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Growing the Internet Infrastructure and Community Development Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF Day Two: International Traffic, the Economics of Peering, and a Look Ahead to 2030

In the last five years, Africa’s international traffic patterns have changed, with international and  intra regional traffic growing, according to the latest statistics from Telegeography, presented at this year’s AfPIF.

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi maintain their top hub status, but Cotonou, Kigali, Libreville, Abidjan, and Dakar have emerged as major hubs as international traffic grows. Cotonou recorded 88Gps between 2018 and 2019, showing a 77% growth, while Kigali recorded 75Gbps, a 92% growth, and Libreville had 113Gbps at 71% growth.

This was attributed to a drastic reduction in connectivity costs, which led to more data center space and eventual demand for more capacity to other international hubs. West African connection, especially between Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, and Lagos has also increased.

Telegeography monitors international transit traffic and the presentation was one of the highlights of the day. Domestic traffic is a bit harder to capture but Telegeography promised to work with more providers to get future snapshots of the growing traffic.

The presentation by Telegeography explored the shifting connectivity landscape in Africa and its effect on interconnection hubs, showing that new hubs may soon emerge, as more and more cities reduce the cost of connectivity and invest in more infrastructure.

The data emerging shows that Europe is still a preferred transit route and Intra-Africa route capacity has increased between East and West while South to North connectivity is increasing, probably because of the Cape to Cairo infrastructure projects.

The data also shows that new hubs will be driven by new submarine cable routes, carrier neutral data centers IXs, a friendly regulatory environment that is geared towards business growth, business competition and low prices for local connectivity, and a rich ecosystem with content and growing corporations.

AfPIF also included a presentation exploring Africa by 2030 and what we need to be prepared for. It was clear that intra-regional connectivity was key, as prices continue falling, and expected to be on par with other parts of the world by then. There were other expectations for 2030, including:

  • The customer will have more control over the routing of traffic and the applications, while networks will be expected to be more agile, to provide for the evolving customer needs, and running flexible networks.
  • International organizations will invest more in Africa, given that now there are a billion unconnected in the region and it is slowly becoming an important market for international tech companies.

For each of the past ten years at AfPIF, there has been a presentation on the economics of peering – a way to deepen the conversation on why networks should peer and introduce any newcomers to the economics of IXPs. This year, the conversation was led by Susan Forney from Hurricane Electric.

In her presentation, she projected that Africa’s IXP growth will follow the international trajectory, with falling connectivity costs leading to an increase in content and the eventual need for exchanging content locally and strategically.

For any community considering whether to set up an IXP, it is important to consider the port costs, equipment support costs, costs of cross connect, data center costs, and any third party costs that may be incurred.

These costs can be weighed with the benefits of an IXP, such as reaching content networks or cloud providers like Microsoft, AWS, Google, Akamai, Limelight, Fastly, Facebook, and Netflix among others.

To understand where to peer, it is important to get statistics about the highest traffic sources and destinations on the network, allowing the easier upgrade of capacity.

Stay tuned for the Day Three Summary, with more discussions on content and security!

Photo: AfPIF 2018

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Growing the Internet Infrastructure and Community Development Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF-10 Kicks Off in Balaclava, Mauritius

The tenth meeting of Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) kicked off in Balaclava, Mauritius, with participants celebrating the achievements and looking forward to further collaboration.

Andrew Sullivan, the President and CEO of the Internet Society, opened by highlighting the importance of the meeting, which helps create a community that supports the growth of the Internet in Africa, identifies challenges, and ensures that understanding spreads.

In his speech, he noted that traffic exchanged inside Africa has expanded enormously as a result of the work done by AfPIF over the years. One of AfPIF goals is to increase the level of local content exchanged locally to 80% by 2020.

Sullivan, who has extensive experience working with international Internet bodies, emphasized the need for a robust community in Africa, led by Af-IX, that will continue working together to ensure that the Internet is built in Africa, according to the needs of Africans and the African network experience.

