With the aid of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Nigeria is said to have saved about $40 million (N15.2 billion) in the localisation of Internet traffic, which would have gone abroad. The N15 billion savings, as explained by the Internet Society (ISOC), was achieved when the IXPN grew from carrying just 300 Megabits per second (Mbps) to peak traffic of 125 Gbps in 2020.
According to ISOC in its study, titled: “Anchoring the African Internet Ecosystem: Lessons from Kenya and Nigeria’s Internet Exchange Points Growth”, IXPN achieved a milestone in its efforts to ensure that Internet services providers in the country exchanged their traffic locally by exchanging 125 Gbps traffic in 2020.
The latest report was an update on a study published by the ISOC in 2012, which examined two of Africa’s more advanced IXPs at the time – KIXP in Kenya, and IXPN in Nigeria. The growth recorded by IXPN, according to the report has put Nigeria in a better position than ever before to cope with and contribute to the digital revolution that COVID-19 has accelerated, with Internet becoming a lifeline for many people.
Senior Director, Internet Technology and Development for the Internet Society, Michuki Mwangi, said: “It’s clear Africa is ready to embrace the digital revolution to spur economic development. But reaching this goal will depend on our community of passionate people on the ground, policymakers, regulators and businesses embracing IXPs and working in collaboration to create these essential local traffic anchors,”
The report commended Nigerian government for not only making it easier for different service providers to develop sub-marine cables, but also adopted data protection regulations that spurred confidence and attracted international service providers. Analysing the report with The Guardian, the Chief Executive Officer, IXPN, Muhammed Rudman, said the report is a testament to the good happenings in Africa, especially in Nigeria, as it captured the country’s growth and the impact made in the last eight years.
“The over 400 fold in growth of local traffic is significant, which translates to about 70 per cent traffic for most of the service providers connected to IXPN. We hope to sustain this trajectory and to provide similar services to other regions within the country,” he stated. Rudman further said the feat was achieved because the IXP was able to attract content providers, especially the big players such as Google, and Facebook. He said the establishment of more data centres in Nigeria also aided the growth.
According to him, the realization that Nigerian companies needed to host their data locally, which hitherto they routed abroad also contributed significantly. He added that the fibre link interconnection, which ensured the connection of all the exchanges in the country also made things easier. “A lot of Nigerians are now hosting their servers locally, and we have attracted some of the big players in Internet content into the country, such as Google, Facebook and Alkamire, and presently we are trying to bring other bigger ones to the country,” he stated.
He urged smaller Internet service providers (ISPs) to connect to the IXPN in order to widely peer with other members and increase the efficiency of their interconnections, disclosing that IXPN covers eight Point of Presence (POP) across Nigeria. To improve on the growth, the IXPN CEO, appealed to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to ensure the compliance with the Local Content Guidelines; ensure that all government’s websites, and emails are hosted in Nigeria.
Rudman said educational institutions should also be encouraged to host in some of the data centres in the country. IXPN Point of Presence (POP) in Nigeria includes four in Lagos and one each in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano. The Lagos POP connects both to each other and to the POP in the other four cities in an effort to extend connectivity to the unserved and underserved,” he said.
IXPN in 2015 emerged as a regional exchange for West Africa with the support of the African Union Commission; which is aimed at reducing the latency and save costs by eliminating international transit through overseas carriers.