Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

A. Purpose

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) states the objectives of BIX, the prerequisites for joining BIX and being a BIX Member, the Services that BIX provides to its Members and the commitments of BIX Members to BIX. It shall be signed by all new Members upon joining, and forms a formal agreement between the Member and BIX. This MoU is placed in the public domain to help organizations that wish to join BIX to understand what BIX is, and what the requirements and commitments are for those who wish to join.
B. Definitions

means the not-for-profit entity known as the Bahrain Internet Exchange established by Article 1 of the Decree.
BIX License: means the license granted to the BIX pursuant to section 41 of the Telecommunications Law.
Board: means the board of directors of the BIX as described in Article 3 of the Decree.
Decree: means decree No. 47 of 2003 establishing the BIX.
Executive Director: means the Executive Director of the BIX as described in Article 3 of the Decree.
Fees: are the charges levied for services by the Board and approved by the TRA.
Joining Procedure: refers to the procedure for joining BIX as determined from time to time by the Board and approved by the TRA.
Connected person: means a person who directly or indirectly, possesses some form of connection to another person, whether through ownership, voting or other interest.
C. Objectives of BIX

BIX has objectives

  1. To reduce international internet connectivity rates borne by ISPs.
  2. To provide high speed internet at low-cost
  3. To enhance the Broadband services in the Kingdom
  4. To increase the local Internet websites

D. Structure of BIX

The Bahrain Internet Exchange (BIX) was established on the 13th of August 2003 by Decree (47) of 2003 and it follows the Ministry of Transportation as a non profit organization, and the Board of Directors was appointed on the 14th of December 2003.

The Decree that established the BIX is associated with the Telecommunications Law that was passed in October 2002, and the National Telecommunications Plan that have set forth policies to completely open the Bahrain telecommunications market by July 2004.

BIX shall be legally represented, by the Board, acting by and through its Executive Director and any other person or persons acting on behalf of the Board pursuant to a resolution of the Board.

1. Prerequisites to apply to become a BIX Member

1.1 The prerequisites to becoming a BIX member are:
(a) Candidates for membership shall have an ASN (Autonomous System Number) and use a standard mechanism such as BGP4 (+) for peerings.
(b) The Autonomous System which the candidate is presenting to BIX should be visible from the BIX transit router.
(d) Candidates should be granted ISP License from TRA.

1.2 These prerequisites, together with the technical requirements referenced in Appendix 1 of this MoU, form the basis of ongoing requirements for BIX members

2. Responsibilities and Services to be provided by BIX

2.1 The BIX shall only monitor any port/connection where:
(a) This information is required by applicable law;
(b) The information gathered is generic in nature and is harvested solely for statistical or network management purposes only; or
(c) The Board reasonably believe a violation of this MoU has occurred.

2.2 The BIX shall not undertake new projects or offer new services, outside of the BIX’s core business of peering facilitation, which would be competitive to those of its members and for the period referred to in Section 41(h) of the Telecommunications Law (namely 2 years from the date on which the license is issued to BIX), no member shall compete with the BIX.

3. Member Responsibilities

3.1 Members are expected to contribute in good faith towards the operation of the BIX.
3.2 Each member is responsible for his own connection to the BIX and his own router at the BIX.
3.3 Members shall ensure that all contact information which is held by the BIX in connection with their membership is correct and kept up-to-date, specifically:
(a) Members shall provide operational contact details for the use of BIX staff and other members, which details shall include at least one person who is available for such contact 24 hours a day, seven days of the week. The personnel available by this means shall understand the requirements of this MoU. Failure to provide this information may be regarded as non-compliance with this MoU;
(b) Members shall provide an email address for which requests for peering should be sent.
3.4 Members shall acknowledge receipt of a peering request made to the email address specified above, by any BIX member within 2 working days of the request. An auto-responder is considered acceptable. Failure to do so may be regarded as non-compliance with this MoU.
3.5 Members shall not refer their customers or any agent of their customers directly to BIX support staff unless specifically sanctioned by a member of BIX staff by email.
3.6 Members shall ensure that at least one member of their staff is subscribed to the mailing list of the BIX which is intended to carry announcements of an urgent operational nature. The BIX and all other members are entitled to assume, and to act, as if each member reads and appropriately deals with such messages as sent to this list. The BIX may, for the protection of its own infrastructure, take such reasonable and proportionate action as is necessary if this is not the case.

