Which Infrastructure for a better Internet in Africa ?
Reasons for low penetration and low quality of Internet access in Africa are numerous: high Internet access costs inherent to energy instability, transit costs, network operation costs, lack of infrastructure in rural areas, lack of content in Africa, as well as the preference of users for popular Google, Facebook or Youtube content mostly hosted outside Africa which lead to a constant loop (no local content no peering, no peering no local content). We review approaches to tackle this problem. We suggest a better energy provision to the industry (by Africans governments or private companies) which could be boosted by competition in this sector, an orientation of electrification politics towards solar energy storage and furniture, renewable energy, gas and nuclear centrals, as well as the establishment of a climate of fairness and cooperation/partnership by the regulations in the telecoms market. Most importantly, ISPs could increase peering to save on transit costs. They could also implement traffic engineering and efficient routing to keep local traffic local. Meanwhile, ISPs should invest in terrestrial optical fiber networks deployment or alternative technologies for the middle mile in order to reach more customers. Creation, development of local content and web content hosting should also be encouraged. Considerable efforts are currently being done on the continent to achieve these objectives but they need to be multiplied, as Africa is massive.