Internet Society explains steps African countries can take to improve Internet connectivity

lwl 4393369 640The Internet Society has produced a new report explaining how African countries can take steps to bring faster and less expensive Internet connectivity to the continent

The report entitled “Anchoring the African Internet Ecosystem: Lessons from Kenya and Nigeria’s Internet Exchange Points Growth” reveals how a vibrant Internet ecosystem is critical to bringing faster, and more affordable Internet to Africa.

The Internet exchange points (IXPs) are locations where Internet service providers (ISPs) meet and exchange Internet traffic with other network operators.

The report provides an update on a 2012 study published by the Internet Society that examined two of the more advanced Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Africa at the time – KIXP in Kenya, and IXPN in Nigeria.

The growth of the IXPs in each country was exponential, as were the cost savings from the local exchange of traffic rather than the costly international transit. KIXP in Kenya grew in 2012 from carrying peak traffic of one Gigabit per second (Gbps) to 19 Gbps in 2020, with cost savings quadrupling to US$6mn per year.

In Nigeria, IXPN grew from carrying only 300 Megabits per second (Mbps) to peak traffic of 125 Gbps in 2020, and cost savings increased forty-fold to US$40mn per year.

Michuki Mwangi, senior director of internet technology and development for the Internet Society, said, “Kenya and Nigeria are in a better position than ever before to cope with – and contribute to – the digital revolution that COVID-19 has accelerated as the Internet becomes a lifeline for many people.

“It is clear Africa is ready to embrace the digital revolution to spur economic development. But reaching this goal will depend on our community of passionate people on the ground, policymakers, regulators and businesses embracing IXPs and working in collaboration to create these essential local traffic anchors.”

The rapid pace of Internet development in both Kenya and Nigeria highlights the critical role IXPs and the accompanying infrastructure play in building strong and sustainable Internet ecosystems.

The achievement is an important step towards the vision set by the peering community in Africa 10 years ago: for 80 percent of African Internet traffic to be local.

One of the reasons given in the report for the progress made by Kenya and Nigeria is that governments in both countries have adopted policies that have made it easier for an Internet ecosystem to thrive. Both governments not only made the development of submarine cables easier for different service providers but also adopted data protection regulations that stimulated confidence and attracted international service providers.

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?