AfPIF 2018 Day Three: Cloud Infrastructure, Local Content, and More

The growth of cloud infrastructure in Africa has been credited with the growth of local content in many regions, and it holds the key for Africa’s ability to attract content carriers and distribution networks.

The first panel of day three at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) was dedicated to discussing the current scenario of cloud infrastructure and what it will take to grow the sector further, get the market interested, and eventually grow the level of content hosted locally.

South Africa has the most extensive cloud market, compared to other African countries, and it took concerted efforts from the different players, under the ISP Association, for the market to be deregulated and the laws to be put in place. The laws can take time, but industry players agree the laws are vital to investments in the market.

Although the industry may be small in Africa, cybersecurity is key, as businesses are susceptible to cybercrime, just like other global operators. That means the enactment of cyber security laws in the different countries, and continued training and awareness by industry players.

Power and cooling is another vital part, with many countries enjoying monopoly of power distribution. Liquid Telecom said it has had extensive discussions with the power company in South Africa as it seeks to set up carrier-neutral data centers in South Africa, similar to East Africa Data Centers in Kenya. This will be a different company operating the data centers, just like EADC is separate from Liquid in Kenya.

In discussions with the power companies, Liquid challenges them to evaluate the importance of power stability and availability as a determining factor for international companies determining whether to set up data centers in a particular country or not.

Pricing is key for the market, for enterprises to shift from hosting abroad to local the cost must make sense. If the cost is the same when hosting locally, compared to U.S. or European companies, companies will make the right decisions. The pricing also has to be accompanied by stable power and cooling, well-trained engineers and overall security and privacy.

The debate of Over The Top (OTT) services has gained momentum in Africa for the last two years, as disruptive services like WhatsApp, Uber, AirBnB, and Netflix among others have entered the markets.

The debate is on whether these services should be taxed or not, whether they should be licensed like traditional services or not, and whether governments and ICT industry operators should go back to the drawing board and come up with a new way of operating that doesn’t kill the existing market while at the same time promoting innovation.

A study by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Union found that OTT services had led to a rise in bandwidth usage and growth in infrastructure, with operators expanding 3G and 4G coverage to meet the growing demand.

The majority of African governments are grappling with how to handle Internet services, as online advertising revenues continue growing compared to traditional advertising. Most of them are looking for ways to get new tax revenue sources and at the same time grow the economy.

The research was presented at the 5th council of African regulators in Lome, Togo in July this year, and is expected to form the basis of conversations with the government, network operators, OTTs, and the public.

AfPIF 2019 will be in Mauritius, voted the best place for doing business and most competitive economy in Africa by the World Economic Forum’s Annual Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.

AfPIF 2018 Day Two: Connecting Cape Town to Cairo

Africa’s dream of Cape Town to Cairo fiber connectivity has moved closer, with Liquid Telecom announcing that it has made considerable progress is signing agreements with regulatory authorities and partners within the route.

Liquid Telecom has an ambitious plan of reducing latencies in connectivity between Cape Town and Cairo. Currently, traffic is routed through Europe, with latencies of 209ms, and it will be reduced to 97ms.

In his keynote speech at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), Ben Roberts, Liquid CTO, said that the project will be implemented through existing Liquid infrastructure within different countries, partnership with existing infrastructure providers, and regulators. The project is expected to be done by 2020 and to eventually connect East and West Africa.

Liquid is expecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, signed and ratified recently, to drive city-to-city interconnectivity, as more countries look for ways to trade with each other and eventually exchange Internet traffic. The goal to increase intra-Africa broadband traffic.

Roberts projects the infrastructure currently being set up will be highly used by the youth, who have grown up online – through education, social media, and gaming applications. The Internet of Things is expected to grow; currently most of IoT deployments are in South Africa, but it is expected to grow in areas such as health, agriculture, smart cities, transport, and logistics.

