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Panel of experts sees increase in African capacity as good business case for telcos

August 13, 2012  »  BroadbandNo Comment

The latest issue of WIOCC’s thought-leadership e-bulletin, Connected, explores the business case for investing in Africa following major improvements in high-capacity terrestrial connectivity. Although the newsletter tends to encourage business partnership with WIOCC, much of the content can be taken in an unbiased context.

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July 2012’s question is: “what is the reality for organisations seeking to ride the wave of increasing prosperity in a continent powered by major improvements in high-capacity, international and terrestrial connectivity, and is there a good business case for telcos to be investing in the continent Q3/4 2012?”

Snippets of the responses are below:

Clearly there is a link between the significant increase in international subsea capacity and the appetite for investment in Africa by companies that are dependent on ICT communications.” – Martin Phelps, AT&T Director, Strategy & Market Development

Telcos can expect improved regulatory structures with time, which may work in favour of smaller niche and specialist players.” – Diarmid Massey, Cable&Wireless Worldwide Managing Director, Wholesale & Carrier business

There are about a dozen or so countries in Sub-Saharan African which might be called ‘fast-track’ countries, where a combination of good market conditions and reasonable regulation offer significant opportunities.” – Russell Southwood, Balancing Act, Chief Executive

Analysys Mason estimated that there were only 18.3 million broadband connections in SSA at the end of 2011, and that the total will reach 50.2 million by 2016…Growth in the Sub-Saharan Africa region will continue to outpace that in other parts of the world. However, the need to expand networks to lesspopulated areas, the price sensitivity of new end users and mobile market saturation in urban areas will pose threats to operators’ profitability.” – Roz Roseboro, Analysys Mason Lead Analyst, Middle East and Africa research programme

Internet connectivity is deploying rapidly, and is set to play a central role in transformation of social, cultural, economic and political environments.” – Andrew Croft, African Review of Business and Technology, Managing Editor

In addition, WIOCC has plans to upgrade the EASSy cable. According to CEO Chris Wood, the cable is likely to be upgraded by as much as a terabit in the next 12 to 18 months. 160 Gbps of capacity was added in January 2012, but more is needed to address the increasing bandwidth demand.

About WIOCC: Operating as a wholesaler, WIOCC offers carriers affordable and reliable connectivity to over 400 locations across 20 southern and eastern African countries – utilizing more than 50,000km of terrestrial fibre and 40,000km of submarine fibre-optic cable. WIOCC owns 30% of the 10,000km EASSy (East African Submarine System) fibre-optic submarine cable.