March 2020 - Internet Industry

“The Foundation for a Better Internet” – Interview with Ivo Ivanov

From learning Russian to the entertainment industry and on to interconnection history – Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International, on how he brought networks together to create a better Internet.

The world's leading Internet exchange operator DE-CIX, wholly owned by eco, celebrates a quarter of a century of Internet history “Made in Germany” this year. On their jubilee website, withoutyou.de-cix.net, DE-CIX celebrates and reviews the last 25 years of Internet history. 

In the video below, Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International and COO of DE-CIX Group AG, reminisces about his early days at DE-CIX and how the largest interconnection ecosystem in the world developed.

Watch the 3-minute video above or on YouTube, or read the transcript below.

Transcript

Ivo, what was your life like 25 years ago, back when DE-CIX was founded?

1995 was the year when I just finished my high school. It was the year of my high school degree, and then of the decision what to do after. And then I started my law studies. The first year was 1996. The first birth year of DE-CIX was my first year in the university. At that point of time, I was between the entertainment sector and my law studies. So you can see these are two worlds that do not necessarily match perfectly to each other. I never, never would have imagined that one day I would be co-responsible for the great history DE-CIX has created over the decades. 

What was your own personal peak moment in the history of interconnection?

I had Russian language education at school, and this fact actually led to the result in 2006 that a colleague – whose name is Frank Orlowski – at DE-CIX asked me whether I spoke Russian, and I said yes. He asked me to travel with him to Moscow to talk to some Internet operators, to ask them to join DE-CIX in Frankfurt and do interconnection business in Frankfurt. I agreed, of course. I had never been in Russia, and I was excited to go to Moscow.

So in 2006, we went to Russia. And this was the beginning of the internationalization – or the international spirit – of Frankfurt. We started talking to Russian operators, and then later on to Eastern European operators; at the same time in parallel, inviting all network operators from Western Europe and beyond, from the United States, to join the platform in Frankfurt and to start interconnecting. So this was the time between 2006 and 2008 where we started creating in Frankfurt the gateway into Europe for both west and east.

Without you, what would interconnection be like today?

So without DE-CIX – that means, without the ecosystems of DE-CIX and the ecosystems of our customers, of all these thousands of operators around the globe who do create DE-CIX, they create the ecosystems – without them, the Internet would not be as good as we enjoy today. Why? Because all together we create resilient and robust digital infrastructure. And this is the foundation for a better Internet. 

 

Ivo A. Ivanov is CEO of DE-CIX International and COO of DE-CIX Group AG, with more than 10 years’ experience in the regulatory, legal and commercial Internet environment. Ivo joined DE-CIX in January 2007. In recent years, he has been deeply involved in the establishment of DE-CIX sites in Istanbul, Palermo, Madrid, Marseille, New York, Dallas, Dubai (UAE-IX powered by DE-CIX), as well as Mumbai (Mumbai IX powered by DE-CIX), and several DE-CIX consultancy projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Ivo has an educational background focused on law and business. Fluent in German, English, Russian, and Bulgarian, he graduated from a German business school in 1995 and holds two law degrees, from the Universities of Sofia (Bulgaria) and Bonn (Germany). After graduation, he worked as a lawyer, with a focus on e-commerce law, IP law, telecommunications law, and data protection law.