Vox Telecom and Teraco have partnered with global content delivery powerhouse Akamai to set up a local node that will help South Africans get faster access to critical internet content – and may help to bring bandwidth costs down.
“Akamai and companies like it are the solution to one of the Internet’s big challenges: How to get large amounts of data to billions of end users in the most efficient way,” says Vox Telecom Executive Head of Network and Operations Shane Chorley. “Every time there’s an update to a major operating system like Windows, for example, millions of people around the planet have to download it. What Akamai does is ensure those millions of people don’t all try to get the same content from the same server at the same time – which would cause a nasty traffic jam.”
Instead, explains Chorley, “Akamai has hundreds of content delivery nodes around the world – and now in South Africa as well. That means instead of having to download a big software update from a server in the US or UK, local users can get it from a local node. And South African software developers who’ve been needing to upload their content overseas can now also do it locally.”
The bottom line is that downloads will become a lot faster, says Chorley. “Our international bandwidth is much better than it used to be but it’s not infinite, and it’s always going to be slower than going local. Putting that key content in Teraco’s data centre, and allowing anyone to access it effectively for free via the Vox Telecom network, makes it much quicker to access.”
This is especially important as the volume of video content increases, says Chorley. “It’s not just about the latest Gangnam Style viral hit – more and more training and educational content is on video now, and to take advantage of it we need world-class download speeds.”
In the long run, says Chorley, Vox Telecom believes the move will also speed up the delivery of cloud-based services such as Microsoft Azure into the South African market. “It’s great news for anybody wanting to do Azure-based application development.”
The move is also good for smaller local ISPs, he says. “The Akamai node is located within the NAPAfrica open peering point, which gives smaller ISPS more choice. With less international traffic that needs to be handed on to a larger ISP, they get a much stronger negotiating position,” he says. “Ultimately we expect this will help to cut the cost of bandwidth to ISPs, and to their customers in turn.”