New IXP in Democratic Republic of Congo to improve access to Internet

38785039700 27e0557f8b cThe Internet Society and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have launched a new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Lubumbashi to provide faster and more reliable Internet access

The Internet Exchange Point is an access point where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks instead of using third-party networks. Exchange of Internet traffic locally not only reduces the cost of bandwidth but also improves the Internet experience for end-users by keeping traffic local.

According to the organisation, Internet traffic in Lubumbashi, the second-largest city in the DRC, is being exchanged outside the region and, in many cases, outside the country.

This results in slow Internet speeds and higher access costs. IXP’s are used to route traffic that can be kept local instead of being sent to the nearest major Internet node (usually located in Europe) and back.

The Internet Society, in collaboration with Facebook, provided technical training, support and equipment to launch this IXP in Lubumbashi (LUBIX).

The two organisations announced a partnership in September of last year to promote IXP infrastructure development throughout Africa. Since then, IXP workshops have been held in Morocco, Nigeria, Burkina Faso Zimbabwe, Togo, Lesotho, Burundi and Mauritius, Guinea, Benin and Chad resulting in more than 300 people trained, and upgraded infrastructure unlocking potential growth of IXPs across the continent.

“We want to help shift Africa from being Internet consumers to Internet creators and innovators. This will be realized through deliberate actions to have 80 per cent of the Internet traffic being consumed in Africa accessible locally and only 20 per cent sourced from outside the continent,” explained Michuki Mwangi, senior development manager for Africa, Internet Society.

There are currently 45 active IXPs in 33 countries across Africa. Many of these have been established over the last decade and have grown significantly with more than 1,000 networks now connected.

“We’re excited to partner with ISOC and members of the ISP association to help launch the second Internet Exchange Point in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Kojo Boakye, head of Public Policy for Africa, Facebook. “This new infrastructure will help improve connectivity by lowering the cost of delivering Internet services to people in the region.”

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