ATI has been acting as an IXP since its creation in 1996, but has never been officially declared as such for reasons mainly linked to the regulatory framework and also to the old political regime in Tunisia. In fact, ATI was wrongly considered for years as an Internet regulatory authority, then as the national ISP that provided IP transit and interconnection at local and international level. Despite its important role promoting Internet development in Tunisia, ATI has been obliged, under the authoritarian regime, to act as an Internet censorship and surveillance machine. Therefore, all ISPs have been obliged by the Ministry in charge of ICT to route their traffic via ATI exchange platform, in order to allow the government filtering and monitoring. This undermined the reputation of ATI placed Tunisia among the strongest enemies of the Internet freedom.
Few days after the first Arab spring revolution, Tunisian Internet users could finally enjoy a completely free and neutral Internet connection. Since that, the ATI turned off its old and dark censorship and surveillance history and started a challenging and promising action plan in order to achieve the transformation of the agency towards a real IXP with regards to international best practices.
The agency has indeed become more transparent and very close to Internet users community as it is focusing on the development of Internet connectivity as well as local content and new Internet applications.
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