The year 2006 witnessed the birth of Nigeria’s Internet exchange point known as Internet eXchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN). However, the journey began over five years ago.
The first attempt at introducing Internet in Nigeria was made through the UNESCO sponsored Regional Informatics Networks for Africa (RINAF) project, in 1995. At one of the several workshops that were held to propagate the idea of the Internet, the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) was formed as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with the primary aim and objective of promoting and facilitating access to the Internet in Nigeria.
1996 – 2000
Towards the end of the 90s, several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) came into existence and amongst them are Linkserve, Cyberspace, Hyperia, Infoweb, PINET, Skannet, Steineng, and lots more.
ISPs in Nigeria started having problems with the PTT; they formed the “Committee of ISPs” to fight for the reduction in the costs of Internet access. These efforts were successful. Initially, there were only 8 companies involved in the initiative, in June, a meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel. This meeting was very well attended and attracted the majority of ISPs in Nigeria, this later transformed into the formation of the Internet Service Providers of Nigeria (ISPAN). Lanre Ajayi of PINET, one of the pioneer ISPs in Nigeria, played an important role in the establishment of both NIG and ISPAN.
The idea of an Internet exchange point was first discussed at this meeting but the level of suspicion between ISPs was very high and so the group at the meeting decided that it would be imperative to hold a workshop aimed at educating the ISPs on issues of co-operation and specifically the benefits of Internet Exchange points.
Sunday Folayan and Fisayo Adeleke, of Skannet (GDES Ltd.) and Steineng Ltd., two Ibadan based ISPs, raised the idea of setting up the Ibadan Internet exchange, Ib-IX.
March – The first Internet exchange point (IXP) in Nigeria, Ibadan Internet Exchange (Ib-IX) eventually came alive, with a layer-2 infrastructure, precisely, a 24-port 10/100Mbit/s switch and a route server. The maximum recorded traffic between these two ISPs was 102Kbit/s
June – An Internet exchange point (IXP) workshop was spearheaded by Maxwell Kadiri, with the support of ISPAN and the French embassy in Lagos. The IXP Workshop with a faculty which included Sunday Folayan (Skannet), Bolanle Akinpelu (Skannet), Fisayo Adeleke (Steineng), Seni Williams (Tara Systems), Bill Woodcock (Packet Clearing House, U.S) and Brian Longwe (Kenya Internet Exchange, KIXP); was the first major step to sensitize the ISP community of the need for an IXP.
April – ISPAN started discussion on the setting up of Lagos Internet Exchange (LagosIX), which was expected to be managed by an independent entity to be setup by ISPAN.
November – President Olusegun Obasanjo directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that the nation gets its own Internet Exchange Point (IXP) as soon as possible.
An IXP setup committee was constituted to work with the various structures that was in place. The committee members were made up of the following: Ndukwe Kalu (ISPAN), Ike Nnamani (Medallion Communications), Tosin Oni (InterConnect Nigeria, ICN), Femi Adelamo (Emperion WA), O.T Abiodun (NITEL), Abubakar Yakubu (NCC) and Chris Agha (NCC), including Sam Adeleke of Digitek Teevee Ltd. as the consultant to NCC on the IXPN setup and under the supervision of Engr. Bashiru Gwandu, an Executive Commissioner with the Engineering and Standards Department, NCC.
The Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), under the leadership of Dr. Bashir Gwandu the then acting Executive Vice Chairman’ approved a proposal to partly fund the setting-up of Internet eXchange Points (IXPs) in Nigeria, with a collaboration between NCC and ISPAN. The IXPN will operate from NECOM House (Marina, Lagos) as its main location; with sub-locations at Victoria Island, Ikeja, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Enugu, Kano & Maiduguri.
This marked the commissioning of the IXPN head office now located at 8th Floor, NCR building, 6 Broad Street, Lagos. The commissioning which was held on the 17th January, 2010 was presided over by the Executive Vice Chairman(EVC) of NCC, Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah. Also present was the immediate past EVC, Engr Ernest Ndukwe, some senior staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), our Board of Directors (BOD), our members, stakeholders in the ICT sector, media etc.