4. Membership Status

4.1 An application may only proceed after the joining procedure has been followed and an application in the required form has been approved by the BIX. At this point the applicant will be granted temporary membership status on the basis that:
(a) Funds for the fees are immediately paid; and
(b) The new member complies with the technical requirements of the BIX within three months of being granted temporary membership status. In the event that the new member does not comply with this requirement, temporary membership status may be withdrawn and it shall be necessary for the new member to re-apply for the BIX membership. In this event any fees paid to date shall be deemed to be non-refundable and any subsequent membership application shall incur additional fees as per this MoU.
4.2 A connection to the BIX may only proceed after:
(a) The BIX has received a copy of this MoU signed by an authorised representative of the new member;
(b) The BIX has received a connection form from the new member, duly completed and giving all information required therein; and
(c) All technical requirements have been met by the new member.
4.3 A member shall only be deemed to have full membership status including voting rights once they met all the requirements listed in sub-sections 1 and 2 above and achieved operational peering with BIX route collector and at least one of the existing BIX members. This shall be confirmed to the Executive Director via email to the address determined by the Executive Director from time to time by including a copy of the output from the member router summarizing the BGP4(+) peering at the BIX.
4.4 Any person whose membership application is rejected by the BIX Board may file a grievance with the Internal Disciplinary Appeals Committee. Should the person seek further redress, such person may file a grievance with the Board or seek judicial review of the decision according to Bahraini law.

5. Technical Requirements

Members shall ensure that their usage of the BIX is not detrimental to the BIX network or to the usage of the BIX by other members and shall adhere to the technical requirements of the BIX as detailed in Appendix 1 to this document at all times.

6. Non-compliance

6.1 Failure of a member to comply with the technical requirements or any other requirements of this MoU may result in sanction being taken against a member. Such sanction shall be at the sole discretion of the Board and may, depending on the severity of the incident, take the form of any or all of the following:
(a) Immediate disconnection from the services pending resolution of the non-compliance by the member;
(b) Termination of membership which, for the avoidance of doubt shall mean:
(i) Permanent removal and disconnection from the services;
(ii) Removal of any right to vote including all other rights granted to a member under the terms of this MoU, and
(iii) No right to a refund for any fees paid to the BIX.
(c) Notification to the BIX membership of member non-compliance and subsequent action taken by the BIX Board.
6.2 A member may appeal to the TRA against the decision of the Board in respect of termination of their membership.
6.3 Any member whose membership to the BIX has been terminated may reapply for BIX membership, however any such application shall be in accordance with this MoU.

7. Communication
The primary means of communication with BIX staff and other members shall be via email

8. Fees

8.1 Members must pay fees in advance.
8.2 Fees (consisting solely of port fees) will be due quarterly on the 1st January, 1st April, 1st July, and 1st October of each year, for the quarter starting on that date. The port fees invoiced will be based on the best estimate available when the invoice is prepared, with a correction (credit or debit) for any difference in the actual port fees previously charged. Payment shall be made within 30 days of the due date.
8.3 Where a direct debit payment fails because of the actions or omissions of the member, the BIX may charge an additional levy to cover its additional costs. Where the same member’s payment so fails more than once, the BIX may withdraw the direct debit facility from that member.
8.4 When a new member joins such member shall immediately pay the non-refundable joining fee and membership fee. The membership fee will be pro-rata from the month in which the member joins to the end of that billing quarter.
8.5 The fees for any new service will be payable in accordance with either subsection 2 or sub-section 3 above, as applicable.
8.6 Notwithstanding the above, all fees from a member shall be due immediately if any of the following happens:
(a) if an individual, upon death, or if he or she becomes bankrupt, petitions for bankruptcy, or makes any arrangement with his or her creditors generally, or becomes of unsound mind, or is convicted of any indictable offence concerning fraud or financial irregularity, or of any indictable offence for which he or she is sentenced to a term of imprisonment (excluding suspended sentences unless later put into effect);
(b) if an organization, goes into liquidation or administration, makes any arrangement with its creditors generally, or if it petitions to be wound up; or
(c) if at any time in the preceding 12 months part or all of the member’s service was suspended or cut off because of failure to pay or delay in paying.
8.7 Members canceling either their membership of the BIX or any services supplied by the BIX shall give at least 30 days notice of such cancellation via email to the Executive Director. Fees shall be applied until the end of the calendar month in which the membership or service terminates, and a final invoice shall make any necessary corrections for payments in advance or arrears.
8.8 Membership of the BIX and services supplied by the BIX shall be deemed to be ordered on an ongoing basis unless formal cancellation has been received by the BIX from the connected member wishing to terminate membership and/or services.

9. Publicity

9.1 Members shall not publish any press release mentioning the BIX unless the text of that press release has previously been cleared for publication by or on behalf of the Board in writing.
9.2 The BIX shall not publish any press releases mentioning a member’s name unless the text of such a press release has been cleared in writing by that member.
9.3 The Board shall normally issue a joint press release with new members upon their joining, subject to approval of both parties.
9.4 Members shall adhere to the BIX corporate identity guidelines published by the Board from time to time for use of the BIX name and trademarks.

