Emma Okonji

The Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) has achieved a major milestone in a bid to expand its operations, by elevating to the status of the West African Regional Internet Exchange Point (IXP).

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IXPN, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, who made the disclosure in Lagos recently, said the stride was made by successfully vying in the Africa Union Commission’s (AUC) African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project for a Regional Internet Exchange Point (RIXP) for West Africa.

Until the recent development, the IXPN, a core network infrastructure provider company that allows several Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Telecommunications companies, Carriers, and Content Providers, to exchange traffic among their networks locally, was primarily focused on localising internet traffic in Nigeria by interconnecting Nigerian networks.

While explaining the import of its new status, Rudman said: “IXPN has moved from national to a regional service provider. Its infrastructure shall be upgraded in consonance to its new rules to ensure a more resilient operation in the function of connecting all other Internet Exchange Points in the region and to accentuate its capacity to handle the traffic coming thereby.”

According to him, “the fact that the regional IXP for West Africa is domiciled in Nigeria should leap frog the nation to the information hub in the West African sub-region. It will invariably boost patronage of complementary and ancillary services in Nigeria from telecoms companies, content providers and other IP-centric organisations in the region.”

Becoming the regional IXP holds great prospects for the Nigeria economy.  Typically, if the big telecoms companies and ISPs across the region connect to us, it will make the country the main hub for information communication exchange within the region, which would eventually attract regional and global content providers into the country, and thus translating to more patronage for our data centres, Rudman said.

He explained that if Nigeria becomes the hub in the region, its multiplier effect would mean submarine cables in the country will sell more capacity, Data Centre in the country will have more patronage from the West Africa region, as major Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies within the region will begin to host their information in Nigeria locally, with more interconnection of the service provider.
The IXPN boss stressed that regional IXP would attract Banks, Universities and Research Institutions in West Africa to host their information in Nigeria because of the shorter physical distance between these countries to Nigeria compared to Europe and the US, where they currently host their data.

He did not fail to declare his optimism of the attraction it would hold for many global content provider such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for whom the task of integrating their network would be made much easier because they would prefer a place where several service providers are interconnected. He projected that they would be in favour of making Nigeria their regional hub, a point from where they can distribute their content to the West African region.

Rudman, however, reaffirmed that the IXPN, a Not-for-Profit organisation, and the first and only neutral IXP in Nigeria, would remain committed to its objective of providing a core national Internet infrastructure that facilitates Internet operation in Nigeria, and also localising traffic as well as reducing the routing cost of local Internet; and would therefore continue to offer subsidised services to all its members. He disclosed that some of the critical internet infrastructure managed by IXPN include some Root Servers, the Time Server for Nigeria, the Measurement-Lab Network – a diagnostic tool, which employs a combination of variables to analyse the performance of ISPs and enhance Internet transparency, while helping to sustain a healthy and innovative Internet.