The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is building a new Internet exchange facility in East Africa, aiming to make it easier for networks in the region to access each other.
The exchange being built in Kenya, Africa's third-largest telecom market by investment and subscription, is a collaboration with the Kenyan Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) and builds on AMS-IX's growth in Europe.
KIXP is a facility for Kenyan Internet traffic, allowing Kenyan ISPs to exchange traffic within Kenya without having to send messages across multiple international hops to reach their destination.
SEACOM, an undersea cable company servicing Eastern and Southern Africa, will be the first reseller for AMS-IX in East Africa and will provide connectivity from the exchange to Amsterdam. As a result, it is expected that Internet companies in Africa will have the ability to peer with more than 600 IP networks at AMS-IX in Amsterdam.
AMS-IX CEO Job Witteman said East Africa is an important emerging market, led by Kenya. According to Witteman, Internet interconnection is becoming essential for the growth of the region's economy.
The new AMS-IX platform "has the potential to deliver a better Internet experience for all users in the regions serviced by SEACOM including Southern Africa, East Africa, Asia and Europe at lower costs while boosting the country's Internet economy," said SEACOM CEO Mark Simpson in a press release.
Edith Mwale, telecom analyst at Africa Center for ICT Development, said, "This initiative between AMS-IX and KIXP will have a lot of benefits even for the Southern African region in terms of Internet exchange because of the involvement of SEACOM that is providing capacity in the region. The initiative is a new revolution in the provision of Internet services in the region."
The African Union Commission has been pushing for such initiatives in Africa with the aim of improving interconnectivity between countries and reducing connectivity costs.
The initiative is also aimed at making it easier for network operators and Internet service providers (ISPs) to do business across borders.
The AU, for example, financed a project to set up Internet exchange points (IXPs) in 60 African countries. Apart from the African Union Commission, many other organizations in the region have made efforts to improve Internet exchange.
The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly has been instrumental in promoting interconnection in West Africa, while in Southern Africa, very little effort has been made in promoting interconnection or Internet exchanges.