Cloud infrastructure, combined with IoT is expected to drive utilities, water, sewerage, health, agriculture, smart cities, transport, and financial services.

Growth in data centers and cloud infrastructure has been key to growth in content and fall in connectivity costs. Most content carriers and distributors depend on the data center growth to determine whether to enter the market or not.

Michele McCann from Teraco presented about the growth of their data center space, highlighting the factors they consider before deciding whether to enter a market. Teraco currently has more that 350 AS numbers represented at their facilities and they are growing every month.

Teraco started with networks building structured cabling between each other and peering, cloud services were built and as power and cooling became more reliable, content providers and distributors, financial, and enterprise markets set up services. One of the smaller South African banks was able to gain significant market ground as it focused on its online strategy instead of the traditional brick and mortar approach.

What trends will drive data center growth? Moving content closer to users is driving CDNs to move into Africa, accelerated migration to the cloud as companies look to reduce capital expenditure, lower connectivity costs, growth in online services, and availability of peering.

Availability of statistics has improved over the years, with Telegeography presenting its data on Africa’s traffic trends and pricing. This year, Africa’s Internet grew by 45% while in Sub Saharan Africa, it grew by 40%, compared to 72% last year.

Telegeography measures international traffic, so if there was an increase in local traffic, it is not likely to reflect on the Telegeography statistics. The goal of AfPIF is for local traffic to be exchanged locally, however, 82% of capacity from Africa is still going through Europe.

It is projected that as latencies fall, more CDNs will be attracted to Africa and in areas like Latin America. CDNs have ended up investing in four submarine cables, as they seek to lower connectivity costs and reach more users.

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

AfPIF 2018 Kicks Off

The ninth edition of Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) kicked off today, with more than 400 tech executive in attendance.

This year, the forum was organized and held jointly with iWeek- South Africa ISP Association’s premier tech event. The event is underway at the Cape Town International Convention Center.

This year’s event is dubbed AfPIF@iWeek has attracted tech executives, chief technology officers, peering coordinators and business development managers, Internet service providers and operators, telecommunications policymakers and regulators, content providers, Internet Exchange Point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, data center managers, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), carriers, and transit providers.

The sessions started with an introduction by Nishal Goburdhan, a veteran of AfPIF, who traced the history of AfPIF, from its conception to the community event it is. The community took over the program three years ago, determining the speakers and the conference content.

How can you take advantage of AfPIF? Nishal suggested that the participants use peering personals sessions; this is like speed dating for networks – members give details of their AS numbers, where they peer, peering policy, contact information, and explain why other participants should peer with them. At the end of every session, participants get a chance to introduce themselves.

The meeting tool allows participants to book meetings with other people and there are long breaks in the schedule, meant to facilitate the meetings. There are six half-hour breaks and 90-minute lunch sessions to allow continuation of discussions.

For the last nine years, it has been clear that most peering agreements are done through a handshake and social sessions. The sessions are meant to facilitate these kind of discussions.

How to start an IXP and how to grow an existing one are probably the major questions for Africa’s tech community. Solène Souquet, from Asteroid International, made a presentation on “the big case for a small IXP,” noting that one doesn’t need a big budget to set up an IXP.

The most important part is a vibrant local community, a gigabit infrastructure that is scalable, 20 or 30 customer ports, website, route server, central location with good connectivity options, and a content carrier as among the peers.

Netflix is one of the major global content carriers and has recently established POPs in Africa and is planning to grow. During the peering and transit tutorial, Netflix explained the different consideration in traffic routing. When accessing Netflix, traffic is routed to the closest server, which facilitates faster response time.

One of the major issues that ISPs have with Netflix is blocking of IPs that are found to have flouted the rules, especially using VPNs to access the content. Netflix says that content is geographically licensed and they provide it depending on what the region prefers to watch. In cases of blockage, Netflix encourages ISPs to reach out and resolve the matter with their teams.

