timeframe.

5. Leading GCC in Fixed Line and Mobile Broadband Subscriptions: The UAE emerged as the leader among GCC countries in terms of fixed-line and mobile broadband subscriptions.

These findings underscore the profound impact of the UAE’s digitalization efforts and the establishment of the UAE-IX on Internet performance, costs, and economic growth. As a result, the UAE’s GDP from the non-oil-related economy expanded by 35% between 2012 and 2022.

The study not only highlights Dubai’s success but also provides a roadmap for other cities and regions aspiring to become internationally competitive. It identifies the five essential pillars of an international Internet hub: infrastructure, business and organizations, people and communities, the regulatory environment, and capital. The study emphasizes the pivotal role of an Internet Exchange in enhancing Internet connectivity by improving performance and reducing costs.

Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX, reiterated the importance of digital ecosystems and access to digital infrastructure in the development of a city, region, or nation. Internet Exchanges, like UAE-IX, play a vital role in shaping the digital future of a region.

In conclusion, the study sheds light on the transformative power of digital ecosystems in reshaping economies and underlines the profound interconnection between digitalization and various aspects of life and business.