[Washington, D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland] — A new Internet Exchange Point (IXP) was launched on 16 November in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Kinshasa IXP (KINIX) was funded through the Internet Society’s Community Grants Programme and managed by the DRC ISP Association (ISPA-DRC), as part of its DRC-IX project, which aims to establish IXPs in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, and Goma.
KINIX will serve as a catalyst for innovation and development of Internet services and applications in the DRC, and will support Government efforts to implement E-government services and lower the cost of developing local hosting and application development. The presence of KINIX will improve local Internet resilience by eliminating the dependence on international connectivity for local Internet services and Internet-based communications.
DRC is largely dependent on satellite connectivity for its Internet access. As the DRC waits to get connected to the West Africa Cable System, the time to access locally hosted content will be reduced significantly from over 500ms to less than 50ms through KINIX.
Initially, KINIX will connect six Internet Service Providers (ISPs): AfriNET, Cielux, Cybernet, Global Broadband Solutions, Microcom, and Vodacom. Twenty-six (26) engineers from these ISPs, including the regulator (ARPTC); Central Bank of Congo; local universities; and the tax, customs and revenue authorities among others have received technical, hands-on training prior to the launch through the Internet Society Africa Interconnection and Traffic Exchange (ITE) programme. The training sponsored by the Internet Society, and in partnership with Netnod and Jaguar Network, will also enable the network providers in the DRC to prepare their networks for interconnection with the rest of the world once the submarine cable connection is activated.
The Internet Society’s Africa Interconnection and Traffic Exchange programme has been actively supporting the development of IXPs and regional interconnection in the region. The programme aims to have 80% of Internet traffic exchanged in Africa by 2020, keeping local traffic local. This objective has been boosted by the appointment of the Internet Society to implement the African Union’s African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) programme, http://www.internetsociety.org/axis-announcement.