Hard work ahead for African internet
INTERNETBy BiztechAfrica - May 15, 2012, 11:38 a.m.
The African Internet has taken massive strides forward over the past three years, thanks to the massive investments telecommunications operators have made in new terrestrial and submarine cables. However, there is still a lot of hard work to be done before Internet services are accessible and affordable to every person on the continent.
That’s according to Mark Simpson, CEO of SEACOM, reflecting on the state of Africa’s Internet ahead of World Telecommunications Day on 17 May. He says that the telecommunications industry has broken many of the bottlenecks to affordable and ubiquitous broadband across the continent.
New submarine cables such as SEACOM have helped to boost the performance of the Internet in many African countries while driving costs down for the end user. SEACOM alone has seen more than 10-fold increases in bandwidth penetration in several of Africa’s most underserved nations, driven by drops in connectivity prices and increases in terrestrial coverage.
3G cellular network technologies have helped to boost connectivity speeds to the end user and new terrestrial networks have helped to extend connectivity from submarine cable landing points into African hinterland, once only covered by expensive satellite. Many challenges still remain, including extending the reach of the international cables into vast African territories that remain underserved, says Simpson.
In this regard, it is encouraging to see governments and private enterprise accelerate the rate of building of terrestrial infrastructure to link undersea cables and major cities across southern and east Africa, especially in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya, he adds.
The next steps should see operators and governments step up investments in joining small and remote towns to the network. Simpson also stresses that African regulators and operators must focus as much on access networks as they are on submarine cables and backhaul connectivity to drive growth. This means that they need to ensure that frequency spectrum is available in a structured manner and regulatory hurdles to the deployment of new networks are removed.
Overall, however, the movements towards building the African Internet are extremely positive. “We are seeing a great deal of interest in leveraging broadband to drive economic growth among African regulators and policymakers. We are also seeing a great deal of innovation and partnerships from private business and the public sector in finding African solutions to African challenges,” says Simpson.
Though it will take several years to develop a fully integrated African Internet, we will see some enormous progress over the next 18 months, Simpson adds. “Broadband is changing lives throughout the continent, bringing with it health, education, financial and government services that help make people more prosperous, empowered and efficient,” concludes Simpson.
MORE INTERNET NEWS
Arabsat at Cairo ICT 2013The Arab Satellite Communications Organization – Arabsat – will participate in the Cairo ICT Conference & Exhibition in Cairo from 9-12 December. Read More
6 tips for safer online shopping in the MENA RegioneCommerce has taken off in the MENA region but tech-savvy consumers need to be wary of the many dangers lurking in the cyber world, says ESET. Read More
Spectranet deploys LTE to AbujaSpectranet Limited has announced that it has launched long term evolution (LTE) or 4G to its customers in Abuja. Read More
Broadband vital for new sustainable development goalsBroadband infrastructure, applications and services have become critical to driving growth, delivering social services, improving environmental management, and transforming people’s lives, says a new Manifesto by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Read More
Project Link to take faster internet to KampalaGoogle Africa has announced an initiative to use a super-fast, high-capacity fibre network to connect more people in Kampala to a faster, more reliable Internet. Read More
Andile Ngcaba appointed to global panel on internet governanceAndile Ngcaba, founder of Convergence Partners and Executive Chairman of Dimension Data Middle East and Africa, has been named to an international panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation. Read More
The down side of free Wi-FiDespite their best intentions, those rolling out free Wi-Fi could be exposing communities to a new set of risks, warns Fortinet. Read More
Kenyan internet market records 28% growthThe number of Kenyan internet subscribers increased by 28.4 per cent in the three months leading to June 30 this year to reach 12.4 million. Read More
AfDB launches e-consultation on new governance strategyThe African Development Bank has launched an online consultation process to gather feedback from all stakeholders on the Bank’s future Governance strategy. Read More
WIOCC, Dalkom Somalia to take fibre optic connectivity to MogadishuWIOCC, together with local shareholder Dalkom Somalia, has announced that it will launch connectivity to and from Somalia via the EASSy cable from Q1 2014, offering services directly from Mogadishu to the rest of the world. Read More
FEATURED STORYGaming app introduces investors to trading
A new virtual stock market app is equipping would-be investors with the skills they need to trade.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHText messaging makes mama mbogas’ lives easier
Innovative students have initiated a programme using text messaging, to aggregate demand and save money for Nairobi’s ‘mama mboga’ vegetable sellers.