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International capacity, submarine cables, and African cross-border bandwidth

October 17, 2012  »  BroadbandNo 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 comes from Analysys Mason, a global market intelligence firm. Our favorite slides are summarized below:

International Capacity

  • 25 Tbit/s of submarine capacity will be in place by 2013
  • International bandwidth connecting African nations has grown from 1.21 Gbit/s in 2001 to 570.92 Gbit/s by 2011

Number of Submarine Cables

  • 16 landlocked countries in Africa and many coastal nations have no submarine landing station
  • 11 countries in Africa have only 1-2 submarine connections


Cross-Border Bandwidth

  • Rapid growth from hardly 4,500 Mbits to over 30,000 Mbits in 3 years


Cables in planning

  • ECOWAN: Sierra Leone, Gambia, and possibly other ECOWAS states
  • ACE: 23 countries to launch soon
  • EABs: East Africa
  • CAB: Central Africa
  • Umojanet: 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Liquid Telecom: Southern Africa
  • Suburban Telecom: West Africa

Regulatory roadblocks

  • 6 African countries have a telecom monopoly
  • 11 have partial competition
  • 16 have full competition
  • many need independent regulator

Source: “Terrestrial Capacity: From Cape Town to Cairo – Reality or Illusion,” Michael Kende, Analysys Mason, August 23 2012.

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