The annual meeting, brings together chief technology officers, peering coordinators and business development managers from the African region, Internet service providers and operators, telecommunications policymakers and regulators, content providers, Internet exchange point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, data center managers, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), carriers and transit providers, and international financial organizations. The forum is planned as a non-profit event and international sponsorship and support have been sought to convene the event.

The first meeting was held in Kenya in 2010 when the region was tackling different kinds of challenges: connectivity was mainly via satellite, there were only a few submarine cables, the benefits of interconnectivity were not well known within the local tech communities, and the cost of bandwidth was between $ 3,000 and $5,000 per Mbps.

Between 2010 and 2014, the meeting highlights included “The Peering Game,” where participants were led by Dr. Peering (Bill Norton) in understanding how peering works, the economics of it, and the benefit to end users. This game helped share knowledge and understanding, which set the stage for peering personals and bilaterals that are the current highlight of AfPIF.

Over the past decade, the Internet Society and its partners has offered equipment donations and technical training and community mobilization in at least 28 African countries.

One of the highlights is a partnership between the African Union (AU) and the Internet Society on the AXIS Project between 2012 and 2018 where over 1500 people in 28 countries were trained. The project also supported the creation of several new IXPs, support of 8 IXPs into becoming regional IXPs increased awareness on value of IXPs and policy work on importance of cross border interconnection. One notable outcome of the capacity building work, has been the development of regional subject matter experts and trainers who speak French and Portuguese which was a challenge before.

Going forward, it is clear that the work has just begun and the next decade will equally be critical. The goal is to get service providers from all African countries to participate in AfPIF, sustained learning and information sharing is need, increased collaboration between data center operators and the tech community and increased research and measurements in the region.

As the host of the 10th meeting, Mauritius took the chance to showcase how it is leading in efforts to interconnect the Indian Ocean Islands, as well as grow its reputation as an attractive locale for technology companies seeking to invest in Africa.

Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros and Madagascar make up the Indian Ocean Islands with a combined population of 28.3 million. These islands are connected by Safe and Lion submarine cables but there are efforts in the pipeline to set up a third cable connecting all the islands with South Africa.

The Day Two Summary will cover more about the economics of peering and the infrastructure issues in the region!

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Events Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

African Peering and Interconnection Forum 2019 Fellows Announced

The 10th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF-10) has selected twenty fellows to participate in the meeting next month.

The fellows are drawn from various fields such as interconnection, content, infrastructure, and policy. They represent Kenya, Lesotho, Somalia, Nigeria, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Egypt, Uganda, South Africa, Republic of the Congo (Congo), Ethiopian Cameroon, Benin, and Gambia.

Among the chosen fellows are six women sponsored by the Women in Tech partners. The women are drawn from Kenya, South Africa, Gambia, and Congo.

Representing DR Congo in this year’s AfPIF forum is Eric Nsilu Moanda. Eric works as a Senior Core Data Network Architect for Vodacom DR Congo. He has held the position at the Vodafone Group subsidiary for 12 years now, designing all IP Integration Solutions for the company.

“I look forward to learning how to produce attractive local content in Africa, for Africans, obtaining a fresh technical and marketing perspective, and gaining awareness in the evolution of continental interconnection projects,” Eric said.

In the past, Eric has peered on integrating Vodacom to KINIX (Kinshasa Exchange point) and he also worked on the Internet update link for the CDN of Kinix via Vodacom. He is a member of the Technical committee of ISPA in DR Congo and is part of the team that worked on Integration of the CDN of Google and Facebook to KINIX.

Stephanie Achieng is one of the Women in Tech fellows, representing Kenya at AfPIF-10. She currently works at Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) as a Technical officer at the company which runs the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP).

Her past achievements include having successfully led initiatives such as partnering with Google and Hurricane Electric to drive KIXP data with over 60,000 routes exchanged. She also participated in the launching of a new Internet Exchange Point at the Mombasa ICOLO data center, targeting tier 1 and 2 service providers and onboarding members such as Facebook, MTN, and Lyca Digital.

Learn more about all of the AfPIF 2019 fellows and their work!

