Atlantic Convergence: Bridging continents with digital infrastructure. Register now! 
28 March 2023

Case study: Dubai improves Internet speed and emerges as an international Internet hub

The birth of an international Internet hub study

The rapid growth in the local Internet infrastructure in Dubai over the last decade, including the establishment of the UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX Internet Exchange, has increased the performance of Dubai’s Internet to the highest international standards. Latency has dropped from 200 milliseconds (ms) in 2012 to less than 3ms in 2022. This is one of the findings of the study “The birth of an international Internet hub: a playbook for developing a digital society”.

Improved Internet performance

Surveying extensive business, regulatory, and technological KPIs in the UAE over ten-year period, the study highlights the development of the digital ecosystem in Dubai, with the meteoric growth in the city’s Internet infrastructure and knowledge economy during this time.

Other findings include a complete transformation of the data pathways for local data traffic: In 2012 90% of local data traffic needed to be transported outside of the GCC – to Europe, Asia, or North America – to be exchanged, whereas today 90% of locally-bound data remains local. Additionally, the international IP transit price has fallen by 98% and broadband Internet prices by around 85%.

In the same time-frame, the number of international organizations to set up their global headquarters in the UAE has grown by over 700%, the number of international universities has doubled, and the number of students in higher education has increased from 140,000 to a million in just 10 short years.

These results clearly demonstrate the impact of the country’s digitalization initiatives and the establishment of the UAE-IX on the performance and cost of Internet services for end users – not to mention the economic advantages for the region.

Roadmap for development of a digital economy

Across the globe, other cities and regions are also striving to transform their economies and become internationally competitive. The study provides a roadmap, investigating what facilitates a city or a region to become an international Internet hub. Download the study to learn about the strategic steps, the achievements, and the results to see how other regions can follow in the development of a digital economy.