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Building Trust 17 September 2013

Afpif Day three recap

Michuki Mwangi
By Michuki MwangiDistinguished Technologist, Internet Growth

Theme: Regional Strategy for Developing Content and Interconnection Infrastructure

For the last three days, the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum has tackled several issues and deliberated on possible solutions that can lower internet costs, promote access to more people and help countries interconnect better.
The first day was dedicated to engineers, second day to policy discussions while the third day dealt with infrastructure, content, innovation, entrepreneurship and Internet traffic analysis.
Over the last three years, lack of local content has been an overriding theme, with participants decrying lack of e-commerce portals, payment platforms and general entertainment content that interests Africans locally and abroad.
Iroko Partners, Africa’s first content provider, has overcome challenges in providing a platform for Nollywood enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite movies and music at minimal fees. Nollywood is Nigeria’s film industry, considered to be the second after Bollywood in India, in terms of film production.
Michael Ugwu, CEO, IRoking Limited and a co founder of Iroko Partners gave his keynote address, showing how a company founded in December 2010 has raised $10million in Venture Capital Funding, is providing 5000 movies and 40 000 tracks on its online platform with over 1.8million registered users, 80 percent outside Africa.
Get more information on some of the fascinating statistics from Nollywood and Iroko platforms from the presentation.
Entertainment content is considered key because it appeals to a broader segment of the population, but universities and education institutions have also proven to be major reservoirs of content. Campus networks have formed a base for the biggest connectivity numbers in some countries.
A panel discussing the role of national and regional educational networks showed common threads of how infrastructure set up in the last few years had yielded improved content, but there were still challenges of interconnecting the national and regional networks for them to share information and best practices.
The last session of the day addressed traffic analysis and measurement labs in Africa and some of the uses that can benefit IXPs in attracting more peers to the exchange. While there are concerns and trust issues that need to be aadressed, there was consensus that once peers agree to data analysis, it can greatly benefit the IXP.
Once the data is collected and analysed, it can help the IXP in the following ways:
  1. Stability- identify bad traffic
  2. Support- help troubleshoot
  3. Strategic introductions- ensuring peers obtain maximum value from the exchange
  4. Visibility- assist bilateral peers
  5. Security- detection of security threats 
  6. Marketing- using the data to promote the IXP
  7. Planning: capacity planning can help the peers
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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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