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Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Register for AfPIF 2019

Join us in Balaclava, Mauritius for the 10th Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) from 20-22 August 2019.

AfPIF attracts ISPs, content providers, governments, and IXPs for three days of learning, sharing, and building business in Africa.

Why should you attend AfPIF-2019? Have a look through the AfPIF 2018 Summary Report, which contains briefs of presentations, emerging discussions, speakers, and sponsors.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to promote your business to these key audiences. Find out more about these opportunities here: https://www.afpif.org/afpif-10/sponsorship-brochure/

Register now to secure your place – and remember to check your visa requirements for travel to Mauritius.

Don’t miss Africa’s premier peering event – celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year!

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Growing the Internet Technology

AfPIF 2018 Day Three: Cloud Infrastructure, Local Content, and More

The growth of cloud infrastructure in Africa has been credited with the growth of local content in many regions, and it holds the key for Africa’s ability to attract content carriers and distribution networks.

The first panel of day three at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) was dedicated to discussing the current scenario of cloud infrastructure and what it will take to grow the sector further, get the market interested, and eventually grow the level of content hosted locally.

South Africa has the most extensive cloud market, compared to other African countries, and it took concerted efforts from the different players, under the ISP Association, for the market to be deregulated and the laws to be put in place. The laws can take time, but industry players agree the laws are vital to investments in the market.

Although the industry may be small in Africa, cybersecurity is key, as businesses are susceptible to cybercrime, just like other global operators. That means the enactment of cyber security laws in the different countries, and continued training and awareness by industry players.

Power and cooling is another vital part, with many countries enjoying monopoly of power distribution. Liquid Telecom said it has had extensive discussions with the power company in South Africa as it seeks to set up carrier-neutral data centers in South Africa, similar to East Africa Data Centers in Kenya. This will be a different company operating the data centers, just like EADC is separate from Liquid in Kenya.

In discussions with the power companies, Liquid challenges them to evaluate the importance of power stability and availability as a determining factor for international companies determining whether to set up data centers in a particular country or not.

Pricing is key for the market, for enterprises to shift from hosting abroad to local the cost must make sense. If the cost is the same when hosting locally, compared to U.S. or European companies, companies will make the right decisions. The pricing also has to be accompanied by stable power and cooling, well-trained engineers and overall security and privacy.

The debate of Over The Top (OTT) services has gained momentum in Africa for the last two years, as disruptive services like WhatsApp, Uber, AirBnB, and Netflix among others have entered the markets.

The debate is on whether these services should be taxed or not, whether they should be licensed like traditional services or not, and whether governments and ICT industry operators should go back to the drawing board and come up with a new way of operating that doesn’t kill the existing market while at the same time promoting innovation.

A study by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Union found that OTT services had led to a rise in bandwidth usage and growth in infrastructure, with operators expanding 3G and 4G coverage to meet the growing demand.

The majority of African governments are grappling with how to handle Internet services, as online advertising revenues continue growing compared to traditional advertising. Most of them are looking for ways to get new tax revenue sources and at the same time grow the economy.

The research was presented at the 5th council of African regulators in Lome, Togo in July this year, and is expected to form the basis of conversations with the government, network operators, OTTs, and the public.

AfPIF 2019 will be in Mauritius, voted the best place for doing business and most competitive economy in Africa by the World Economic Forum’s Annual Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.

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Growing the Internet Technology

AfPIF 2018 Day Two: Connecting Cape Town to Cairo

Africa’s dream of Cape Town to Cairo fiber connectivity has moved closer, with Liquid Telecom announcing that it has made considerable progress is signing agreements with regulatory authorities and partners within the route.

Liquid Telecom has an ambitious plan of reducing latencies in connectivity between Cape Town and Cairo. Currently, traffic is routed through Europe, with latencies of 209ms, and it will be reduced to 97ms.

In his keynote speech at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), Ben Roberts, Liquid CTO, said that the project will be implemented through existing Liquid infrastructure within different countries, partnership with existing infrastructure providers, and regulators. The project is expected to be done by 2020 and to eventually connect East and West Africa.

