Great news for South African Internet users

NAPAfrica, the non-profit Internet Exchange Point (IXP) funded by Teraco, has continued to see year-on-year growth in terms of peers.

Internet exchanges are services hosted inside data centres which allow networks to interconnect. These exchanges facilitate the connection of users to content, businesses, and other people around the world – and the amount of content peered at NAPAfrica significantly lowers the cost of data transport.

The exchange is independent and service-agnostic, removing any potential conflict of interest and making it ideal for connecting to international content.

MyBroadband spoke to Teraco about the Internet exchange’s continued growth and the investment from international clients in Africa’s Internet community.

Continued investment

Teraco head of interconnection and peering Michele McCann said keeping Internet traffic within the continent is great news for South Africans.

“We are seeing a community drive start to emerge where the strategy is focused on keeping as much African Internet traffic in Africa, as opposed to routing to Europe and back,” McCann said.

“This is great news for our community and therefore NAPAfrica will continue to invest in projects we call ‘For the good of the Internet’, which are focused around improving Internet quality for Africa, projects, and donations.”

“Thus far, these include various organisations such as MyBroadband’s Speed Test services, PCH, RIPE NCC RIS Project, Verisign, DNS Services, and more,” she added.

This increased investment in Africa from international companies will allow for greater access to content and new opportunities for local Internet users.

“Content investment into Africa will definitely continue as Internet access becomes more accessible for African users,” McCann said.

“African content is also becoming a reality and working together with the large international companies will drive new and exciting content to NAPAfrica and its community.”

NAPAfrica growth

McCann said South African has also seen a dramatic increase in its peering landscape over the last 10 years.

“As NAPAfrica, we have seen the exchange grow to its current 370 members – servicing not only South Africa, but 15 other African countries,” McCann said.

“A number of factors have driven this growth including deregulation of the South African telco market, launch of neutral colocation facilities, extensive investment in sub-sea cable systems, extensive career choice, and availability.”

Before this increased growth in peering, South Africans relied on sourcing content from Europe, adding large costs and high latencies which caused applications to suffer.

The amount of traffic passing through the NAPAfrica exchange is peaking at just below 640Gbps on a daily basis, with the vast majority coming from the Johannesburg exchange.

Looking forward, McCann said that 2019 will be the year South Africa finally sees hyperscale cloud investment.

“This is key for NAPAfrica, as not only do we focus on supporting the carrier and content community, but we are now embarking on a new peering era where enterprises are now joining the peering community too,” she said.

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Great news for South African Internet users