- A new Internet exchange point (IXP) has been launched in Freetown, for the first time allowing Sierra Leone's web users to exchange local data within the country rather than over international links.
The new facility, know as the Sierra Leone Internet Exchange, or SLIX, will allow Internet service providers to interconnect and exchange local data traffic within the West African country rather than over international links.
This will promote more efficient, resilient, and less costly connectivity by improving local Internet performance and reducing international bandwidth costs.
"The launch of SLIX is an important milestone for the Internet in our country," commented Michala Mackay, President of the Sierra Leone Chapter of the Internet Society, an international non-profit organisation.
"In addition to the technical benefits SLIX will bring to service providers and users, it also marks a key success in the sustained efforts by Internet stakeholders to work collaboratively in achieving our goals to extend the development and availability of the Internet for all Sierra Leoneans," Ms Mackay added.
As a result of making Internet traffic flows more efficient, IXPs can also help stimulate the broader information technology sector by encouraging the development of local content, web hosting, and related services. IXPs also stimulate general economic development by enabling individuals and organisations to access more cost-effective Internet service.
"Sierra Leone is the 19th African country to establish an Internet exchange point," said Michuki Mwangi of the Internet Society. "Well developed and maintained IXPs are an essential component in building a robust Internet access ecosystem, and the Internet Society is committed to assisting their growth in Africa," he added.
The development of SLIX was facilitated by the Internet Society's African Interconnection and IXP Programme, which aims to promote more robust Internet connections within and between countries in Africa.
The organisation is currently working with six African countries at various stages of IXP development and last month announced the creation of the African Peering and Interconnection Forum, to address key interconnection opportunities and challenges in the region.
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