As part of its corporate strategy to facilitate internet growth and broader economic development, Teraco Data Centre Environments established the NAPAfrica Internet eXchange Point (IXP) in 2012, a multi-lateral peering point. “We have established the exchange point as a non-profit entity to support economic development in the country and to promote the greater good of the internet. The primary function of the exchange is to provide a neutral peering platform, located in a neutral facility where multiple ecosystems can connect,” says Lex van Wyk, CEO of Teraco Data Environments.
NAPAfrica is currently the fastest growing exchange on the continent. In the less than two years since its launch, partners on the exchange have grown to more than 100 members and the exchange is currently reaching volumes over 6Gbps, with an initial exchange of 64Mbps.
Van Wyk explains: “Multi-lateral peering allows for carriers, content delivery networks, ISPs and Application Service Providers to interconnect freely. This allows for increased penetration of the internet and at the same time it improves the quality of the internet in terms of speed and content. Bandwidth costs are also shared, making the internet more affordable. In the last 18 months NAPAfrica has specifically enabled small ISP businesses to peer without incurring additional membership and port fees.
“Teraco Data Centre Environments is proud of its achievements with NAPAfrica and has identified it as one of our key developmental initiatives,” says Van Wyk.
“Our contribution to the entity has been in excess of R4m to date by way of facilities, infrastructure support, hardware and operating costs.”
According to Van Wyk, one of the key contributing factors to the success of the exchange was through their efforts to build relationships with global and African thought leaders in the peering industry and creating a steering committee called the NAP Council. This team has provided valuable insights on issues impacting on our objectives and vision of: promoting content penetration in and out of Africa together with healthy competition amongst carriers; improving broadband speeds for African consumers through the promotion of peering exchanges; promotion of a balanced market between new entrants and exiting monopolies through increased open and affordable peering policies and the promotion of key educational content in order to reduce cost of delivery to end users.
Key also to the success of NAPAfrica is its location. The exchange point is located within Teraco, a neutral data centre, which aggregates more than 100 telecommunication companies consisting of African and global network providers, and operates according to global standards with an emphasis on high power availability (99,999% or better).
Building initiatives like the NAPAfrica IXP, openly supports the growth of the internet in Africa and has a direct positive effect on the economic development of the country,” concludes Van Wyk.