A new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) has been launched in the Democratic Republic of Congo, potentially bringing faster and more reliable internet access to the country.
The Internet Society, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the internet, and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched the new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Lubumbashi, the second largest city in DRC.
Establishing this access point, where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks instead of through third-party networks, has a number of advantages. Exchanging internet traffic locally not only reduces bandwidth costs, but improves internet experience for end users by keeping traffic local.
Currently, internet traffic in Lubumbashi is exchanged outside the region and, in many cases, outside the country. This results in slow internet speeds and higher access costs. IXPs are used to route traffic that can be kept local instead of sending that traffic to the nearest major internet node (usually located in Europe) and back.
Technical training, support and equipment to launch this IXP was provided by the Internet Society in collaboration with Facebook. The two organizations announced a partnership in September last year to promote IXP infrastructure development throughout Africa. Since then, IXP workshops have been held in Morocco, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Togo, Lesotho, Burundi, Mauritius, Guinea, Benin and Chad, resulting in over 300 people trained as well as upgraded infrastructure, unlocking potential growth for IXPs across the continent.
There are currently 45 active IXPs located in 33 countries across Africa. Many of these were established within the last decade. Their use has expanded significantly, with over 1,000 networks now connected.