New facility in Mombasa expected to accelerate and promote Internet development in the region
August 13, MOMBASA, Kenya – The Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) today announced the creation of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Mombasa. The new IXP will ensure that all the region’s traffic is exchanged locally, which will improve Internet performance for end users, save operators the expense of backhauling regional traffic via Nairobi, and reduce the costs associated with traffic exchange between Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Commenting on the launch, Tejpal Bedi, Chairman of TESPOK said: “This new IXP in Mombasa is a great indication that Internet growth and development have matured in the region since the first Kenyan exchange point was launched in Nairobi in 2001. We welcome this opportunity to see the local Mombasa economy flourish now local providers can exchange traffic locally. The opportunities for both local and international investment that this new facility presents are also likely to have a positive effect on the region.” The running of the Nairobi KIXP has over the years greatly benefited the industry and Internet end users. It is in line with TESPOK’s key objective of addressing challenges faced by Telecommunications stakeholders and providing guidance as well as potential solution where applicable. TESPOK has strived to manage the Kenya Internet Exchange Point in line with internationally accepted best practices. This has been made possible by the establishment of strategic partnerships with entities that support similar initiatives. The Internet Society (ISOC) is one such organisation.
The establishment of the Mombasa IXP was facilitated in part by the Internet Society’s African Interconnection and IXP Programme, an initiative to promote more robust Internet connections within, and between countries in Africa. The programme combines technical training, IXP deployment assistance, development of value added services at existing IXPs, and the establishment of regional communities to promote information exchange and joint problem solving. Internet Society donated time, training, and equipment to assist the launch of the IXP in Mombasa.
By enabling more efficient and cost-effective Internet traffic flow, it is expected that the IXP will help stimulate the region’s information technology sector hence encouraging the development of local content, web hosting, and related services. Located over 500kms from the country’s first IXP in Nairobi, Mombasa is the landing point for all undersea fibre cables to Kenya and other landlocked countries in East Africa, making it an attractive location for international carriers to interconnect with the region.
“The Internet Society is committed to the establishment of IXPs in Africa as they provide immediate and significant benefits to Internet users and the local Internet industry,” said Michuki Mwangi, Regional Development Manager for Africa at the Internet Society. “In any given country, the growth potential of local traffic and content remains largely untapped, including emails and local web searches. Switching the traffic locally provides substantial cost savings which can be passed on to customers.’
The Internet Society’s Interconnection and IXP Programme is supported by the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX); the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX), the German Internet exchange; and Netnod, the Swedish Internet exchange provider. Additionally, the Internet Society’s donation of equipment for the Mombasa IXP was made possible by Cisco Systems.
Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) is a professional, non-profit organisation representing the interests of telecommunication service providers in Kenya. Established in 1999, the strength of the Association rests on its ability to be truly representative of the Kenyan industry as a whole. Through the print, television and radio media, the association has brought the issues affecting its members into the limelight, and this has created awareness among policy makers and the general public as well as producing several concrete outcomes. TESPOK’s mission is to be “An Industry voice in Telecommunications, Providing Policy and Direction within the Industry and Government”
About the Internet Society’s African Interconnection and IXP Programme
The Internet Society is currently working with six African countries at various stages of IXP development and recently established and hosted the creation of the African Peering and Interconnection Forum, to address the key Interconnection opportunities and challenges in the region. For more information: http://www.isoc.org/educpillar/resources/ixp.shtml