Facebook in plan to expand African IXPs to localise content

Facebook in plan to expand African IXPs to localise content


Facebook is working with the Internet Society to expand exchange points across Africa with the aim of sourcing 80% of content within the continent by 2020.

The company and the non-profit society said they wanted to expand the number of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). There are no IXPs in 42% of African countries at the moment, they said. 

“The internet community adopted the goal of having at least 80% of the internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa regional bureau director for the Internet Society.

“We are getting closer to that target thanks to the many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa and to partnerships such as the one we are announcing today with Facebook.”

Facebook’s head of connectivity and access for Africa, Kojo Boakye, said: “We admire the Internet Society’s important work to improve connectivity in Africa by supporting IXPs. Our partnership with the Internet Society will help develop Africa’s IXP ecosystem by deploying resources like training and equipment to the areas where they are most urgently needed.”

The Internet Society said that, when traffic is exchange outside a country, via satellite or subsea fibre cables, end-user experiences can be poor, and this discourages hosting content locally.

“Peering at IXPs helps keep domestic internet traffic local by offloading traffic from relatively expensive international links onto more affordable local links,” said the society. “As a result, ISPs are able to offer improved internet experiences for end-users and spur interest in hosting content locally.”

The Internet Society and Facebook said they will collaborate in promoting IXP infrastructure development, training and community engagement with the objective of increasing the number of IXPs and supporting the expansion of existing IXPs to meet the growing demand in Africa.

They quoted figures from the Africa IXP Association (Af-IX) showing there are approximately 44 active IXPs in 32 countries in Africa. “This has resulted in a 275% growth of locally exchanged internet traffic over the last 10 years,” said the Internet Society, noting there were 16 only African IXPs in 2008. “During the same period, traffic exchanged at the African IXPs increased from 0.16Gbps to 412Gbps with over 800 networks now connected at these IXPs.”