Thursday, March 28, 2019

AXIS: Nigeria beckons on AU countries for Connected Africa - ITREALMS

Nigeria and the African Union have canvassed for improved connected continent with the conclusion of the sub-regional Exchange Point evaluation for the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), reports ITREALMS.

Recall that IXPN had in 2016 responded to the Expression of Interest call by the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) Project, a scheme of the African Union Commission (AUC), and was awarded for the West African Exchange Point (WAXP) for the sub-region.

Speaking in Lagos at the end of technical evaluation, both the AXIS Project Manager, Mr. Moses Bayingana, and chief executive officer, IXPN, Mr. Muhammed Rudman foresee a one-connected Africa and beckoned on AU countries to join forces with the sub-regional exchange points to make it a reality.

For Mr. Bayingana, the establishment of subregional IXPs across the continent is in fulfilment of some of the objectives of the AUC and AXIS to ensure the deepening of internet penetration on the continent.

“Our drive at the Africa Union Commission is to promote digital content and entrepreneurship, unity and solidarity among African countries, coordinate and intensify cooperation for development, promote international cooperation among other things,” he said.

Bayingana stressed that the essence of AUC supports for subregional exchange point like IXPN is to have a robust infrastructure that will keep Africa’s internet traffic local, providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of Internet Exchange Points across the continent and eventually a strong regional Internet Exchange Point in Africa.

On his part, Mr. Rudman of IXPN, said that with the new status as the West Africa subregional Internet Exchange Point, IXPN is poised for achieving a connected Africa, where the Internet will be exchanged locally.

This, he also said IXPN will allow networks to interconnect directly within the five sub-regions that make up the continent and for local traffics to remain local within the entire region.

Rudman noted that localising the Internet within the African continent will improve quality of service as traffics will no longer travel abroad as was the case, and enjoined African countries especially in the West Africa sub-region to embrace this concept of AXIS for a better and improved connectivity for the continent.

According to him, based on a grant Nigeria’s IXPN won from AXIS it is now positioned to champion a more subregional connectivity drive that will ultimately lead to a One-Connected Africa.

“We are excited with the current status of IXPN as a sub-regional IXP for the entire West Africa. This has made us a hub for the sub-region and will help not only to localize internet traffic within the sub-region, but increase latency at a reduced cost,” he said.

Also, he said in consonance with its new status, it has upgraded its infrastructure to ensure a more resilient operation in the function of connecting all other Internet Exchange Points in the sub-region and to accentuate its capacity to handle the requisite traffics.

ITREALMS recollects that AXIS followed adoption of the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE) framework at the Second Ordinary Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers in-charge of Communication and Information Technologies (CITMC) which requested the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to mobilize resources to accelerate the implementation of the selected ARAPKE flagship projects.

The African Union Executive Council Decision EX.CL/434 (XIII) further endorsed the eleven (11) flagship projects of the African Regional Action Plan on Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE); one of these projects is the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS).

AXIS aims to keep Africa’s internet traffic local by providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of Internet Exchange Points and sub-regional Internet Exchange Points in Africa.

Although founded in 2006, the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) currently has Points-of-Presence (POP) in Lagos and four outside Lagos across five geo-political zones of Nigeria. IXPN currently has over 50 networks connected on its platform with all the GSM operators, Internet Service Providers, Content Providers (such as Google) and the National Research and Educational Networks (NREN) already exchanging huge traffics.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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