Rwanda yesterday 10th October 2016 launched its Rwanda Internet Exchange Point and is quickly targeting to make it a regional internet exchange point. The project was financed by the African Union Commission’s Infrastructure and Energy Department through its project African Internet Exchange System or AXIS. The project cost 180,000 USD and funded by AU Commission. It becomes one of eight regional internet exchange points and 32 national internet exchange points funded by the commission. (Link to Rwanda NewTimes Article http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-11-09/205193/). On 23rd June this year, AU commission also launched the Kenya Internet Exchange point in Mombasa which also is to be a regional exchange point. As H.E. Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy puts it “In the context of celebrating 50 years, the AU Heads of State and Government agreed to develop a Continental Agenda 2063. The overall objective of Agenda 2063 is to chart Africa’s development trajectory over the next 50 years. One of the envisaged activities is putting in place an intra-African broad band terrestrial infrastructure”. The Network Resource Center by University of Oregon has a nice link of the IXP with website addresses. https://nsrc.org/ixp/Africa.html
The Africa Union also has quite well updated and comprehensive link of the project here.. http://pages.au.int/axis. The project has a best practices workshop where stakeholders come together to share ideas and best practices, as well as technical workshops, both excellent approaches in such a continent wide project as this.
Now onto the nitty gritty.
- Enabling Environment namely
a.Policy and Regulation.
b.Technology and infrastructure: Accesibility of host facility to participant networks, reliability of key utilities and availability of modern equipments are key.
c. People and community: IXPs run well if there is a sense of community amongst the participants and efforts must be made to create a community of trust. Capacity building of technical persons is equally key to this.
Others details include
- Choosing a governance and business model usually falling in the four categories: Nonprofit industry associations of ISPs, Operator-neutral commercial and for-profit companies, University and government agencies and Informal associations of networks.
University of Oregon Internet Resource center has a nice and website linked of Africa IXPs.
So what does this mean to the ordinary African?
THREE words: Faster, Cheaper, RICHER Content>Hopefully the IXPs will plug part of the puzzle needed to fix the F-C-C huge need for the growing number of Africans plugging into the internet. and… well and not exactly what we have in mind.