Terrestrial Fiber Is Still the Stumbling Block to the African Internet Penetration

International Telecoms Week summit

Experts who attended the Africa Session of the International Telecoms Week summit that took place in Chicago said that terrestrial fiber constraints hinder the penetration of internet into Africa. The summit operated under the sponsorship of MainOne. This was the 7th year in a row that MainOne sponsored the summit. The summit offers a platform for players to share and discuss challenges and opportunities across Africa. This takes place in the presence of a global audience. Discussions mainly majored on challenges in infrastructure. It also talked about economic and regulatory challenges that hinder the broadband proliferation and internet access in Africa

Xalam Analytics chief Executive Officer (CEO), Guy Zibi gave his speech during the summit. The summit worked on the theme; Enabling Content on the African Continent. Zibi looked at the digital journey in Africa from a broader perspective. He figured out various changes that have transformed the African digital transformation dynamics.

Zibi said that solutions have been offered to the international capacity problems. He added that many coastal countries have oversupplied subsea cables that are serving Africa. But he realized that getting to that capacity was still low. This is because of limited terrestrial open-access fiber. The supply of the fiber still remains low in many markets. This is especially in Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, and many others. The limitations have been changed into retail connectivity prices because the African income is twice more expensive compared to the Caribbean and Latin America. Additionally, it is thrice expensive compared to Asia.

He went ahead to talk about the dangers that come with deepening the African digital divide with services that majors on specific markets. He also talked about the inability of the continent to fully take part in the fourth industrial revolution. Zibi talked about the need for a high development of terrestrial infrastructure. This is more so in local and metropolitan networks to get to the final user and promote affordability. The continent’s policymakers were challenged by a panel to put in place incentives to help in the construction of broadband infrastructure of scale to help in setting up of the required infrastructure in the rural areas. The panel comprised of representatives from Kwese, MainOne, Orange and MTN GlobalConnect.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
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