***Critical stakeholders that attended this year’s Nigerian Peering and Interconnection Forum (ngPIF) have highlighted some insights and practical knowledge, which they believe will advance the economics of network interconnectivity in Nigeria.
Conversations at the 2-day event, held on October 25th – 26th and which saw an attendance pool of over 400 infrastructure providers, connectivity stakeholders, content providers, and policymakers revolved around interconnectivity, peer-to-peer content sharing, local content availability, peering possibilities in underserved regions, cloud connectivity, human capacity building, education, and technology intersection.
In his opening address at the annual event, hosted by the Nigerian Network Operators Group (ngNOG), and the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu noted that this year’s ngPIF is very relevant and of national significance.
“Today, I am pleased to be among experts in the Infrastructure, Digital Content Provision, Network Services and Policymaking, as they engage, share experiences, and learn from experts in their fields,” said the Governor, who was represented by Mr. Hakeem Fahm, Commissioner for Science and Technology.
According to him, no one can ignore the vital role of technology in improving our infrastructural facilities and enhancing economic growth and development. “The forum has focused efforts on strengthening cooperation and communication with all stakeholders in the utility infrastructure sector, particularly considering the huge challenge currently faced by the industry and the world. For inclusive growth, a gathering like this is needed periodically to brainstorm, exchange ideas, and be in tune with the latest developments as it affects the infrastructure providers, content providers, service providers, and policymakers,” he added.
Also speaking, the National Event Coordinator of Nigerian Network Operators Group (NgNOG), Prof. Adewale Adedokun, explained that the relevance of peering and interconnectivity have quadrupled in recent times.
“While infrastructure providers are navigating the intricacies of protocol such as Ipv4 to Ipv6, and building cloud-based data centers to satisfy billions of consumers globally on the internet, platforms like ngPIF provides the elasticity for continuous reinforcement through knowledge and ideas sharing among stakeholders,” he said “Several high value business to business deals have been consummated at NgPIF for the benefit of the Nigerian internet ecosystem, and this is only the start.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, Chief Executive Officer of IXPN made a case that there is a need to be deliberate about underserved areas when it comes to Internet connectivity. “When we speak of growing internet access, pillars such as Fiber infrastructure, data centres, service providers, IXPs and their demand are fundamental,” he said.
He noted that for IXP itself, we require location, equipment, technical and administrative capacities to function at the optimum, emphasizing that in less reached areas, peculiar challenges such as low connectivity infrastructure, security issues, diminished interest in internet services, and absence of carrier-neutral data centres are often the bane.
“Our successes in major cities in Nigeria have been an infusion of the fundamental pillars, such that even when extending to less urban regions, it’s important that we, the service providers do not diminish these pillars. Only then can we truly attain the efficiency that we seek through interconnectivity,” he explained further.
There was a high-level panel discussion at ngPIF 2022, during which experts agreed that as interconnectivity deepens and the demand for digital content soars, it is imperative for stakeholders to become more deliberate about collaborating by peering with infrastructure providers for ease of interconnectivity, cloud-based data centres integration and digital content access to consumers.
It is also noteworthy to mention that several high value business to business deals were consummated at NgPIF 2022 for the benefit of the Nigerian internet ecosystem.
According to the experts who attended physically from Belgium, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, France, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom and Nigeria, at the intersection of connectivity, content provision, internet services, and policies, liaison of stakeholders is imminent to foster the rapid development and efficiency of connectivity across all economic levels.
Top-tier companies and stakeholders within the connectivity industry also joined the conversation at ngPIF 2022. They include; Meta, Africa Data Center, Amazon AWS, FlexOptix, Open Access Data Centers, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Internet Society, Kasi Data Centers, Rack Center, Nigerian Communications Commission, Team Cymru, AfriNIC, Medallion, Access & Content Limited.