Peering boosting sub-Saharan business
According to NAPAfrica, an African internet exchange (IXP) provider, the digital divide still exists and new, innovative approaches such as peering should be better utilised if Africa is to ever have full access to critical information.
While growth is evident, NAPAfrica said that the African continent has yet to fully realise the benefits of peering. Peering, basically is the exchange of data directly between Internet service providers, rather than via the Internet. NAPAfrica is currently talking to several carriers throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Lex van Wyk, Teraco CEO said that its sub-Saharan business has shown impressive growth, stating “there is significant proof that peering is not only fundamental, but also an essential part of any network landscape, particularly across borders.”
Added Paratus Telecom’s Samantha Geyser “Paratus saves 200mb per month on international bandwidth by peering with NAPAfrica, “This has saved us on the high cost of bandwidth in Namibia, and we also have access to content from Google and Akamai as a result. This access is a huge advantage for Paratus Telecom.”
Asif Kassam, Technical Director, Skyband, in Malawi said that the ISP has reduced its relatively high IP transit in Africa: “By peering at NAPAfrica in Johannesburg, Skyband has been able to provide low latency connectivity to DNS, several large CDNs as well as a range of South African and African content to our customers. With multiple diverse paths between Malawi and Johannesburg, the additional performance improvement due to reduced latency has also seen an accelerated growth in its recently deployed 4G WiMAX network.
Said Van Wyk, “the Internet broadband take-up and digital constraints are not new, but it remains a critical issue for Africa. Solutions must address access, content and economical issues. While it may not solve the issue, NAPAfrica does believe that a progressive Internet environment and concepts such as peering, could close the gap significantly.”