The last session was on inter-city traffic latencies, and it shows that the latencies are falling, as the region continues to interconnect more-and-more cities. The study showed that the median latencies are at 250ms.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Cape Town and AFRINIC. It used Ookla and speedcheker to measure the latencies, 723 probes in 100 cities, 43 countries, and 271 servers.

Northern has lowest city-to-city median delay compared to other regions. Kigali was noted to have high latencies but the team couldn’t explain, but promised to continue investigating.

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

Welcome to AfPIF and iWeek 2018!

A comprehensive view of Africa’s Internet peering and interconnection ecosystem from the region’s top networks and experts, opportunities to strengthen and build new peering relationships with over 300 attendees using an open to all “bilateral meeting” scheduling tool, insightful presentations, studies and reports delivered by a strong lineup of speakers, and a technical village are some of the interesting activities that participants to iWeek/AfPIF 2018 can expect.

The sessions have been spiced up to include a technical village, with vendors offering masterclasses, a super teachers award honoring Africa’s tech teachers, and a beers for peers session, to allow participants to network more.

“This year’s agenda reflects the growing interests from our rapidly evolving regional industry with an increased focus on regional networks, carrier-neutral data centers, cloud services, and regulation in addition to our traditional line-up of quality technical content,” said Kyle Spencer, Co-Coordinator of the African IXP Association.

This year, the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) joined hands with the South Africa ISP Association to hold sessions during iWeek. This provides extensive training sessions and opportunities for participants.

“Participants will have opportunities to meet with industry leaders to discuss one on one or in groups the various issues around both networking and content in Africa. Bilaterals are always great to discuss one on one about peering,” said Malcom Siegel, Chairperson, ISP Association in South Africa.

In the last eight years, AfPIF has established itself as the place to be for techies, regulators, and businesses engaging in the rapidly-developing Internet ecosystem. For new entrants into Africa, AfPIF has been a good place to meet major players and engage in bilateral negotiations, which have resulted in increased interconnectivity within the region.

“We have a particularly strong line-up of speakers this year including representatives from Africa and beyond, including Liquid Telecom, Teraco, Amazon, Facebook, Cloudflare, Netflix, TeleGeography, Hurricane Electric, Internet Solutions, and Asteroid, among others,” added Spencer, who is also the Executive Director of the Uganda Internet Exchange Point.

Teaching has been a major component and this year it will not be any different; participants can expect to gain more knowledge and take advantage of the wealth of experience among other participants.

“We have a technical village with vendors who will be giving masterclasses; we also have a training program designed with Africa in mind and will give delegates short 45-50 minute sessions on topics relevant to peering and content delivery,” said Siegel.

Regional interconnection is still a major issue; the continent is striving to interconnect more, and Spencer sees an opportunity to discuss the explosive growth seen in South Africa and how it is impacting growth in the rest of the continent.

After the conference, the organizers encourage participants to experience life in Cape Town and South Africa, if possible.

“Cape Town, South Africa is easily one of the world’s most beautiful, entertaining, and affordable tourist destinations; it has a stunning mountainous coastline; an unusually high density of excellent bars and restaurants; and is immediately adjacent to one of the world’s finest wine-growing regions. Our AfPIF social events and gala dinner will reflect this, of course, but I strongly encourage everyone to stay the following weekend in order to experience all that the area has to offer,” concluded Spencer.

Have a great week ahead!!

Watch the Livestream of AfPIF 2018!

PAIX Data Centers is looking to grow Africa’s DC Market

Pan African Internet Exchange (PAIX) is looking to grow Africa’s Data Center and carrier neutral facilities in the region, to match some of Europe’s biggest providers.

In February this year, PAIX completed its first major investment, West Africa Data Centres Ltd (WADC), Ghana. Just three months later, PAIX announced that it agreed terms with NSIA Technologies to jointly develop and operate carrier neutral data centres under the PAIX brand in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar, Senegal.

