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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Internet: Lagos Island exchange ready soon

Remmy Nweke

Four months into its life span the Nigerian Internet Exchange Point (NIXP) Implementation Committee, has said that the Lagos Island Internet Exchange Point (LIXP), would by Friday, this week be certified ready for operations and soon to be commissioned by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

An Internet Exchange Point is a facility operated by a single entity to facilitate the exchange of Internet traffic between three or more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) according to www.internetpolicy.net.

Presently in the country, local internet traffic is exchanged outside the shores of the nation across several hops with the associated high cost of service delivery which limits internet penetration and local-content distribution.

NIXP is expected to build seven exchanges in phases beginning with main-branch at NECOM House Lagos, and additional two sites at Ikeja and Victoria Island, as contained in its reference during inauguration last April 14, by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Other branches include that of Ibadan, Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, Kano and Maiduguri which cover the six geo-political zones of the country.

The committee led by a seasoned telecom engineer, and chief executive, Amsco Telecom, Mr. Ndukwe Kalu, disclosed to our correspondent, that the first of the IXPs would be completed before the end of work on Friday, June 30, this year.

Mr. Kalu, who also is the Vice President, ISPs Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), said that the next step would be to report back to the government authorities via NCC, while work continues on other exchanges.

In addition, he said, the plans for official commissioning of the Lagos Island exchange would commence afterwards.

He explained that the core merit of the exchanges when completed nationwide are expected to reduce the cost of accessing Internet both for the operators and consumers.

He also revealed that as promised last May during a stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, NIXP has engaged an expert to manage its operational aspect in the name of Mr. Mohammed Rudman, who has been appointed the pioneer Managing Director of NIXP.

Other appointments being expected to be made public soon include the position of the sales and marketing manager as well as the finance manager which are at advanced stage now.

Equally, in the board of NIXP are the chief executive, Medallion Communications Limited, Mr. Ike Nnamani, Chief Business Development Officer at Interconnect Clearing House Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tosin Oni, Head, Content Department, Emperion West Africa, Mr. Femi Adalemo, Deputy General Manager (DGM) Internet Services at the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Mr. Olayinka T. Abiodun, Assistant Director, Licensing, NCC, Mr. Abubakar Yakubu, and Deputy Manager, Technical Research and Standards NCC, Mr. Chris Agha.

NIXP is seen as a public, private partnership between NCC and ISPAN in achieving the dream of the federal government, while Digitek TeeVee Engineering Co. Limited, manages the implementation of the first phase of the IXP project in Lagos.

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