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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AfPIF reiterates commitment on infrastructure

The second Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) ended in Accra-Ghana with participants reiterating commitment to further improve infrastructure.

The meeting which held recently with over 100 leading Internet experts of African origin pledged to improve connectivity and interconnection in the region and attract African and international content providers to set up partnerships and investments.

According to the Internet Society (ISOC) bulletin made available to ITRealms Online, the experts 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 for growth.

Head of sales, southern and western Africa, SEACOM, Mr. Willem Marais, said that 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,” he said.

Also speaking, Senior Regional Development Manager at ISOC, Michuki Mwangi, said that the forum came at the right time, adding that 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.

Further, it was gathered that participants at the two day forum deliberated on ways African Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and content generators like government agencies have been able to exchange content locally through Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), reducing cost of international transit.

Participants noted that without exchange points in place, local African content is often routed through Europe and the United Stated, just to return back to users on the continent.

This, they said, not only makes connections costly and latencies high, but also negatively impacts the business case for local content hosting in Africa. The pointed out that AfPIF enables ISPs, content providers, governments and education networks to explore interconnection and peering opportunities in the region, even as the forum further offers opportunities to exchange ideas and learn more about the global trends on interconnection. ITRealms Online gathered that industry, government, university, and development experts from 27 countries attended the AfPIF-2 meeting.

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