(Ecofin Agency) - In a new report published yesterday June 24, the Internet Society (Isoc) explained the need for African countries to follow the example of Nigeria and Kenya to offer faster and cheaper connectivity across the continent. The US nonprofit organization called on countries to invest more in Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).
In 2012, the reports said, Nigeria and Kenya exchanged only about 30% of their Internet traffic locally. Now the two countries exchange about 70% of the traffic. Thanks to IXP, Kenya's peak traffic of 1 Gbps in 2012 has increased to 19 Gbps in 2020 and cost savings quadrupled to $6 million a year, according to the report. In Nigeria, peak traffic reached 125 Gbps in 2020, from only 300 Mbps in 2012, and cost savings increased forty-four times to $40 million per year.
The Internet Society highlights that without IXP, Internet Service Providers have to use international transit, which is a process much more expensive. By enabling the exchange of local traffic, IXPs save on large, recurring, and expensive international IP transit costs; latency is significantly reduced and increases content usage and, in turn, ISP revenues.
Currently, the IXPs in Kenya and Nigeria are type 2. They already have the potential to make international content available locally. Also, they are attracting more regional ISPs that wish to access cross-border, sub-regional, and international content. Soon, they are expected to move to Type 3, which exchanges more than 70% of Internet traffic locally and hosts local content locally rather than in data centers located abroad. Type 3 promotes a digital economy by providing additional opportunities for local content developers.
According to the African Internet Exchange Point Association, there are currently 46 IXPs active on the continent; they are based in 42 cities in 34 out of 55 countries. A number that is still insufficient for Isoc, which claims that at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa should be locally accessible.