8 May 2014

Africa to Witness Faster Internet As Telcos Roll Out Cdns - Seacom

Internet users in Africa are beginning to enjoy the benefits of faster internet as well as lower latencies with telcos rolling their sleeves ready to roll out content delivery networks (CDN).

This is as a result of investment in infrastructure such as carrier-neutral data centers, open peering Internet exchange points, national and regional fibre links and submarine cables by the telecom market in Africa.

According to Mark Tinka, head of engineering, SEACOM there is a shift towards more content being hosted within the content as opposed to just the current 10 percent in return spurring growth in demand for these services.

"The next step will be to host more content within Africa rather than in Europe and US as 90 percent of African Internet content is hosted outside the continent today. We'd like to see that figure reversed so that 80 or 90 percent of content is hosted within Africa," says Tinka.

Among the big content data networks in the continent include Akamai Technologies, Level 3, CDNetworks, Limelight and Google Global Cache who store copies of popular websites and content.

The benefits of CDN's include and optimise file downloads, video and music playback, software updates and other web content requested for by operators and Internet service providers connected to a telecom network.

"Now they can bring it back to Africa. For example, a South African content provider could then host its content in South Africa and allow it to be cached on a CDN node in Uganda to provide East African users with faster access. This is a major boost for African internet users and content producers and will improve the end-user experience," says Tinka.

Tinka adds that it is expected that websites will see a marked performance for users who access them from countries outside the ones where they are hosted supporting many organisations striving to roll out services such as e-learning, e-health, entertainment, and more, for a pan-African audience.

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