LINX's Nairobi hub syncs up with Kenya's digital ambitions

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 20 Nov 2023
Nurani Nimpuno, head of global engagement at the London Internet Exchange (LINX).
Nurani Nimpuno, head of global engagement at the London Internet Exchange (LINX).

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) has confirmed that its East African IXP (Internet Exchange Point) in Nairobi has gone live.

The launch is aligned with Kenya’s government-led digital initiatives, in particular the Kenya Digital Superhighway project, which aims to improve fibre network coverage and establish digital village hubs in rural areas. Plans include the laying  of 100 000km of fibre optic cable and automating over 5 000 government services.

Founded in 1994, LINX is a membership-driven organisation competing within the global interconnection market. 

The Nairobi hub is accessible from IXAfrica as well as from Africa Data Centres’ NBO1 and iColo NBO1 facilities. Networks located in any of these facilities can plug into the LINX Nairobi hub and peer their traffic. 

According to LINX, this setup creates a secure and redundant digital environment, enabling more efficient network management. Peering is often more cost-effective than alternative traffic management methods and improves network latency, it added.

Reducing latency and cost

Speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Tech Festival hosted recently in Cape Town, Nurani Nimpuno, head of global engagement for LINX and Nairobi project lead, said the LINX business model is based on partnerships with other service providers to reduce latency and costs, as well as keep local internet traffic local.

“We’re not building an international traffic network, there are others who do that and do that very well. We also don’t build data centres, there are others who do that very well,” said Nimpuno.

“We depend on our data centre partners, fibre providers, ISPs and content providers, customers, and other partners, and we come together to enable each other. It is when we work together and complement each other’s strengths that we become successful.”

She noted Kenya’s technical advancements such as the adoption of Safaricom’s M-Pesa, which has taken “Kenya strides ahead in the way of digital finance innovation compared to other countries".

LINX intends to extend its presence to additional markets across Africa.