PERCEVAL HAS BEEN CONNECTED TO BNIX SINCE THE EARLY DAYS, WHEN BNIX – ALONG WITH THE INTERNET – WAS IN ITS INFANCY. ON THE VIRGE OF BNIX’ 25TH BIRTHDAY WE SPOKE TO FOUNDER HENRI-JEAN POLLET ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE THROUGHOUT THESE YEARS. AND WE START AT THE VERY BEGINNING…

“When I founded Perceval in 1989, the internet was just emerging, and we were one of the very first ISPs for businesses. There already were a few internet providers though, including Belnet, but interconnection was lacking. It’s hard to imagine today that in those days, if you wanted to send an e-mail to someone who was connected to another network - even if he was your neighbor - that data had to pass through the United States. Belnet was the first to detect that absurdity and to provide a solution. In 1995 it created BNIX, an internet exchange point where providers can interconnect, which significantly optimized internet traffic for both providers and users. Not very long after that, Perceval joined the network.”

AS A TRUE INTERNET AND BNIX VETERAN YOU’RE VERY WELL POSITIONED TO ASSESS BNIX’ QUALITIES. HOW HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE INTERACTION WITH OUR ORGANIZATION THROUGH THE YEARS?

“Everything goes very well. Things run smoothly and Belnet is very proactive, which offers us something very important: peace of mind. It’s also a good ‘people network’: as more and more people get connected, BNIX organizes solid and interesting events. It’s a real service company, not a profit-oriented one.”

AND WHICH ARE BNIX’ MAIN BENEFITS?

“Two immediately stand out: interconnectivity and technical competence. Regarding the first, it’s very simple: if you’re a business with traffic to originate from Belgium, or deliver to Belgian stakeholders, I would definitely advise you to consider joining BNIX. The BNIX highway is there, and when you have traffic to exchange, you’d better be on it. An outstanding local connection truly is key. And also: joining doesn’t mean you have to interconnect. You are still free to establish rooting.

When it comes to technical proficiency, BNIX and Belnet are also at the top. People with very deep knowledge of internet technologies are scarce, so BNIX is a vital player in this field. Especially when it comes to security issues, like phishing, you need very proficient experience to tackle that. People at Belnet have been trained and experienced in these fields like few others have.”

WOULD YOU SAY THAT BELNET AND BNIX ARE A VITAL PART OF THE BELGIAN ICT LANDSCAPE?

“I would, along with many other professionals. Both names have an excellent technical reputation, especially when it comes to rooting and security. These are all things below the public’s radar that are nonetheless key to keeping the network running. If we didn’t have all this national expertise – and a place where IT talents can keep developing it – we would be very dependent on foreign players. And the same goes for BNIX as a platform: if we had to go abroad for connectivity, our costs would increase, and ultimately so would the prices that clients get charged.”

“Take the whole COVID situation for example, that clearly proved how vital Belnet and BNIX are to companies, the many public services that they work for, and ultimately the general public. They are of strategic importance, and I truly hope that the government keeps on realizing this and keeps providing them with the appropriate funding.”

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