The delivery and uptake of broadband services by both businesses and consumers in Africa is gathering momentum although access to international capacity remains a problem.
This is according to new research, “Africa’s Emerging Wireless Access and Broadband Markets,” soon to be released by BMI-TechKnowledge.
According to the report's co-author Maxwell Chanakira, access to international capacity remains an inhibiting factor to the overall development of broadband services on the continent, with the notable exception of northern Africa.
A number of terrestrial and submarine cables planned for construction across Africa in the next eighteen months are expected to boost growing broadband access demands on backbone capacity substantially, while also contributing significantly to lower prices.
Northern African countries Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia and South Africa continue to lead the way in the adoption of ADSL technology on the continent with the number of subscribers in these regions expected to exceed 4,4-million customers in 2011. Going forward, fixed wireless access and cellular access technologies are expected to play an increasingly important role in broadband services.
"African states that already have extensive copper networks are expected to maximize this investment. In East Africa, the adoption rates for ADSL have been comparatively slow, with Sudan and Kenya at the forefront in this region," says Chanakira.
"West Africa is increasing its uptake of ADSL with Nigeria and Senegal as leading countries. Central Africa appears to be the region that is lagging behind the rest of the continent in upgrading to ADSL connections."
By 2011, BMI-T predicts that the dial-up market in Africa will decline to 1,9-million subscribers as the number of DSL connections rises to the region of 5,4 -million, while total wireless (both cellular and fixed wireless) connections rise to 5,2-million. The total five-year cumulative capex for broadband infrastructure is expected to reach $1,2 billion by 2011.
Regarding the undersea cables, construction on the Seacom cable is already under construction, and is expected to be operational by 2009. Business Day reports that a submarine survey has begun for the EASSy cable and expects it to be commissioned by 2010.