A new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) has been launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Located in Lubumbashi, it is expected that the new IXP will provide faster and more reliable Internet access to people of the DRC.
The new IXP in the DRC is the work of the Internet Society, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the Internet, and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We want to help shift Africa from being Internet consumers to Internet creators and innovators. This will be realized through deliberate actions to have 80% of the Internet traffic being consumed in Africa accessible locally and only 20% sourced from outside the continent,” said Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa, Internet Society.
Better Internet for the people of the DRC
An Internet Exchange Point is an access point where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks instead of through third-party networks. Exchanging Internet traffic locally not only reduces bandwidth costs, but improves Internet experience for end-users by keeping traffic local.
“We’re excited to partner with ISOC and members of the ISP association to help launch the second Internet Exchange Point in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This new infrastructure will help improve connectivity by lowering the cost of delivering Internet services to people in the region,” said Kojo Boakye, Head of Public Policy for Africa, Facebook.
Currently, Internet traffic in Lumbumbashi, the second largest city in DRC is exchanged outside the region and in many cases, outside the country. This results in slow Internet speeds and higher access costs.
The importance of IXPs in Africa
IXPs are used to route traffic that can be kept local instead of sending that traffic to the nearest major Internet node (usually located in Europe) and back.
There are currently 45 active IXPs located in 33 countries across Africa. Many of these were established within the last decade and have grown significantly with over 1,000 networks now connected.