“We at PAIX are investing to address this opportunity, and as this is a very large continent, we cannot do this alone, so we are partnering with companies with a vested interest in the development of the African market,” says CEO Wouter van Hulten.

According to a report by the Broad Group that assessed 16 markets, Africa has 74 players with 91 data centers and total power availability estimated at 90.8MW.

“Data Centers are a relatively new feature of the ICT ecosystem across the African continent. As infrastructure slowly continues to develop, new facilities offering third party hosting and IT outsourcing are evolving,” said Wouter.

Broadband in Africa is booming – the region is consistently recording the highest broadband growth rates in the world and expected to continue doing so, albeit off a small starting base.

Africa’s population is young and hungry for knowledge and information (data) and will consume all that can be given at an economic price. Investment in fibre, sub-marine cables, 4G and satellites are all happening. But hardly any investment is happening in data centres, particularly in independent (carrier and vendor neutral), internet exchange focused data centres.

PAIX Data Centres has set out to meet this demand.  As a Pan-African provider of cloud and carrier neutral colocation data centre services, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, it aims to offer a leading global quality service level to its national and international customer base across the African continent.

“A carrier neutral facility presents a revenue opportunity for businesses because of the possibility to interconnection with business partners, and form communities of interest.  As regulatory environments and governance develops, the markets enjoy lower cost of bandwidth, allowing accelerated social and economic growth.”

PAIX is a silver sponsor at this year’s AfPIF2018@iWeek which is being held in Cape Town, South Africa. “We are looking forward to this year’s event, where we will meet network operators, CDNs and decision makers looking for expansion and better data centers options. We invite those considering data centre expansion in Africa to discuss with us, please contact al.scott@paix.io.”

Demand for World Cup Streaming Exposes lack of Local Content

If there is one thing we picked from the 2018 World Cup in Russia is that video streaming of entertainment content in developing countries is approaching mainstream.

As Internet penetration continues to skyrocket and the price of Internet enabled devices and data reduces, more people in developing countries today are live-streaming their entertainment demands.

This has been evidenced by the growing popularity of video streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Showmax among young people in developing countries.

These platforms appeal especially to young people because of their vast repositories that offer content from across the globe at a few keystrokes. Netflix users alone collectively watch over 1 billion hours of content each week while it would take over 60,000 years to watch everything on YouTube.

These stats were demonstrated during the just concluded World Cup where millions of people across the world plugged in to catch up with the exhilarating action from 64 matches across stadiums in Russia.

Analysis by Internet traffic monitoring site Akamai indicate that it took just ten days to surpass the previous video streaming record set at the 2014 World Cup. By the end of the group stage, Akamai had streamed 65% more data from start to finish than it did in Brazil four years earlier.

Akamai reported the highest number of concurrent streams peaking at 9.7 million during the Mexico v/s Sweden match at the same time as South Korea lined up against Germany on 27 June.

This, compared to the 5 million viewing peak for the entire 2014 World Cup matches indicates an unprecedented rise in the number of online viewers from developing countries. The peak bandwidth for streaming in the first round in Russia was 23.8 Tbps, compared with 6.99 Tbps during Brazil’s World Cup.

Kwese and Kwese iflix, one of the continent’s fastest growing streaming services, has developed video streaming partnerships with mobile network operators across Africa (during the world cup season) and according to Mr. Ben Roberts, CTO of Liquid Telecom, the number of number of video streaming customers has risen as a result.

Telecommunications service provider Liquid Group provides host infrastructure for Kwese and Kwese iflix and Mr. Roberts noted that “Streaming is steadily growing, getting more and more each day”.  “The most popular was the Nigeria vs Argentina (not surprising), but also Germany and Brazil’s last game of the first stage exceeded previous games.”

However Mr. Roberts states streaming among African users has been heavier on matters that touch closer home.

