ICT Policy



City Profiles

Fibre capacity, submarine cables, and African Internet in 2022

October 15, 2012  »  BroadbandOne Comment

The African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), an annual conference held by the Internet Society, fosters cross-border interconnection opportunities. The event provides a forum where key players from infrastructure and service providers, IXPs, regulators, and policy makers can share their experiences and learn from experts in the field.

One presentation that stood out as we looked through the AfPIF 2012 Programme is from Liquid Telecom, a fibre operator in Southern Africa that is part of the Econet Group. Our favorite slides are summarized below:

Submarine Cable Map 2013

  • Color-coded by cable, chronologically from inner-to-outer


Fibre Capacity 2013

  • Amazing gains since 2009, in terms of number of cables and capacity


Cost Breakdown Satellite vs. Cable

  • International connectivity is 54% of satellite broadband cost, but only 13% of cable broadband cost
  • Conversely, the cost of last mile is 34% of satellite broadband cost, but only 61% of cable broadband cost

Affordability of broadband, 2007-2016

  • International connectivity costs will drastically drop
  • Last mile costs will decrease very slowly


Monthly broadband prices for packages below 1Mbit/s

  • Prices have reduced slightly – but not much – since 2007
  • As of 2011, most are under USD 100
  • 22% are in the USD 200-300 range


African Internet, 2012

  • Multiple submarine routes have led to greater competition and lower pricing
  • Some cross border connections
  • Nearly all countries have a local internet exchange point
  • Latency to Europe is 50% lower than in 2002, but within Africa, latency is nearly the same as direct satellite can provide

African Internet, 2022 (prediction)

  • Meshed terrestrial Internet with fewer connections to submarine cables
  • Questions: who will do the cross border peering, will the African backbone be controlled by African operators or large US-based carriers, will there be enough local African content to support an advanced land-based network

Source: “Bridging the African Internet,” Liquid Telecom, August 2012.