ISP and Facebook to expand Internet connectivity in Africa

ISpThe Internet Society Partners (ISP) has announced that it is partnering with Facebook to develop Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout Africa

An IXP is where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks together to efficiently exchange Internet traffic through an arrangement commonly referred to as Peering.

Currently, 42 per cent of countries in Africa lack IXPs, which means most of their domestic Internet traffic is exchanged through points outside their respective country. This can lead to poor end-user experiences and discourages the local hosting of content, which are some of the key factors for developing local Internet ecosystem.

Peering at IXPs will help keep domestic Internet traffic local by offloading traffic from relatively expensive international links onto more affordable local links.

ISP and Facebook will collaborate to promote IXP infrastructure development, training and community engagement to increase the number of IXPs and support the expansion of existing IXPs.

Dawit Bekele, Africa regional bureau director for the Internet society, said, “The Internet community adopted the goal of having at least 80 per cent of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20 per cent sourced outside the continent by the year 2020.”

He added that many activities promote interconnection and hosting in Africa and that Facebook partnership will help them achieved their goal more quickly.

According to the Africa IXP association (Af-IX), around 44 active IXPs are located across 32 countries in Africa. This has led to a 275 per cent increase in locally exchanged Internet traffic over the last 10 years.

During the same period, traffic exchanged at the African IXPs increased from 0.16Gbps to 412Gbps with over 800 IXPs connected network.

“Our partnership with the Internet Society will help develop Africa's IXP ecosystem by deploying resources like training and equipment to the areas where they are most urgently needed,” said Kojo Boakye, head, connectivity and access, Africa at Facebook.

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