“It’s not the biggest ‘internet event’ in Africa we have seen this year, with the traffic around the coup in Zimbabwe and subsequent resignation of Robert Mugabe being something that turned up the traffic on all channels and links across Africa to a very noticeable degree,” he said.

This means while African consumers demand and are ready to spend on video streaming, the lack of local content is a gap that provides opportunities for developers and creators.

More than 90 percent of African Internet content is hosted outside the continent and this means server request from the continent take much longer because they have to go through exchange points in Europe or North America. Currently more than 57 percent of Kenya’s web content is hosted in North America and 25 per cent in Europe with just 10 per cent in Africa according to data from Alexa.

This implies a longer turnaround for connectivity requests at the same time and slower download speeds.

Some streaming service providers have tried to create local hosting sites. Early last year ShowMax signed a partnership with SEACOM to have its servers hosted in Nairobi to better serve its East African audiences.

This is however only a stopgap measure because the content available to users is still largely North American and European. African content creators need to rise up to the challenge of providing the entertainment needs of a hungry, tech savvy and discerning population.

Read or download our report –  Promoting Content In Africa

SEACOM – Sponsors of AfPIF since 2012

By Mark Tinka, Head of Engineering – SEACOM

The 9th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) will take place from 21 to 23 August 2018 in Cape Town. SEACOM has been a platinum sponsor since 2012, supporting the event with Internet connectivity, and is looking forward to playing this role again. The SEACOM team welcomes the opportunity to learn and develop, and to interact with like-minded individuals all working toward a greater goal. The AfPIF event allows us a space to do just that. It addresses the key interconnection, peering, and traffic exchange opportunities and challenges that our continent faces. This, in turn, provides attendees with both global and regional insights that will help grow Internet infrastructure and services in Africa.

SEACOM launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009, bringing with it a vast supply of high quality and affordable Internet bandwidth.  In 2011, SEACOM began offering IP/MPLS services to customers within and outside Africa. Since then, the business has grown significantly in key markets around Africa and Europe.

Today, SEACOM is the number one African-based service provider in the IP Transit market, both in terms of status and growth rate, as documented by Dyn, an Internet performance management company. This reflects the investment and effort the business has put into developing its IP/MPLS network, as well as the effective, affordable delivery of related services to its customers.

In addition, SEACOM has launched a connectivity services offering to the Enterprise Market in South Africa and Kenya – with a growth rate that has far surpassed the original targets  set for the business in 2015.  The SEACOM team has found that there is  a great deal of pent-up demand in the business market for high-speed fibre Internet access at an affordable cost.  SEACOM already has more than 170 channel partners serving its chosen markets, and are adding more than 100 direct customers on a monthly basis.

The services which SEACOM provides are what makes SEACOM’s sponsorship of the AfPIF so significant. The objectives of the forum align with those of the company – affordable, reliable, fast connectivity that can launch Africa into a new phase of economic development. Through this annual event, SEACOM is able to demonstrate its commitment to technical capacity building in less-developed regions, show its support for extending participation in the IETF to developing countries, and build contacts with technologists and regional leaders who share SEACOM’s passion for improved connectivity in the region. SEACOM looks forward to the potential of this year’s forum in transforming underserved African markets, and the future growth opportunities it may bring.

Workonline Invites You To WomenTechConnect Lunch

Workonline Communications, one of Africa’s leading IP transit providers, is launching WomenTechConnect at a networking lunch at AfPIF this year, alongside co-sponsors, LINX the London Internet Exchange.

Workonline Communications initiated the programme – WomenTechConnect – to promote positive change for women in the ICT workplace.

The event will be held at AfPIF, on 21 August in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the official agenda on day one.  The lunch will bring together Africa’s women working in peering environments, network engineering, and with content distribution networks, among other sectors.

