DESPITE the berth of about 16 submarine cable systems in
As at today, report has it that the total capacity in sub-Saharan African submarine cable systems increased by 71 per cent over the last five years, with the availability of over 25Tb/s bandwidth capacity.
Speaking at a global press conference, in Johannebourg,
Kundsee, who decried this situation, said this development was not good for a continent with huge emerging market potential. He stressed that the availability of bandwidth in
A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean. The first submarine communications cables laid in the 1850s, carried telegraphy traffic. Subsequent generations of cables carried telephone traffic, then data communications traffic. Modern cables use optical fiber technology to carry digital data, which includes telephone, Internet and private data traffic.
Modern cables are typically 69 millimetres (2.7 in) in diameter and weigh around 10 kilograms per metre (7 lb/ft), although thinner and lighter cables are used for deep-water sections.
Kundsee, who said the continent's booming mobile market holds greater advantage for content creation and more utilization of bandwidth capacity, disclosed that
The SAP Africa COO called for increased technology applications across all sectors of the economy in
According to him, challenges facing the African wholesale capacity market include limited fixed broadband deployment compared to other markets; slow growth of mobile Internet (still mostly 2G), adding that strong control over terrestrial backhaul segments must be overcome to enhance capacity distribution.
Indeed, in one of her interviews with The Guardian, the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne Cables,
Opeke said MainOne was yet to utilise five per cent of its cable capacities, and that the same was applicable to other cable operators like Glo 1, and MTN WACS.
The MainOne CEO lamented a situation where
Glo 1, operated by Globacom, with capacity of 640 Gbit/s, covering distance of 10,000 km from
MTN's West African Cable System (WACS) commenced operation in 2011, and is delivered to
All these broadband capacities, Opeke said, remained at the shores of the country, with less than 10 per cent utilisation. She however said the cable operators were able to reduce cost of bandwidth in the wholesale market, but that the retail market, which affects the consumers directly, still operate high cost of bandwidth.
According to her, there should be infrastructure framework policy in
"Government should step in, look at existing infrastructure and set a regulatory policy that will enable people buy bandwidth at a government determined price, instead of each operator building its own backbone and putting its own price," Opeke said.
Bates said seven major new submarine cable systems have been completed in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2009, and several more are planned. This development has transformed the availability of bandwidth in coastal regions, and competition between cable operators is leading to a rapid reduction in the price-per-megabit-per-second to end users.
However, he noted that the availability of abundant, inexpensive fibre capacity on the coasts of
For this, he said the continent will also need; international terrestrial links to bring connectivity to landlocked countries (of which there are 16 in the region); national fibre networks to link population centres to the international gateways and local broadband networks to deliver 'last mile' connectivity.
Bates noted in his report that 35 of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have no competition among national fibre providers; eight have limited competition - that is, two providers besides the mobile companies, usually the incumbent fixed-line operator and either the government or the electricity transmission company.
"Only five countries (
"In countries that lack effective competition, fibre connectivity in cities that are far removed from submarine cable landing stations often costs five or six times as much as it does at the landing station", he stated.
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