Nigeria cuurently loses an estimated N10 billion annually to the wanton hosting of Internet content abroad by public and private organisations in Nigeria, it was gathered yesterday.
However, the utilisation of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), by some telecoms and Information Technology (IT) companies in the country appears to be making a reverse of the situation.
Through the hosting of data with IXPN, Nigeria now saves about N2 billion on a yearly basis.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umaru Danbatta, at the Telecom Executive and Regulators Forum, organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos yesterday.
An Internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks.
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.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Executive Director, Technical Services, Ubale Maska, explained that the IXPs were the focal point of the Internet.
He explained that they were, therefore, critical for the development of the Internet in any country, as not only do they reduce the cost of Internet traffic by keeping local traffic local, “but more importantly, they enable additional applications, which have a considerable multiplier effect on the economy.”
He said: “Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria is an initiative of the NCC that enables Internet service providers, telcos, content providers and educational institutions to exchange Internet traffic locally within Nigeria.”
According to him, the NCC also provided the seed funding that set up IXPN as a not-for-profit organisation with the key objective of improving the ICT ecosystem.
He disclosed that the Nigerian IXP is now the second largest IXP in Africa.
“It has been estimated that IXPN saves the nation above N2 billion yearly, which would have been paid out to international carriers in US dollars if this facility was not available in Nigeria,” Danbatta said.
According to him, IXPN also reduces the delays associated with routing local traffic internationally, adding that this drop in latency increases speed and better quality of service to end users.
According to him, “For every Internet content hosted locally, it saves Nigeria 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.”
From his own perspective, the Managing Director, IXPN, Muhammed Rudman, disclosed that Nigeria had won the bid to become Regional Internet Exchange Point (RIXP) for West Africa region in the African Internet Exchange System project under the African Union Commission.
Rudman said IXPN is in the process of receiving grant from African Union to achieve among others provision of power autonomy to Kano exchange point through solar panels and battery bank; interconnect one West African country as a proof of concept for RIXP; upgrade IXPN core equipment to handle large traffic capacity, among others.
Rudman said that regional IXPs would promote localisation of traffic in each zone and more efficient way of exchanging traffic across the country.
Meanwhile, Value Access Service (VAS) and Interconnect Clearing Houses have complained bitterly about poor treatment the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are melting on them.
Coordinator, Value Added Services, ATCON, Mr. Hyacinth Anucha, who said VAS operators just received some payments from telecoms operators, debt which they had been owing for the past two years, said the service providers deviated from the initial plan of 60 per cent to them, while 40 per cent to to operators.