There will be a panel of experienced women who will share their experiences led by Marijana Novakovic, Staff Network Engineer at LinkedIn in San Francisco. The panel will include Workonline’s Senior Network Engineer, Michelle Opiyo from Nairobi, Kenya; and Florence Lavoff, Manager: Interconnections Relations, Peering and Content Distribution Network at Google in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

WomenTechConnect aims to build a community of collaboration and support for women in tech focused on three key areas:

  • Creating channels and support for dealing with inappropriate behaviour
  • Attracting and retaining more women in technology
  • Creating a networking and support group

There are incredible women involved in all aspects of the Internet. As a community, its possible to inspire each other and to lead and grow the Internet community to achieve even greater things.

The forum aims to create a platform for women to share experiences, achievements and best practices with one another. Invited speakers have will share their insights on how they have been able to overcome workplace challenges and find allies and inspiration to achieve their best work.

To register for the event, please contact AfPIF or email heathert@workonline.co.za. Please note that seats are limited and are offered on a first come first served basis.

Workonline Communications

Workonline provides IP transit services, wholesale Ethernet and VPN services, remote peering services to the major IXs (in Africa, Europe and Asia), as well as colocation services in Africa.  It is a staunch supporter of women-owned businesses across the African continent and has focused initiatives on building and developing communities, as part of its mantra: connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa.

London Internet Exchange (LINX)

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is a mutually owned membership association for operators of Internet Protocol networks. They provide a neutral interconnection facility and peering platform, known as an Internet Exchange Point (IXP), and represent the interests of their members on matters of public policy.  LINX is one of the largest Internet exchanges in the world, connecting over 820 member ASNs from over 80 countries around the globe. LINX are located in 12 PoPs across the capital along with regional exchanges in Wales, Manchester and Scotland. LINX also operates an Internet exchange in the Ashburn metro area in the US just outside Washington DC, LINX NoVA. For more information, please visit www.linx.net or email marketing@linx.net

South Africa’s ISPA: A leading advocate for the African web

News that the Internet Society and African IXP Association (AFIX) are set to hold the 9th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) during iWeek in Cape Town in August has seen increased interest in South Africa’s leading Internet industry conference and its founder, ISPA.

ISPA (the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa) has emerged as a leading advocate for South African and African Internet industry liberalisation. In fact, it was out of a desire to level the monopolised local telecommunications playing field of the 1990s that ISPA was formed.

On 6 June 1996, nine South African pioneering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) got together and decided the formation of ISPA was critical if the country’s underperforming telecoms sector was to flourish. Barriers to competition had to be broken down with urgency and ISPA was the vehicle to do it. Telkom, the state-controlled ICT entity, enjoyed a monopoly over key telecoms services and this was threatening to undo many of the early gains realised during South Africa’s transition to democracy.

Things moved along swiftly following the Association’s formation. ISPA helped influence and shape telecommunications policy in SA and launched competition complaints against Telkom which have redefined the competitive landscape for communications in South Africa. In total, during the last two decades, ISPA has weathered three regulatory authorities, eight telecommunications ministers and three major overhauls of the legislative framework governing communications services.

However, ISPA’s most important Internet advocacy activities have not been limited to the regulatory and legislative spheres. Its founding year of 1996 saw ISPA members establish the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX), an African first and the forerunner of the many INXes that exist today in SA and on the continent. Today JINX (Johannesburg Internet Exchange), CINX (Cape Town Internet Exchange) and DINX (Durban Internet Exchange) offer multisite peering opportunities helping to keep South African internet traffic local and thereby reducing the costs to communicate.

The year 2000 saw the launch of ISPA’s Teachers’ Training program that will again feature during 2018’s iWeek. This initiative was launched to provide computer and Internet literacy to South African teachers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The very first iWeek was hosted in 2001 by ISPA and UniForum SA (today, ZACR) and ISPA formally looked to the continent for the first time by becoming a founder member of AfrISPA that same year.

