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Impact of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

An Internet exchange point (IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks. Those promoting the use of IXPs in a developing world context (particularly in Africa) have made three main claims for their impact:

  • IXPs enable cost savings to be made as a larger proportion of traffic is exchanged using local rather than international bandwidth.
  • IXPs improve access speeds for users and cut down delays in downloading.
  • IXPs create revenue opportunities because they allow easier hosting of local domains, and improved access speeds make a broader range of applications possible.

This research document, commissioned by OSI, looks at the evidence for these three kinds of impact. In addition, the researchers looked at a fourth type of impact: whether the cost savings from IXPs helped local ISPs to pass on price changes to the end-user. At the center of this report are three case studies covering Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

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