Africa: Future data architecture beginning to fall into place – Internet Exchange Points and Data Centers
The growth of data traffic and Internet and social media users has been the big story over the last two years. But more quietly behind the scenes, Africa has begun to develop a more sophisticated data architecture through a combination of exchange points and data centers.
One cascade of changes affecting the continent of Africa, has become very clear. With new, competitive international cables and improved, cheaper fiber access at a national level, wholesale prices in both of these parts of the value chain have dropped.
These wholesale price drops have encouraged retail price drops to end users that have accelerated the growth of Internet use, particularly on mobile phones.
Internet subscriber levels that used to be in the hundreds or thousands are now in the tens of thousands to the millions.
There are still blockages at the local loop access level in the value chain and some countries have still not yet got the message on competitive bandwidth costs.
As an example, in a certain a Central African country, an mbps of international bandwidth still costs over US$1,500 compared to the low hundreds or lower tens in more competitive African countries.
A whole set of backroom changes are taking place to accommodate the increased data demand and to create the kind of data architecture found elsewhere in the world.