As the Internet industry has matured, ISPA has increasingly played a role in ensuring that consumers receive reliable and reputable services from members. Its Code of Conduct plays a leading role in this regard. The iWeek conference that ISPA has co-hosted annually since 2001 is another primary example of ISPA activities going beyond the original mandate of the Association in pursuit of the greater good of the SA and African ICT sector.

ISPA is always on the lookout for ways to enhance its effectiveness. In 2009, ISPA was officially recognised as an Industry Representative Body (IRB) by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

In June 2016, ISPA transitioned from a voluntary association to an incorporated Non-Profit Company, with a Board of Directors elected directly by ISPA’s members. Today, ISPA membership is open to any organisation providing Internet access or related services in South Africa. While the majority of ISPA’s members are commercial operators, membership is open to non-profit organisations, and ISPA counts universities, schools’ networks, parastatals and wireless user groups amongst its members.

Internet Society and African IXP Association Partner with South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association for AfPIF at iWeek

Johannesburg, South Africa -5 March 2018 – The Internet Society and African IXP Association (AFIX) have announced that they will hold the 9th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA). The conference will be held from 21-23 of August 2018 in conjunction with iWeek, South Africa’s leading Internet industry conference, which will run from 20-24 August 2018.

AfPIF is an annual event that serves as a platform to expand and develop the African Internet. It connects infrastructure, service, and content providers with policymakers in order to identify and discuss ways to improve network interconnection, lower the cost of connectivity, and increase the number of users in the region. Over 200 participants attended last year’s AfPIF in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire including providers of international, regional, and sub-regional transport, transit, and content as well as more than 20 IXPs from Africa and beyond.

This year’s event will be hosted in South Africa; home to the oldest Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Africa, the highest density of IXP’s per city in Africa, and the largest carrier neutral data center in Africa. As a thriving terrestrial infrastructure market and the continent’s most mature peering ecosystem, South Africa will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to learn from its remarkable experiences and explore a growing number of opportunities in the region.

“The African IXP Association has been absolutely amazed by South Africa’s rapid development and is proud to host this year’s AfPIF in Cape Town. We all benefit from their innovation and continued success, and hope that our collective presence will provide additional momentum” said Kyle Spencer, Co-Coordinator of the African IXP Association.

“We are delighted to be hosting AfPIF at iWeek for the very first time. This is a fantastic example of the kind of pan-African ICT cooperation envisioned by the Abuja and OR Tambo declarations of the 1990s,” said ISPA Chair, Graham Beneke.

“The first AfPIF was held in 2010 by the Internet Society from the realization that most of African Internet traffic is exchanged outside the continent, and the region could save costs by exchanging the Internet traffic locally. The target is to have at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020. We are getting closer to that target every year thanks to AfPIF and many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa”, says Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at Internet Society.

Internet Peering is a business relationship whereby two network operators agree to provide access to each other’s network at no cost. Internet users throughout Africa benefit from Peering as it enables faster, more affordable, and more reliable access to content.

About the Internet Society
Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For more information visit www.internetsociety.org.

About AF-IX
The African IXP Association (AFIX) is a group of Internet exchange point operators from across Africa, brought together by a shared need to coordinate and exchange knowledge. It aims to foster an enabling environment for IXP operators, improve connectivity within the continent, and increase the Internet’s value for all. AFIX was established in 2012, joined the Internet eXchange Federation (IX-F) in 2014, and now organizes the annual African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF).

About ISPA
ISPA NPC is a non-profit company, and a recognized industry body which has represented the interests of ISPs since 1996. ISPA has co-hosted the annual iWeek industry conference since 2001, bringing together business, government, civil society and members of the public to debate technical, policy and business matters relating to the Internet sector in South Africa. ISPA works with many different partners to ensure that iWeek includes fresh and relevant content each year and is thrilled to be hosting AfPIF during iWeek this year. For more on the association visit www.ispa.org.za

Media contacts:
Betel Hailu
Internet Society
hailu@isoc.org

Elaine Zinn
ISPA
Elaine@ff.co.za