Telecom Egypt and ICANN Expand Internet Infrastructure in Africa with Second IMRS Installation

In a significant development for Africa’s internet infrastructure, Telecom Egypt and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) have entered into an agreement to activate the second ICANN Managed Root Server (IMRS) installation on the continent, now hosted in Cairo, Egypt.

Bolstering Africa’s Internet Infrastructure

The new IMRS installation is situated within Telecom Egypt’s Regional Data Hub (RDH), the country’s largest certified Tier III data center, strategically located in the Smart Village Business District of west Cairo. This achievement marks a substantial stride in strengthening Africa’s internet infrastructure. The RDH is intricately connected to a fully meshed network, providing access to 14 submarine cables, with plans to expand to 18 by 2025.

Advantages for Egypt and Beyond

Hosting the IMRS installation in Cairo holds significant advantages for Egypt. It promises an enhanced internet user experience and reduced vulnerability to cyberattacks, which could lead to potential service disruptions. With IMRS installations now in both Egypt and Kenya, critical capacity is added to support the growing internet usage across the African continent. This development is expected to drive economic growth and create opportunities for potential internet users in Africa. Having two IMRS cluster locations, coupled with increased bandwidth and data processing capabilities, notably reduces the risk of internet downtime caused by cyberattacks.

Benefits of the IMRS Installation

Mohamed Nasr, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the advantages, stating, “The new IMRS installation will ensure that Internet queries from Africa can be answered within the region, rather than relying on networks and servers in other parts of the world. The cluster will improve the user experience in Egypt and across the region, reducing latency and the time it takes for a website to load, especially during peak Internet usage periods. This will bring immediate benefits to Internet users not only in Egypt, but across the African continent. The new IMRS installation will also reduce the impact of a potential cyberattack on the continent or that of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) cyberattacks.”

ICANN’s Commitment to Africa

Sally Costerton, ICANN Interim President and CEO, expressed ICANN’s commitment to enhancing Africa’s technical infrastructure, stating, “The IMRS deployment in Cairo represents a significant advancement in enhancing Africa’s technical infrastructure. Egypt’s strategic position as a digital influencer in the region is of paramount importance. With this second IMRS installation in Africa, our commitment to the Coalition for Digital Africa project in the digital transformation in Africa remains unwavering. This achievement strengthens Internet infrastructure, not only in Egypt, but across the entire region.”

Shifting the Internet Landscape in Africa

“Before the IMRS installations in Africa, most of African Root Zone DNS queries were served by IMRS instances outside the continent. After the implementation of two IMRS installations, the distribution has shifted as most of the queries will be served inside Africa,” added Costerton. This shift signifies a crucial milestone in improving Africa’s internet infrastructure and ensuring that internet services are more readily available and resilient within the continent.

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