By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. April 25, 2013: There is need to have interconnected Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the six geopolitical zones in the country to increase demand for local internet content in Nigeria.
Muhammed Rudman, Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) told attendees at the Local Internet Content Forum (LICF) held in Lagos that all IP-centric organisations must also be encouraged to connect to the network.
While speaking on the topic, “Internet Content Ecosystem and the Way Forward for Nigeria” Rudman says regional IXPs would promote localisation of local e-content in each zone and more efficient way of exchanging traffic across the country.
He observes that lack of efficiency in-country interconnection hinders local Internet hosting in the country.
To bridge this gap, he calls for an urgent intervention fund by the government to ensure uniform pricing across the country that will in turn accelerate the demand for Internet and eventually drop the cost.
While explaining some of the reasons why the in-country fiber backhaul is so expensive, Rudman explains that the cost of obtaining right of way permit from the government is quite prohibitive in some locations.
He adds that local community issues such as the activities of miscreants otherwise known as Area boys and fibre cuts due to sabotage are also contributing to the problem.
Some of the challenges around hosting content locally electricity, high cost of Internet bandwidth, lack of cooperation between operators to share infrastructure, lack of interconnectivity between operators and high cost of fibre for local interconnection, Rudman adds.
According to him, there can never be sustainable broadband access in Nigeria without IXPs and local content.
Local e-content produced locally and hosted locally by far have more economic, social and cultural impact on the local community than local e-content of foreign origin and local e-content that originates locally but hosted internationally, he adds.
Speaking on the need for local content, Rudman adds that one of the strengths of new ICTs such as the Internet is the way they can help unlock distant expertise, knowledge and markets.
To buttress his claim, Rudman quotes an author, Peter Ballantyne, who says that “easier access to globalised knowledge is fast turning us into consumers of distant and potentially irrelevant information. More worrying perhaps developing countries are being invaded by foreign ideas and values that may undermine or overwhelm local cultural heritage and economic livelihoods”.
“We need to move from content consumers to content creators through partnerships and collaboration”, Rudman adds.
He adds that local content hosted abroad has higher latency than if hosted locally which makes Internet service slower and more expensive due to the distance and money paid to foreign hosting companies constitute capital flight.
He explains further that hosting content locally provides additional revenue opportunities to ISPs which in turn creates more job and technical competencies.