The Big Interview

Q&A: Onno Bos, AMS-IX – Into Africa

Laura Hedges

16 Oct 2014

What prompted the launch of your internet exchange in Mombasa?
We launched the AMS-IX East Africa Exchange Point at the end of last year and we did so together with the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP). The idea behind it is to enable networks in Africa to exchange traffic with other networks via a single platform and to keep regional internet traffic local. SEACOM, who is our reseller, offers connected parties at this exchange the possibility of connecting to Amsterdam and the big international customer base we have there.

Why is Africa important to AMS-IX?
Africa is an important emerging market. By entering a new market it could take a while before the exchange will be fully established. AMS-IX is not that well known to people in Africa, but by attending an event like Capacity Africa, people are starting to get more acquainted with AMS-IX.

Currently, we are already seeing 1G of traffic on the exchange in Mombasa and if we can connect more regional companies, we expect it to become an important IXP for East Africa.

The partnership with KIXP and SEACOM has been very valuable to us since they know the African interconnection market very well. To grow the exchange further we are also looking for other resellers who can offer connectivity from Tanzania to Mombasa, or Burundi to Mombasa for example.

Do you have any competitors in the region?
We already work with KIXP – Kenya’s first IXP which was initially shut down by incumbent operator Telkom Kenya in 2000 – and our aim is to offer a regional internet exchange hub in the East African region, built on the successful design of AMS-IX in Amsterdam. So far no other regional internet exchange is operational in East Africa.

What presence does AMS-IX have worldwide and how do you hope to develop this?
We have exchanges in Amsterdam, Curacao, Hong Kong, Mombasa, and recently also New York, San Francisco and Chicago. For now we are working on growing these exchanges and ensuring the best possible service for our customers.

Most of the time there are different reasons behind the launch of every AMS-IX exchange. With the AMS-IX East Africa Exchange Point we are aiming to grow it into a regional exchange point in collaboration with our existing partners and in the future other partners as well.

The Capacity Africa 2014 conference concludes today (October 16) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.