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Local African content sharply climbs high on the African Internet networks


Cheaper internet connection -TechSling

Liquid Telecom has reported more than double increase in local African content on African Internet networks in August 2015. Africa’s leading independent Internet Service Provider unveiled a sharp climb in the proportion of local content on its network in Maputo, Mozambique today.
The increase grew from 20 per cent to 50 per cent now in only three years. The significant growth is driven by deepening of Africa’s internet infrastructure saving providers and Internet users now millions of dollars a year. It has importantly reduced the costs of fetching data from outside of African continent.
Mathew Chigwende, Head of Data Networks at Liquid Telecom has reported three factors when presenting to AfPIF, the African Peering and Interconnection Conference run by the Internet Society, in Maputo. He said first the ongoing climb in the number of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) serving the continent. Secondly the expansion of CDN Content Delivery Networks in Africa, and lastly the interconnection between telcos and ISPs were together seeing the proportion of data being uploaded to, or fetched from, outside Africa has gone down by 10 percentile points a year.
“We’re now confident we shall reach the Internet Society’s target of 80 per cent local content on Africa’s Internet infrastructure by 2020,” he said.
Liquid Telecom is actively peering at 15 IXPs, up from 13 last year and 8 in 2013 now officially ranked by Renesys/Dyn to be the most peered African operator. Liquid telecom also enjoys being the only African operator in the top 100 global peering rankings.
Liquid Telecom hosts one of Africa’s largest IXPs. That is the Kenya Internet Exchange Point. Its carrier-neutral Tier 3 East Africa Data Centre in Nairobi is actively involved as the main supplier of Internet infrastructure to many parts of the continent’s telcos and ISPs.
 To develop interconnections between different providers and between the IXPs a technical process called ‘peering’ is used. Peering through IXPs means local ISPs connect and exchange data themselves. Paying to a third party to retransmit their traffic to a local destination is removed reducing the cost of supplying internet. By removing need to transmit data using slower external paths gives the network operators greater control over traffic flows and speeds.
“By keeping African data in Africa we continue to help reduce the costs of Internet access across the continent, and improve the performance of that Internet to African Internet users,” said Ben Roberts, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya and Chief Technical Officer of the Liquid Telecom Group.
The shift to local peering has delivered a dramatic reduction in Internet costs. It has seen it reducing from almost $3 500 to $200 per 64 kbit/s circuit. This is according to the Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK).It is opening up multiple new options in cheaper broadband and cheaper data bundles.
African wire-African Renewal Magazine
Local traffic was often exchanged internationally till recently, leaving Africa for an international exchange onto the right pathway. Then returning to the continent again and Peering has decreased Internet latencies measured as the milliseconds (ms).
It takes milliseconds (ms for data to travel from a desktop to servers. In the Africa continent, these ‘round trip delays’ were running at 200ms to 600ms before the shift to peering. Now it has dropped below 2ms to 10ms.
 The lower latencies have enhanced speeds for users. This further drives the growth of local traffic with many local users now moving to stream video and audio content.
“The next bases for all of us, in this Internet Society, are encouraging the creators of content to host their websites locally, and achieving better Intellectual Property protection on local content, so that the move to streaming comes with revenue models that encourage content producers to put their content online,” said Roberts.   
“It is our belief that the faster we can go in keeping African data in Africa, the greater will be the uptake and benefits from the Internet for African development,” he added. 
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