Liquid is expecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, signed and ratified recently, to drive city-to-city interconnectivity, as more countries look for ways to trade with each other and eventually exchange Internet traffic. The goal to increase intra-Africa broadband traffic.

Roberts projects the infrastructure currently being set up will be highly used by the youth, who have grown up online – through education, social media, and gaming applications. The Internet of Things is expected to grow; currently most of IoT deployments are in South Africa, but it is expected to grow in areas such as health, agriculture, smart cities, transport, and logistics.

Cloud infrastructure, combined with IoT is expected to drive utilities, water, sewerage, health, agriculture, smart cities, transport, and financial services.

Growth in data centers and cloud infrastructure has been key to growth in content and fall in connectivity costs. Most content carriers and distributors depend on the data center growth to determine whether to enter the market or not.

Michele McCann from Teraco presented about the growth of their data center space, highlighting the factors they consider before deciding whether to enter a market. Teraco currently has more that 350 AS numbers represented at their facilities and they are growing every month.

Teraco started with networks building structured cabling between each other and peering, cloud services were built and as power and cooling became more reliable, content providers and distributors, financial, and enterprise markets set up services. One of the smaller South African banks was able to gain significant market ground as it focused on its online strategy instead of the traditional brick and mortar approach.

What trends will drive data center growth? Moving content closer to users is driving CDNs to move into Africa, accelerated migration to the cloud as companies look to reduce capital expenditure, lower connectivity costs, growth in online services, and availability of peering.

Availability of statistics has improved over the years, with Telegeography presenting its data on Africa’s traffic trends and pricing. This year, Africa’s Internet grew by 45% while in Sub Saharan Africa, it grew by 40%, compared to 72% last year.

Telegeography measures international traffic, so if there was an increase in local traffic, it is not likely to reflect on the Telegeography statistics. The goal of AfPIF is for local traffic to be exchanged locally, however, 82% of capacity from Africa is still going through Europe.

It is projected that as latencies fall, more CDNs will be attracted to Africa and in areas like Latin America. CDNs have ended up investing in four submarine cables, as they seek to lower connectivity costs and reach more users.

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

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Growing the Internet Technology

AfPIF 2018 Kicks Off

The ninth edition of Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) kicked off today, with more than 400 tech executive in attendance.

This year, the forum was organized and held jointly with iWeek- South Africa ISP Association’s premier tech event. The event is underway at the Cape Town International Convention Center.

This year’s event is dubbed AfPIF@iWeek has attracted tech executives, chief technology officers, peering coordinators and business development managers, Internet service providers and operators, telecommunications policymakers and regulators, content providers, Internet Exchange Point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, data center managers, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), carriers, and transit providers.

The sessions started with an introduction by Nishal Goburdhan, a veteran of AfPIF, who traced the history of AfPIF, from its conception to the community event it is. The community took over the program three years ago, determining the speakers and the conference content.

How can you take advantage of AfPIF? Nishal suggested that the participants use peering personals sessions; this is like speed dating for networks – members give details of their AS numbers, where they peer, peering policy, contact information, and explain why other participants should peer with them. At the end of every session, participants get a chance to introduce themselves.

The meeting tool allows participants to book meetings with other people and there are long breaks in the schedule, meant to facilitate the meetings. There are six half-hour breaks and 90-minute lunch sessions to allow continuation of discussions.

For the last nine years, it has been clear that most peering agreements are done through a handshake and social sessions. The sessions are meant to facilitate these kind of discussions.

How to start an IXP and how to grow an existing one are probably the major questions for Africa’s tech community. Solène Souquet, from Asteroid International, made a presentation on “the big case for a small IXP,” noting that one doesn’t need a big budget to set up an IXP.

The most important part is a vibrant local community, a gigabit infrastructure that is scalable, 20 or 30 customer ports, website, route server, central location with good connectivity options, and a content carrier as among the peers.

