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Economic expansion spurs on African internet PoP race

By , Editor, ITWeb Africa
Africa , 17 Jul 2014

Economic expansion spurs on African internet PoP race

Multinationals expanding their African reach are spurring on technology firms to set up more internet Point of Presence (PoP) facilities on the continent.

This is according to senior research telecoms and IT services analyst for the International Data Corporation (IDC), Mervin Miemoukanda, pointing to economic growth rates of over 5% in Africa in the last two years.

PoPs are part of infrastructure enabling local networks to access the internet through an interconnection point with long-distance carriers. The facilities typically connect directly to undersea broadband cables, which allow for the likes of increased latency and faster internet speeds.

This week alone, French telecoms operator Orange, international connectivity services provider BICS and Dimension Data owned Internet Solutions (IS) have announced new PoPs in Africa.

French telecoms operator Orange has opened West Africa’s first large-capacity internet protocol (IP) Point of Presence (PoP) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Meanwhile, IS has set up PoPs in Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi while ITWeb Africa reported on Wednesday that BICS has opened a PoP within Teraco data centres in Johannesburg.

“It is mainly for their global customers, let’s say multinationals operating in African countries,” Miemoukanda told ITWeb Africa.

“It is very important to have PoPs in those countries and guarantee uptime,” Miemoukanda said.

Service level agreements (SLAs) are also prompting more technology companies on the continent to establish their own PoPs rather than relying on third parties, Miemoukanda said.

And having PoPs can further be a competitive differentiator for telecom firms such as Orange seeking more global enterprise business in Africa, said the expert.

These developments, in turn, also mean that Africa is joining financial centres such as New York and London in having these high tech facilities.

Orange and IS PoP facilities

In a press statement on Wednesday, Orange said it has selected Ivory Coast’s Abidjan for West Africa’s first large capacity internet protocol (IP) PoP.

The rationale for Orange choosing Abidjan is owing to the city hosting a landing point for the ACE submarine cable: a 17,000km-long cable which runs down the west coast of Africa from Europe.

Orange’s large-capacity Abidjan PoP is targeting wholesale customers, regional operators and internet service providers.

Meanwhile, IS says in a statement that its Lesotho, Swaziland and Malawi allow for “local and international clients across the entire continent at affordable rates."

“The new PoPs give businesses access to the company's high-capacity network, and demonstrate IS's belief in the opportunities for networking growth on the continent,” says IS.

“IS's geographic footprint for MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) services includes PoPs in Angola, Botswana (2), Ghana (4), Kenya (5), Mozambique (6), Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria (15), South Africa (16), Tanzania (2),Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe (2), Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland. In addition, the company services a further 14 other countries via network-to-network interfaces and partners,” adds the company.

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