Nigeria achieves 40% localisation of Internet traffic, eyes 60% by 2021

In two years’ time, precisely by 2021, Nigeria hoped to have localised its Internet traffic by as much as 60 per cent, after hitting 40 per cent by end of last year.

The Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Muhammed Rudman, who disclosed to The Guardian at the weekend, noted that the growth rate of Internet traffic is a useful indicator of the health of the entire Internet ecosystem, as well as in measuring the development of the digital economy.

Though, localisation of Internet traffic by telecommunications operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has increased lately, Rudman believed that increased collaboration among stakeholders can actually bring the required rise in the traffic.

Accordingly, localising Internet traffic reduces the delays associated with routing local traffic internationally. By the move, the drop in latency increases speed and better quality of service to end-users.

An Internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which ISPs and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems).

IXPs reduce the portion of an ISP’s traffic, which must be delivered via their upstream transit providers, thereby reducing the average per-bit delivery cost of their service.

IXPN is an initiative of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) that enables ISPs, telecommunications operators, content providers and educational institutions to exchange Internet traffic locally within Nigeria.

Investigation showed that countries including China, South Korea, Egypt, South Africa, among others, have at least 80 per cent to 90 per cent of their Internet traffic localised. Rudman believed that through collaboration, this is achievable in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the African continent is losing yearly about $800 million to routing Internet traffic abroad before coming back to the region. This means that huge amount of funds is wasted in Inter-African traffic. Africa spends more to oversees Internet carriers for them to carry African Internet traffic due lack of IXPs.

However, to curtail this huge spending, The Guardian learnt that the continent has increased its IXPs from 18 to 35 with about five exchange points in Nigeria alone.

Nonetheless, Rudman, who said larger percentage of the Internet traffic in Nigeria are still routed abroad, noted that the target of the exchange points was to ensure localisation of content created locally in the country and international content meant for Nigeria’s consumption are hosted locally.

The IXPN boss said localisation of Internet traffic would not only help reduce the pressure on the dollar is pushing on the Naira, but will also improve the latency of Internet services.

Recall that at a Telecoms Executive and Regulator’s Forum (TERF) organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos, two years ago, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said Nigeria was saving as much as N2 billion yearly from ensuring that ISPs route their data traffic locally through the IXPN.

According to Danbatta, for every Internet content hosted locally it saves us foreign exchange, which would have been paid to foreign companies, this ensures that local data centres flourishes, hence creating more jobs and increase technical competency for our engineers.

The Nigerian IXP is rated the second largest IXP in Africa, and it has become a very critical national resource that has made it possible for Nigeria to host critical Internet resources such as the E-Root, F-Root and J-Root Domain Name Servers (DNS).

Meanwhile, with the backing of the African Union (AU), the IXPN has become a regional exchange for West Africa.