Netflix is one of the major global content carriers and has recently established POPs in Africa and is planning to grow. During the peering and transit tutorial, Netflix explained the different consideration in traffic routing. When accessing Netflix, traffic is routed to the closest server, which facilitates faster response time.

One of the major issues that ISPs have with Netflix is blocking of IPs that are found to have flouted the rules, especially using VPNs to access the content. Netflix says that content is geographically licensed and they provide it depending on what the region prefers to watch. In cases of blockage, Netflix encourages ISPs to reach out and resolve the matter with their teams.

The last session was on inter-city traffic latencies, and it shows that the latencies are falling, as the region continues to interconnect more-and-more cities. The study showed that the median latencies are at 250ms.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Cape Town and AFRINIC. It used Ookla and speedcheker to measure the latencies, 723 probes in 100 cities, 43 countries, and 271 servers.

Northern has lowest city-to-city median delay compared to other regions. Kigali was noted to have high latencies but the team couldn’t explain, but promised to continue investigating.

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

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Growing the Internet

Welcome to AfPIF and iWeek 2018!

A comprehensive view of Africa’s Internet peering and interconnection ecosystem from the region’s top networks and experts, opportunities to strengthen and build new peering relationships with over 300 attendees using an open to all “bilateral meeting” scheduling tool, insightful presentations, studies and reports delivered by a strong lineup of speakers, and a technical village are some of the interesting activities that participants to iWeek/AfPIF 2018 can expect.

The sessions have been spiced up to include a technical village, with vendors offering masterclasses, a super teachers award honoring Africa’s tech teachers, and a beers for peers session, to allow participants to network more.

“This year’s agenda reflects the growing interests from our rapidly evolving regional industry with an increased focus on regional networks, carrier-neutral data centers, cloud services, and regulation in addition to our traditional line-up of quality technical content,” said Kyle Spencer, Co-Coordinator of the African IXP Association.

This year, the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) joined hands with the South Africa ISP Association to hold sessions during iWeek. This provides extensive training sessions and opportunities for participants.

“Participants will have opportunities to meet with industry leaders to discuss one on one or in groups the various issues around both networking and content in Africa. Bilaterals are always great to discuss one on one about peering,” said Malcom Siegel, Chairperson, ISP Association in South Africa.

In the last eight years, AfPIF has established itself as the place to be for techies, regulators, and businesses engaging in the rapidly-developing Internet ecosystem. For new entrants into Africa, AfPIF has been a good place to meet major players and engage in bilateral negotiations, which have resulted in increased interconnectivity within the region.

“We have a particularly strong line-up of speakers this year including representatives from Africa and beyond, including Liquid Telecom, Teraco, Amazon, Facebook, Cloudflare, Netflix, TeleGeography, Hurricane Electric, Internet Solutions, and Asteroid, among others,” added Spencer, who is also the Executive Director of the Uganda Internet Exchange Point.

Teaching has been a major component and this year it will not be any different; participants can expect to gain more knowledge and take advantage of the wealth of experience among other participants.

“We have a technical village with vendors who will be giving masterclasses; we also have a training program designed with Africa in mind and will give delegates short 45-50 minute sessions on topics relevant to peering and content delivery,” said Siegel.

Regional interconnection is still a major issue; the continent is striving to interconnect more, and Spencer sees an opportunity to discuss the explosive growth seen in South Africa and how it is impacting growth in the rest of the continent.

After the conference, the organizers encourage participants to experience life in Cape Town and South Africa, if possible.

“Cape Town, South Africa is easily one of the world’s most beautiful, entertaining, and affordable tourist destinations; it has a stunning mountainous coastline; an unusually high density of excellent bars and restaurants; and is immediately adjacent to one of the world’s finest wine-growing regions. Our AfPIF social events and gala dinner will reflect this, of course, but I strongly encourage everyone to stay the following weekend in order to experience all that the area has to offer,” concluded Spencer.

Have a great week ahead!!

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

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Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Abidjan Holds a Successful AfPIF 2017

Abidjan became the third West African city to hold the annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), attracting top African and global players in the Internet ecosystem.