10. Confidentiality

Members have a duty of confidentiality to BIX and to the other BIX members in BIX affairs. As such, all and any information, not already in the public domain, passed between the BIX and/or its members shall at all times be kept confidential, shall only be used for the intended legal reason it was provided, and shall not be passed or revealed to any third party outside of BIX membership, without the prior written consent of the party to which it relates. In particular, any such sharing of information shall not be used for anti-competitive purposes in breach of section 65 of the Telecommunications Law.

11. Insurance and Liability

11.1 In the event of any claims made by a BIX member against the BIX, the maximum amount payable for whatever reason shall be limited to a maximum of the fees paid by the member to the BIX for the BIX financial year in which the incident occurred.
11.2 Members shall not hold the BIX liable for any loss whatsoever resulting from the illegal use or use not conforming to the terms of this MoU by another member.
11.3 Any remedy that the BIX shall have against a member for breach of provision of this MoU shall be limited to:
(a) Liability for actual damages in any twelve month period (the first twelve month period starting from the date of acquiring the BIX membership) is an amount equal to 100% of the fees billed to that member by the BIX in that twelve month period.
(b) A member shall not be liable for special, indirect or consequential loss, loss of profits, business, revenue, goodwill, or anticipated savings.
11.4 Members shall arrange suitable insurance to cover their equipment while it is within BIX racks. This should cover damage to the equipment howsoever caused (including damage by the BIX or third party staff or equipment) and third party liability in the event of the member’s equipment causing damage to the BIX or third party staff or equipment

12. References



Technical Requirements
1. Physical
(a) Ethernet interfaces attached to BIX ports shall be explicitly configured with duplex, speed and other configuration settings and shall not be auto-sensing.

2. MAC Layer
(a) All frames forwarded through BIX ports should be IP based packets.
(b) Frames forwarded to BIX ports shall not be addressed to a multicast or broadcast MAC destination address except as follows:
• broadcast ARP packets
• multicast IPv6 Neighbour Discovery packets
(c) Traffic for link-local protocols shall not be forwarded to BIX ports except for the following:
• IPv6 ND
(d) Link local protocols includes but is not limited to:
• ICMP redirects
• IEEE802 Spanning Tree
• Vendor proprietary discovery protocols (e.g. CDP, EDP)
• Interior routing protocol broadcasts (e.g. OSPF, ISIS, IGRP, EIGRP)
3. IP Layer
(a) Interfaces connected to BIX ports shall only use IP addresses and netmasks (prefix lengths) assigned to them by BIX. In particular:
• IPv6 addresses (link & global scope) shall be explicitly configured and not auto-configured.
• IPv6 site-local addresses shall not be used.
(b) IP packets addressed to BIX peering LAN directed broadcast address shall not be automatically forwarded to BIX ports.

4. Routing

(a) All exchange of routes across the BIX network shall be via BGP4(+).
(b) AS numbers used in BGP4(+) sessions across the BIX network shall not be from ranges reserved for private use.
(c) All routes advertised shall be aggregated as far as possible.
(d) IP address space assigned to BIX peering LAN shall not be advertised to other networks without explicit permission of BIX.
(e) All routes advertised across the BIX network shall point to the router advertising it unless agreement has been made in advance in writing by BIX and the two members involved.
(f) All routes to be advertised in a peering session across the BIX shall be registered in the RIPE or other public routing registry.
(g) Members may use more than one ASN for their BIX peering provided that each ASN presented shares the same NOC and peering contact details.
5. Forwarding
(a) Traffic shall only be forwarded to a BIX member when permission has been given by the receiving member either:
• by advertising a route across the BIX network; or
• or explicitly in writing
(b) Traffic shall not be routinely exchanged between two BIX ports owned by the same BIX member.
6. Additional Rules for member equipment hosted at a BIX site Where member Equipment is hosted at a BIX site, members shall also adhere to the following Rules:
(a) Member Equipment and cabling shall be clearly labeled with the name of the member.
(b) Persons working in BIX sites on behalf of a member shall not interfere with another member’s Equipment or cables without explicit permission from the owner of the equipment.
(c) Persons working in BIX sites on behalf of a member shall adhere to the ‘Suite Access Authorisation Procedure’ as determined from time to time by the BIX.
(d) Members shall not connect more than two wide-area circuits to routers housed at any BIX site.
7. Modifications to Technical requirement
(a) BIX reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify, temporarily or permanently, the Technical requirement (or any part thereof) with or without notice.