Lumbumbashi gets DRC’s second IXP thanks to ISOC and Facebook

The Internet Society, a global NGO dedicated to the open development, evolution and use of the internet and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) of the DRC, that is ISPA-DRC, have launched a new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Lubumbashi that will bring faster and more reliable internet access.

An Internet Exchange Point is an access point where multiple local and international networks, ISPs and content providers interconnect their networks instead of through third-party networks.  Exchanging Internet traffic locally not only reduces bandwidth costs, but improves Internet experience for end-users by keeping traffic local.

Currently, internet traffic in Lumbumbashi, the second largest city in DRC, 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 in Lubumbashi (LUBIX) was provided by the Internet Society in collaboration with Facebook. The two organizations announced a partnership in September of 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 and Mauritius, Guinea, Benin and Chad resulting in over 300 people trained, and upgraded infrastructure unlocking potential growth of IXPs across the continent.

“We want to help shift Africa from being Internet consumers to Internet creators and innovators.  This will be realized through deliberate actions to have 80% of the Internet traffic being consumed in Africa accessible locally and only 20% sourced from outside the continent,” explained Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa, Internet Society.

There are currently 45 active IXPs located in 33 countries across Africa. Many of these were established within the last decade and have grown significantly with over 1,000 networks now connected.

“We’re excited to partner with ISOC and members of the ISP association to help launch the second Internet Exchange Point in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Kojo Boakye, Head of Public Policy for Africa, Facebook. “This new infrastructure will help improve connectivity by lowering the cost of delivering Internet services to people in the region.”

The Internet Service Provider Association Democratic Republic of Congo (ISPA-DRC) is a NGO formed by network operators to contribute their knowledge and experience to the development of internet technologies and ICT in the DRC. Currently, ISPA-DRC members account for over 85% of the total number of officially recognized internet networks in the country. The activities of ISPA-DRC are carried out through projects contributing to the development of the national Internet ecosystem.

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