This year’s forum attracted 227 participants working in IXPs, ISPs, governments, content carriers, network providers, hardware providers, and software service providers among others. The meeting tool, which allows participants to discuss ways to exchange content, had 276 registered users who scheduled 170 meetings. Twenty networks introduced themselves during “Peering Introductions” session, held every day. This year there were 23 sponsors: Seacom, Liquid Telecom, Angonix, Angola Cables, De Cix, Linx, Adva, Afrinic, Akamai, Dolphin, Facebook, Flexoptix, France IX, Google, icolo.io, Main One, Netflix, Netnod, Yahoo, Medalion, MTN, Teraco, and ARTCI.

Getting more statistics

Research conducted by PCH reinforced the fact that most peering agreements have no formal agreement. The study done in 2016 found that 99 per cent of peering agreements in 148 countries were through a handshake. The study asked questions such as: are there formal agreements, is the peering arrangement symmetrical, is the content is IPv6 or IPv4, and what are the laws governing the agreement. Out of the 1,935,822 agreements, 49 percent comprised of matching peers, meaning it was easy to tell if both parties understood the peering arrangement well.

Russia had the highest IPv6 traffic, followed by Ukraine and the United States. Russia also had the highest domestic agreements with 57%, Britain had 33%, while Germany had 17%.

The Africa IXP Association (Af-IX) has also been collecting data, in order to enrich conversations around the level of content exchanged locally through the IXPs and the amount of money being saved; currently, the region is exchanging 234 Gbps locally. Research conducted in 2016 showed that the number of IXPs has risen to 38; JINX in South Africa is the oldest, set up in 1996, while Djibouti, Togo, and Madagascar are the latest.

The diversity of peers has improved over time; more IXPs have attracted content carriers, ISPs, government services, mobile networks, and private corporations. Ten IXPs are hosting at carrier neutral data centers with power back up, biometric, and fire suppression equipment in place.

Challenges of setting up IXPs

West and Central African countries have the lowest number of IXPs, because of a combination of challenges. Lack of local content was cited as the main reasons that local operators don’t peer at the exchange. The setup of Google Cache and root server copies has been identified as one of the ways to attract more peers to an IXP.

Cross border interconnection for IXPs to share content remains a challenge; for instance, Kinsasha and Brazaville are cities separated by a river and have not connected because of regulatory issues and lack of high content at the two IXPs. Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria are also exploring ways to exchange regionally relevant content more easily.

Governance structure, dedicated staff, availability of carrier neutral facilities with power back up, growth of local digital services, and growth in government online services has been identified as some of the way to make the IXP more attractive to local players.

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Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF Day Two: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities

AfPIF Day Two Summary

The second day at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) is dedicated to plenary presentations and discussions between the technical community, private sector, and government representatives.

The discussions aim to foster understanding of the landscape the various players operate in, the challenges faced, opportunities and ways to create synergies that guarantee increased connectivity, and exchange of content within the region.

The first session of the day was the formal opening ceremony, with Yves Miezan Ezo, representative of the Conseiller Technique du Ministre de la Communicatiln, de l’Economie Numerique et de la Poste de la république de Cote d’Ivoire, Caliste Claude M’Bayia, representative of l’ARTCI, and Moctar Yadaly, head of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC).

In his speech, Dawit Bekele, Head of the Internet Society Africa Bureau, welcomed participants to the 8th AfPIF session, noting that great strides have been made in Africa’s technology landscape, and it will get better.

The first AfPIF session was held in 2010 by the Internet Society out of the realization that too much African Internet traffic was exchanged outside the continent, and the region could save costs by exchanging the content locally.

Bekele noted that:

  • For the last decade Interconnection was the biggest focus of our activities in Africa. Since we launched the first AFPIF, we not only organized 8 such events but also had a high number of capacity building activities to increase local and regional peering in Africa. In particular, we partnered with the African Union to implement the first phases of the AXIS project which helped build the technical and organizational capacity for the development of IXPs in 30 countries around Africa.
  • 2017 is an important year for Internet Society since we are celebrating our 25th anniversary.  In 1992, a small group of Internet pioneers including Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, established the Internet Society with the vision to bring the Internet to everyone. That goal might not be reached yet but I am sure that you agree with me that we have gone a long way towards that goal. 25 years ago there was no African country that had Internet access. Today all African countries have Internet access. Internet penetration is about 28% and the growth has been considerable in the last decade.

