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Locally hosted content gains traction in Africa

Vince Matinde | Feb. 25, 2015
Kenyan service providers try to convince businesses of advantages of using local companies.

The high latency for sites hosted abroad gives Kenyan cloud service company Angani a competitive advantage.

For example, Sprout Kenya, a social media management company that also owns Whatsapp customer management software Ongair, opted to use Angani.

"It is usually a lot faster, there is no latency," said Sprout CEO Trevor Kimenye. "If the users are in Kenya and the servers are in Kenya, it is faster."

Kimenye said that the costs are actually comparable and not more expensive than hosting outside the country.

Nevertheless, the majority of websites in Kenya are still hosted outside the country. Government websites such as president.go.ke, which is supposed to represent the office of the president of Kenya, are also hosted outside the country.

The Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK), which manages KIXP, has urged local county governments in the country to host their websites locally. The association found out that only 13 counties out of 47 hosted their websites locally by last year.

"Using international hosting providers for internet content for local consumers is expensive as compared to using local hosting companies," TESPOK said. In addition, this latency of websites hosted abroad is unfair to users, who have to deal with slow access and also bear the international costs that are passed on to them from ISPs.

TESPOK CEO Fiona Asonga said KIXP had a key role to play in satisfying the growth in demand in Kenya for Internet bandwidth and latency-sensitive traffic in Kenya. KIXP is now delivering an average of 1.2Gbps in bandwidth exchange, compared with 900Kbps a decade ago when it opened.

Meanwhile, Angani believes there is room to have cheaper and faster Internet connection in Africa and aims to bring that future to the continent as it looks to expand into East Africa this year.

 

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