Internet adoption in developing countries is increasing due to better access, lower latency, and increased speed. Many different technologies are involved in this these improvements.
One important technology that is mostly “behind the scenes” — but is viewed as critical by network engineers — is the proliferation of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in developing countries. An IXP serves as a country-level or regional gateway between different networks, obviating the need to send traffic to distant regions or countries in order to be routed correctly. In other words, IXPs provide local shortcuts for internet traffic which lowers cost and latency.
According to the UN’s State of Broadband 2017 report:
“According to Packet Clearing House, 24 more countries established a new IXP over the twelve months between mid-2016 and mid-2017 (of which eleven were African). By mid-2017, 119 ITU Member States now have IXPs19, compared with 76 ITU Member States which do not. The total number of IXPs in ITU Member States globally is 471.”
The African countries were Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Rep. of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan and Zimbabwe. This increases the total number of African countries with IXPs to 29. Worldwide, 119 countries have IXPs, 76 do not. In total, 471 IXPs exist, including 145 in the EU and 84 in the US / Canada.