It is also going to be a new direction for the organization of future AfPIF events; the African bureau has decided to hand over AfPIF to the African IXP community. For the last 8 years, AfPIF has become a very sustainable event in terms of participation and funding, and Bekele believes it is time to transition it to the Association of African IXPs (AfIX). The Internet Society will still continue supporting the AfIX in organizing the annual event.

The Internet Society will continue with its engagement in Africa, on issues including:

  • Cyber security
  • Personal data protection
  • Internet Shutdowns
  • Remote areas
  • Empowering Africans to sue the full potential of increasing Internet access

Keynote Speech

Funke Opeke, CEO of Main One, one of the largest submarine cable operators in Nigeria, delivered the keynote speech. Her presentation explored the possibility of achieving the exchange of 80 per cent of content locally in Africa by 2020.

Currently, only 20 per cent of the content is exchanged locally in Nigeria, with 80 per cent of the people accessing the content via mobile. The Nigerian IXP is currently exchanging 31.5 Gbps with most of the capacity exchanged in Lagos.

Opeke was optimistic that measured regulatory intervention, increased attractiveness to regional interconnection, mobile networks exchanging content locally, sustained economic growth, and ease of doing business will lead to increased local content sharing.

Content Distribution Challenges

Netflix, CloudFlare, Facebook, and Rwanda IXP were on the last panel of the day, discussing content distribution challenges and opportunities in Africa. Netflix provides video on demand services across 190 countries and is seeking to increase its coverage in Africa. Its preferred way of sharing content is putting servers on ISP networks in various countries. From there the user can be redirected to the nearest servers.

For Netflix, Cloudflare, and Facebook, South Africa is the first country in Africa that they set up, given the advanced tech ecosystem, high traffic, and the ease with which various players share local content. The CDNs are exploring ways to set up cache in other countries, but peering and general sharing of services has to be established in order to raise the number of users accessing the service. For instance, more networks would access a cache at an IXP and more people compared to sitting at one ISP in a country.

The ensuing discussions proved that AfPIF members need to continue engaging with regulators and educating them on some of the issues in order to make proper and progressive policy decisions.

Unable to attend AfPIF 2017? Please join us via webcast!

See the complete list of speakers and read more about the event.

Celebrate the Internet Society’s 25th anniversary and join us to help #ShapeTomorrow.

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Technology

Thirteen Fellows to Attend AfPIF 2017

The Internet Society will support thirteen fellows to attend the 8th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), scheduled for 22 – 24 August, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The AfPIF fellowship program is designed to offer opportunities for qualified applicants to attend the event. The fellows come from: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Gambia, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Lesotho, and Sudan. The annual event brings together governments, policy makers, technical experts and business leaders to discuss African Internet infrastructure challenges, including capacity, regional and national Internet Exchange Point (IXP) development, local content development, and connectivity.

“The AfPIF Fellowship is an important program that gives the opportunity to many to participate in the Forum and gain insights on how Africa can maximize opportunities for increased interconnection and peering.  I would like to thank our sponsors and the Fellowship Committee who make this happen every year,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.

The fellows will have a chance to:

  • Share experiences on ways to improve running and administering of a new or existing IXP
  • Use the business opportunity to meet potential IXP members 
  • Promote public awareness and evangelism of IXPs and peering in general at the national and regional level
  • Advance and influence national/regional policies on peering and cross-border Internet interconnection
  • Provide a face-to-face networking opportunity for peers and experts

The 2017 AfPIF Fellows are:

