Internet charges in Africa may be reduced

Shadreck Chitauro, a Poly Computer Science Lecturer, recently returned from Nairobi, Kenya where he represented Namibia at the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) Curriculum Workshop which was held to seek ways of helping African countries to reduce internet charges.

Chitauro, and Francisco Da Silva of the University of Namibia (UNAM), formed the Namibian delegation whose trip was fully sponsored by the African Union Commission (AUC). The workshop, sponsored by the African Union (AU), specifically scrutinised ways of reducing internet costs by not routing Internet traffic out of Africa and re-routing it back to Africa. 

Chitauro, who is also the Cisco Networking Academy Contact/Manager at the Poly, explained: “A huge problem has been identified - of Internet traffic from one African country to another African country being routed via upstream providers outside the continent and re-routed back to Africa that incurs charges that can be avoided. This is both costly as well as an inefficient way of handling the intra-continental exchange of Internet traffic.” 

He explained further that the workshop concluded that these unnecessary charges could be avoided by setting up Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Africa so that Internet traffic sent from one African country to another African country will not go outside Africa as IXPs will re-route this traffic within Africa only. “Such a system will reduce the costs of Internet when customers, companies and corporates pay their levies to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) within their respective countries since upstreaming charges will no longer be applicable to ‘local’ intra-continental traffic,” Chitauro said. 

Although Namibia has already installed an IXP, costs are not expected to be reduced immediately. Chitauro said only when all African countries have installed IXPs will there be no need for upstreaming and will Internet service costs be reduced substantially. 

“The aim of the AXIS project is to support the establishment of National Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Exchange Points to promote the exchange of intra-Africa traffic within the continent as soon as possible,” Chitauro said. 

In light of these developments, the Polytechnic of Namibia Cisco Academy and other similar entities were called to partner with the African Union in integrating and adopting AXIS content as academic programmes. During the workshop the content was presented, after which a discussion on how to integrate and adopt the curriculum ensued. The output of the discussions was a roadmap for the process. 

 

The implementation of the curriculum at the Poly will position the Academy to prepare the knowledge base to support and sustain the AXIS in Namibia and regionally. 

Date: 
Friday, August 28, 2015
for Month: 
August, 2015

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