Terrestrial Fibre Issues Hindering Internet Penetration in Africa—Experts

May 23, 2018
Terrestrial Fibre Issues Hindering Internet Penetration in Africa—Experts

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Terrestrial fibre constraints have been identified as the major factor hindering increased internet penetration in Africa.

Speaking at the Africa Session of the International Telecoms Week conference in Chicago, United States, experts in the industry said the reach of internet on the continent was still limited due to limitations in the availability of terrestrial open-access fibre which remains extremely low in most markets especially Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Tanzania among others.

According to the chief executive officer of Xalam Analytics, Mr Guy Zibi, the international capacity challenge has been solved, with most coastal countries exhibiting an oversupply of subsea cables serving the continent.

In his addressed titled ‘Enabling Content on the African Continent,’ Mr Zibi analysed the African digital journey, highlighting dramatic changes that have altered the dynamics of the digital transformation of the continent.

He said the limitations experienced in the sector in Africa have translated into retail connectivity prices as a proportion of income being 2X more expensive in Africa compared to Latin America and the Caribbean and 3X when compared to Asia.

Mr Zibi highlighted the dangers of deepening the continent’s digital divide with services limited to narrow addressable markets and Africa’s inability to fully partake in the fourth industrial revolution.

He reiterated the need for more aggressive deployment of terrestrial infrastructure, especially in metropolitan and local networks to reach the end users and enhance affordability.

A panel that included high-level representation from Orange, MTN GlobalConnect, MainOne and Kwese challenged African policy makers to proffer incentives to encourage the deployment of broadband infrastructure of scale to support the rollout of much needed infrastructure to rural areas.

The Africa Panel session at ITW was sponsored by MainOne for the 7th year in a row and continues to provide a platform for players to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges across the region with a global audience.

The discussions focused on infrastructure challenges as well as regulatory and economic constraints that impede increased internet access and proliferation of broadband across the continent.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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