First National Bank (FNB) said yesterday it was leveraging from its telecommunications licenses, skills and internal ISP, FNB Connect to become the first bank in the country to support peering by joining the NAPAfrica platform. “This is a substantial first for the South African banking industry and we believe that FNB has set a great example not only for the financial services industry but for other ISP’s” says Lex van Wyk, CEO at Teraco Data Environments.
Van Wyk adds that peering will allow FNB Connect several benefits such as access to additional quality online content and the sharing of network capacity with other carriers, internet service providers and content providers both locally and internationally. “The sharing of network capacity impacts on the price of connectivity, ultimately lowering bandwidth costs directly to the consumer and we are hoping other banks will understand the immense benefits of peering and follow in FNB’s footsteps,” says Van Wyk.
FNB has been announced as the South African bank with the most satisfied customers, following the results of the recent South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi). “For us at FNB, customer satisfaction is a priority and open peering fits this drive perfectly. We have used the opportunity for peering not only as a network efficiency measure, but have passed on the savings and benefits directly to our existing clients as a value added service,” says Farren Roper, Head of FNB Connect ISP. “One of the benefits is free access to Online Banking and FNB sites that we are able to provide our customers,” says Roper.
Furthermore, Roper says, “At FNB Connect, we are also excited about the quality of download speed, made possible through open peering.”
Van Wyk says that since the initial introduction of route servers by NAPAfrica early in 2012 there has been a subsequent overall reduction in ISP operating costs in the South African market through the simplification of the peering process. He says that route servers lower the barrier to entry for African ISPs, such as FNB Connect and with one connection, all NAP members have direct access to the FNB content at no charge. This increases access to key applications such as online banking through the clients’ current service provider. There are over 70 peers live at NAPAfrica with access to over 27 local and international carriers.
Teraco offers the choice of both multi-lateral and bi-lateral peering which then helps all members to connect to the exchange based on what is preferable to their business. Teraco is the most connected data centre facility in Africa already offering connectivity to major international carriers including SAT3/SAFE, Seacom, WACS and EASSy; mobile carriers including Vodacom, MTN and Cell C; local carriers including Telkom, Neotel and Broadband Infraco and fibre infrastructure provider, Dark Fibre Africa and many more.