News Column

Internet firms make case for local hosting of websites

June 18, 2014


Internet service providers have made a strong case for Kenyan companies to host their websites locally, saying that they stand to benefit from fewer down times in cases where the international connection links are severed.

The ISPs through their umbrella body, Telecommunication Services Providers Association (TESPOK), Tuesday said the move could also help to reduce international bandwidth costs and disruptions due to undersea cable cuts.

Hosting websites locally is also expected to make it much faster for Internet users to access content or receive mails sent from within the country, TESPOK argued.

Currently a person using an ISP hosting its data offshore means that an email sent across the street—for example from an office in Tom Mboya to another in Moi Avenue— will have it first go to the country hosting the firm then back to Kenya, but this time lag can be eliminated by hosting the data servers locally.

"We are urging local firms such as  ISPs, telecos, banks and media houses that are still hosting their contents offshore to do it here as it will enable them to access the data at  faster speeds and improved access to local content has led to increased usage," Fiona Asonga,  Tespok CEO said.

The Communication Authority of Kenya had earlier this year proposed that local telcos should host their data locally, which raised concerns of insecurity and unreliable and insufficient power supply.

READ: CCK pushes firms to host websites locally in new rules

Most ISPs have previously preferred to host their data abroad to benefit from economies of scale of international firms with bulk clients compared to local data centres. They also enjoy enhanced legal documents protection abroad.

TESPOK also manages the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) — which enables local ISPs to easily exchange traffic within the country without the need for multiple international hops.

In February, the East Africa Data Centre secured a contract to host KIXP. KIXP has spent more than 10 years at its previous site but relocated to the East Africa Data Centre saying it needed a facility that guarantees connectivity, security and power supply to support its future growth objective.

"We are delighted to now see the KIXP furnished in the region's top data centre with scope to expand as fast as it needs to in keeping pace with internet use in Kenya and data demand," she said.

Ms Asonga also urged organisations that have not yet routed their traffic through the KIXP to do so and maximise the cost and delivery gains from the local Internet exchange point.

Other than the KIXP, the East Africa Data Centre also hosts banks, both local and international mobile operators.

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Source: Business Daily (Kenya)

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