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Press releases 21 December 2011

Africa’s Peering and Interconnection Forum Commits To Further Improve Infrastructure

 

Africa’s leading Internet experts have pledged to improve connectivity and interconnection in the region and attract African and international content providers to set up partnerships and investments.

The experts meeting at the Second Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) August 8-9 in Accra, identified the landing of six fiber optic cables, growth of carrier-neutral data centers, growth of mobile Internet users, ongoing digitization of government content and increased interconnection between service providers as the major catalyst of growth. Africa has six fiber optic cables; SEACOM, EASSY, TEAMS, Main One, Glo One, and SAT-3

“After extensive investment in Internet infrastructure, reduction of connectivity costs and growing online communities, Africa is now ready for global content providers; we are ready to open up our infrastructure to global content providers,” said Willem Marais, head of sales, southern and west Africa, SEACOM.

“This is the right time With the landing fiber optic cables, the cost of connectivity has gone down leading to higher number of users while fiber optic cable providers like SEACOM have provided space for interconnection and carrier-neutral data centers,” said Michuki Mwangi, Senior Regional Development Manager at ISOC,
Google has extensively invested in cache servers at leading ISPs in many countries, runs applications development competition, translation projects as well as digitization of government records, which has led to increase of local content and Internet users.

Participants at the two day conference discussed ways African Internet Service Providers and content generators like government agencies have been able to exchange content locally through Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), reducing cost of international transit. Without exchange points in place, local African content is often routed through Europe and the US just to return back to users on the continent. This not only makes connection latencies high and costly, but also negatively impacts the business case for local content hosting in Africa.

Africa has a lot of cultural and educational content while Nigeria and Egypt lead in film production, and if fully available online can raise revenues for companies and communities. The growth of mobile and gaming applications, supported by establishment of tech innovation hubs and co-working spaces in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya has bolstered growth of online content and users.

AfPIF is an avenue for Internet Service Providers, content providers, governments and education networks to explore interconnection and peering opportunities in the region. The forum further offers opportunities to exchange ideas and learn more about the global trends on interconnection.

Over 100 industry, government, university, and development experts from 27 countries attended the AfPIF-2 meeting in Ghana.

Presentations and material from the meeting can be accessed at http://www.afpif.org.

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