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Econet Eyes to Build More Content Delivery Networks in Africa

Econet Media – a subsidiary of Econet Group, plans to deploy more Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) across Africa to bring global video streaming channels such as Netflix onto its network, the company’s top executive said on Monday.

Kwesé Play, which is owned by billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, through its subsidiary Liquid Telecoms has successfully deployed CDNs across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Liquid Telecom has been growing rapidly over the last few years fuelled by the demand for infrastructure to support broadband Internet on the African continent.

The company has so far built a fibre optic network which spans more than 50,000km and covers 9 countries across Africa.

The streaming of video entertainment such as Netflix, YouTube, Red Bull TV, iflix requires reliable and redundant internet bandwidth.

Furthermore, the level of system reliability required to provide customers services such as Netflix is very high.

“We have a very strong position we found ourselves in, as we are the only ones in a position to do that end to end across Africa,” Ryan Solovei, executive VP of Econet Media and CEO of Kwesé Play, told Techfinancials in an interview.

On Thursday, Econet Media launched its OTT streaming service Kwesé Play – a video streaming service delivered on high-speed data networks, LTE, ADSL and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).

Kwesé Play is now available across South Africa through leading retailers
Kwesé Play is now available across South Africa through leading retailers

The delivery of Kwesé Play in South Africa and other African countries requires a CDN infrastructure.

“We have built a world-class Content Delivery Network in Sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa we currently have two POPs, one at Teraco (Sub-Saharan Africa’s top ‘vendor neutral’ data centre operator) and another at our Liquid Telecom Data Centre,” says Solovei.

“We are also peering at NAPAfrica (Africa’s largest Internet eXchange Point based at Teraco) and have a network in East Africa, Kenya, and in Zimbabwe and Zambia.”

This infrastructure provides Econet Media with access to content hosted at NAPAfrica.

Although some of the content is available through CDNs they are not mirrored locally.

“We are trying to localise the content (of 100 Video-on-Demand services delivered on Kwesé Play) services by putting them on our Content Delivery Network.”

Solovei also revealed that the company will continue to deploy its own CDNs.

“We understand consumers need to be as close to their content as possible to make the user experience as good as possible,” he said.

“When you deliver content to consumers’ homes you need to deliver that as efficiently as possible. That comes down to your content delivery network.”

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