  • Abdulie Sowe (Gambia), Administrator, Serekunda Internet Exchange Point (SIXP)
  • Alassane G. Blaise DIAGNE (Senegal), Director General, State Information Technology Agency (ADIE)
  • Alkhansa Mohamed (Sudan), Quantum for Advance Business
  • Cedrick Adrien MBEYET (Mauritius), System Engineer, AFRINIC
  • Damnam Kanlanfei Bagolibe (Togo), TGIX
  • Emmanuel Kwarteng (Ghana), GIX
  • Frank Habicht (Tanzania), TISPA
  • Ghislain Nkeramugaba (Rwanda), RICTA/RINEX
  • Islam Abou El Ata (Morocco), CAS-IX
  • Kiemde Wênden tôe fâa (Burkina Faso), Burkina Faso Internet EXchange Point (BFIX)
  • Kyle Spencer (Uganda), Uganda Internet eXchange Point
  • Nico Tshintu Bakajika (Democratic Republic of Congo), ISPA-DRC/KINIX
  • Tumelo Mosito (Lesotho), IT operations manager, Econet Lesotho

Read more about AfPIF-2017 fellows, register for AfPIF, or view the Livestream.

Categories
Building Trust Growing the Internet

Why ALL African Internet and Data operators should be attending AfPIF-2017

Top African and international Internet companies are supporting this year’s Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), set for August 22-24 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Netflix, Facebook, Google, Akamai, DE CIX, LINX, YAHOO, Netnod and FranceIX are among the global players supporting AfPIF while Liquid Telecom, Seacom, Angola Cables, Angonix, AFRINIC, and MainOne are the leading supporters from Africa.

In the last seven years, AfPIF has established itself as the most important Internet event with respect to peering and interconnection in Africa and any operator that is looking at growing their local, regional and global interconnection is best served at AfPIF.

For who should attend please see AfPIF-2017 website.

Why should you attend AfPIF-2017?

Global CDN’s that generate at least 40% of all Internet consumer traffic in Africa will be attending AfPIF in Abidjan, which makes it the largest AfPIF by CDN ratio ever. The CDNs are: Google, Akamai, Yahoo, Netflix, Facebook amongst others.

Major European IXPs will be represented: in the last seven years of AfPIF, it has been proven that networks from emerging markets can offload at least 40% of their International transit traffic at large IXPs in Europe. Some of the major European IXPs that will be represented in Abidjan are: AMS IX, LINX, DE CIX, France IX and Netnod.

“LINX has been proud to have supported AfPIF for the last five years. Seven main cable routes from Africa land in the UK and today over 40 African networks peer at LINX. Events like AfPIF are vital in enabling us to meet with network providers in the region who are looking to connect to our exchange in London. We are delighted to be in Abidjan in Côte D’Ivoire this year to continue to establish and build on these important relationships,” said the LINX marketing team.

The technical community has committed to promoting of 80% local exchange of content by 2020. AfPIF provides a platform to advance this vision by focusing on the policy, technical and business aspects of interconnection in Africa.

African Networks will be represented: Seacom, Main One, Liquid, and Angola Cables will lead a list of Africa’s major terrestrial and submarine Cable operators that will be present and giving updates.

Africa has also witnessed growth in data center infrastructure, which has boosted the growth of local content hosting. The growth of data centers is projected to be a major driver of 80% local content hosting.

Interested in hosting in Africa? Come and interact with the teams from Teraco and iColo.io amongst others.

This year, AfPIF has the attention of optical vendors who are innovating solutions that lead to lower interconnection costs. Adva and Flexoptix teams will be on site showcase how they impact the peering and interconnection ecosystem.

During the meeting, networks present will get a chance to introduce themselves to all the attendees during the “peering personals” a precursor to the peering bilateral meetings sessions.

It starts with a handshake

We have the meeting tool that makes it possible for those attending to organize meetings with potential network representatives attending AfPIF. Studies shows that many of peering and interconnection agreements are made during peering events like AfPIF and hence the need. Remember meetings are booked in advance – you want to make sure that you secure your meeting opportunity early.

This video provides a perfect overview of why AfPIF and peering matters to networks.

Global and regional networks are here to share, meet and do business, register and secure your meeting!