The Internet Society and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have announced the launch of a new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in DRC’s second largest city Lubumbashi to improve access to the internet.
An Internet Exchange Point is an access point where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks instead of through third-party networks.
The Internet Society says exchanging internet traffic locally (and keeping traffic local) not only reduces bandwidth costs, but improves internet experience for end-users.
According to a statement issued by the organisation, internet traffic in Lumbumbashi is currently 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 sending that traffic to the nearest major Internet node (usually located in Europe) and back,” the organisation states.
The Internet Society, in collaboration with Facebook, provided the technical training, support and equipment to launch the IXP.
The organisations announced a partnership in September 2018 to promote IXP infrastructure development throughout Africa.
According to the Internet Society, since then IXP workshops have been held in Morocco, Nigeria, Burkina Faso Zimbabwe, Togo, Lesotho, Burundi and Mauritius, Guinea, Benin and Chad “resulting in over 300 people trained, and upgraded infrastructure unlocking potential growth of IXPs across the continent.”
Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa, Internet Society said: “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% of the Internet traffic being consumed in Africa accessible locally and only 20% sourced from outside the continent.”
There are currently 45 active IXPs located in 33 countries across Africa. Many of these were established within the last decade and have grown significantly with over 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.”