The Internet Society, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the Internet, has announced that it is partnering with Facebook to develop Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout Africa.
An Internet Exchange Point 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% of countries in Africa lack IXPs, which means that most of their domestic Internet traffic is exchanged through points outside their respective country, usually through satellite or submarine fibre across multiple international hubs to reach their destination. This can result in poor end-user experiences and discourages hosting content locally, which are some of the key factors towards the development of the local Internet ecosystem.
Peering at IXPs helps keep domestic Internet traffic local by offloading traffic from relatively expensive international links onto more affordable local links.
“The Internet community adopted the goal of having at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.
“We are getting closer to that target thanks to the many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa and to partnerships such as the one we are announcing today with Facebook.”