Internet Society, a global organization dedicated towards open development, evolution, and the use of internet has partnered with Facebook to increase internet connectivity in Africa by creating Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout the continent.
“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,” Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for Internet Society said during the unveiling.
About half of the countries in Africa today lack Internet Exchange Points, meaning that the majority of their domestic internet traffic is exchanged through points outside their countries. This leads to a poor user experience and discourages hosting content on the internet.
Internet Exchange Points are where the local and international networks, internet service providers as well as content providers interconnect their network to exchange internet traffic through an arrangement called peering.
Peering at these IXPs helps keep domestic Internet traffic local by taking traffic away from relatively expensive international links onto more affordable local links. With these, internet service providers are able to offer improved Internet experiences for end-users and encourage interest in hosting content locally.
Facebook alongside the internet society would collaborate to promote internet exchange point infrastructure, offer training and encourage community engagement so as to increase the number of internet exchange points in Africa and support expansion to meet the growing need of these facilities across Africa.
“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,” Dawit Bekele further explains.
In Africa, there are approximately 44 active IXPs located across 32 countries in Africa. This has resulted in a 275 percent growth of locally exchanged Internet traffic over the last 10 years (there were 16 IXPs in 2008).
“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,” Head, Connectivity and Access, Africa at Facebook Kojo Boakye said.