Internet users in South Africa surf a significant amount of local content, hosted by several internet service providers (ISPs) around the country. By using a method to privately interconnect these ISPs, one prevents such traffic from leaving the country's borders, traversing expensive undersea cable infrastructure, only to return a moment later as international traffic.
For this reason, ISPA has established local Internet Exchanges (INXes) in Gauteng (JINX) and in Cape Town (CINX), with an additional exchange about to be built in Durban (DINX). With the advantages of locally exchanged traffic, ISPA says more than fifty networks are today interconnected by its exchanges.
According to Ant Books, ISPA spokesperson, Internet Exchanges provide a mechanism for ISPA's members and non-members to interconnect their networks and exchange traffic. "The exchanges encourage the local routing of internet traffic not destined for international locations. By exchanging information locally, there is no need to use international bandwidth," he explains.
Saving on cost
In commercial terms, this means lower cost and reduced latency. "It is for these reasons that the local exchanges were established in December 1996," Brooks says. The benefits are clearly reflected in the growth of local network using the service provided by ISPA. In 2009, just nine networks were exchanging data locally. "The growth to above 50 is astonishing. It not only confirms the value of local switching, but also provides a glimpse into the growth of the Internet in South Africa," Brooks says.
"With JINX and CINX now used broadly by an increasingly competitive local industry, the benefits of local switching are surely a key component in limiting overheads to provide South Africans with affordable, quality Internet services," Brooks concludes.
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