- Stakeholders Make Case for Local Internet Content Hosting
Stakeholders in the internet administration ecosystem have advocated for an improved hosting of local internet content in the country as a way of developing the sector.
They argued that apart from saving foreign exchange for the country, domestication of content will help the springing up of hosting companies especially now that the country can boost of commercial Tier 111 Data centres.
Mohammed Rudman, managing director, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), said that keeping local traffic local and avoiding international links, would help local operators and users reap substantial cost savings, provide substantial local bandwidth and significantly improve local internet performance.
Rudman who spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek expressed worries that only 20 percent of internet traffic from Nigeria are directed at local content while 80 percent goes out of the country.
He also urged local content providers who host their servers outside of the country to consider relocating them in other to boost local traffic and save money for the country.
“Media and entertainment contents are generated locally but hosted abroad. The day we experience cut to undersea cable infrastructure that links Nigeria to the outside world, we won’t have access to those content which are generated here and are meant for Nigerians,” he added.
Corroborating Rudman, Mark Tinka, head of engineering at Seacom, a submarine cable operator with a network of submarine and terrestrial high-speed fibre-optic cable that serves the east and west coasts of Africa, said that 90 percent of Africa’s Internet traffic comes out of Europe.
“Much of that content was traditionally hosted in North America, but the content owners have, over the years, expanded their presence into Europe and the Asia-Pacific to improve the experience of their users and customers”.
“Most African Internet users tend to get much more of their content from Europe than from the US. Seacom’s dream is to one day be able to keep the majority of traffic on the continent, thereby reducing the amount of money Africa spends on transporting traffic to Europe. That will also help to drive more Internet penetration in Africa because of a reduction in cost of business,” Tinka noted.
Rudman, however decried the high cost of hosting servers at data centres located in the country which makes it difficult for content providers except for banks that have the financial muscle to afford the cost. He attributed the high cost of the service to power issues in the country.
“More so, availability is important in driving local traffic. Taking content to the edge of the network makes cost cheaper, making the service closer to the end user. Uptime also plays a crucial role, this is why most data centre providers seek international certification,” he noted.
Mr. Ayotunde Coker, managing director of Rack Centre, said that Nigeria has one of the largest internet user bases in the world and driving local content hosting will compliment Nigerians desire to embrace the internet the more.
“Nigerians are keen users of the internet, be it via tablet, PC’s or mobile devices. This new initiative enhances IXPN’s vision for online development in the country. Rack Centre is a quality, carrier neutral facility that intends to keep raising the bar for data centre providers in Nigeria with a string of firsts; first to be Tier III design certified, first carrier neutral Tier III site and now the first Tier III data centre to sponsor and establish an Internet Exchange Point,” Coker said.
COVID-19 Plunges Nigeria’s Oil Revenue by 41% in the First Nine Months of 2020
Nigeria’s oil revenue declined by 41.44 percent in the first nine months of 2020 to $2.033 billion, according to the latest data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This represents a decline of 41.44 percent from $3.47 billion filed in the same period of 2019 when there was no COVID-19.
In the September 2020 edition of NNPC’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR), revenue from oil and gas rose by 16 percent to $120.49 million in the month of September, a 66 percent or $234.81 million drop from $355.3 million posted in the same month of 2019.
The global lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic plunged Nigeria’s crude oil sales and global demand for the commodity. This was further compounded by Nigeria’s high cost of production compared to Saudi Arabia, Russia and others that were offering discounts to boost sales during one of the most challenging periods in human history.
Experts like Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, President of Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, NAEE, were not surprised with the drop in earnings given the effect of COVID-19 on the world’s economy.
She, however, called for the revamp of the nation’s petroleum sector laws and diversification of the economy away from oil revenue dependence. She said “Covid-19 made 2020 a very hot year and it battered the oil industry internationally and we are not an exception; so we could not have been unaffected”.
She also said the effect of the fall “is definitely a wake-up call; we have to diversify, strengthen our other resources and capabilities”.
Omorogbe, a former NNPC Board Secretary, urged the government and the operators in the sector to look inward and think strategically, stating: “think medium term, think of where they want to be and the government, above all, must think of how best we can utilize our resources, so that we can achieve our objectives once we know and define them.
“It is a clear wake-up call, if not we will just sit here and find that we have become one of the poorest nations in the world”, she noted.
Crude Oil, Other Commodities Closing Price for Monday
Brent crude oil, Nigeria’s crude oil benchmark, gained 47 cents to $55.88 per barrel on Monday, while the US crude oil expanded by 50 cents to $52.77 per barrel.
Gold for February delivery fell $1 to $1,855.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery fell 7 cents to $25.48 an ounce and March copper was little changed at $3.63 a pound.
The dollar fell to 103.80 Japanese yen from 103.83 yen. The euro fell to $1.2139 from $1.2167.
Wholesale gasoline for February delivery rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. February heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.59 a gallon. February natural gas rose 16 cents to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold Gained Ahead of Joe Biden Inauguration 2021
Gold price rose from one and a half month low on Tuesday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The precious metal, largely regarded as a haven asset by investors, edged up by 0.2 percent to $1,844.52 per ounce on Tuesday, up from $1,802.61 on Monday.
He said, “The key factor appears to be the (U.S.) currency.”
As expected, a change in administration comes with the change in economic policies, especially taking into consideration the peculiarities of the present situation. In fact, even though Biden, Janet Yellen and the rest of the new cabinet are expected to go all out on additional stimulus with the support of Democrats controlled Houses, economic uncertainties with rising COVID-19 cases and slow vaccine distribution remained a huge concern.
Also, the effectiveness of the vaccines can not be ascertained until wider rollout.
Still, which policy would be halted or sustained by the incoming administration remained a concern that has forced many investors to once again flee other assets for Gold ahead of tomorrow’s inauguration.
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