Telecoms developments in Africa – July 2016

July 5th, 2016, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


Broadband for southern Africa

Avanti Communications Group signed a two-year contract extension with Imarasat, to enable growth in consumer, SME and enterprise markets across 14 countries in southern Africa. The company will target SME markets in countries such as Kenya. Roughly 1,1-million Kenyan SMEs contribute 45% to its economy. Nearly 75% of them don’t have internet and are unable to benefit from the growth and productivity gains that broadband offers. 32% of SMEs are outside of 3G broadband coverage and are suited to satellite broadband services from Imarasat and Avanti.

Phase 3 NBI/EGI begins in Uganda

NITA-Uganda is implementing Phase 3 of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and eGovernment Infrastructure (NBI/EGI), which involves the installation of optical fibre to connect the Katuna and Mutukula border points and to complete the Kyenjojo – Masindi OFC link. Phase 1 connected Kampala, Mukono, Jinja, Bombo and Entebbe and 27 government ministries and departments to a 198 km network of optical fibre. Phase 2 saw 1400 km of optical fibre cable connecting Busia, Tororo, Mbale, Malaba, Kumi, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Elegu, Masindi, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, Kasese, Bushenyi and Mbarara.

New investor for Broadband for Africa

InfraMed is now a 21% shareholder in “Broadband for Africa”, the venture set up by Eutelsat to provide satellite broadband services on the African continent. With the investment, InfraMed can focus on opportunities in regions characterised by dynamic demographics and infrastructure insufficiency. By using satellite technologies, the venture will offer telcos, ISPs and government agencies a solution to get more Africans online. Broadband for Africa will deploy affordable broadband connectivity in Africa using leased Ka-band capacity on Spacecom’s AMOS-6 satellite, and then resources of its own high throughput satellite, to be launched in 2019. The venture will develop direct-to-user consumer and enterprise broadband services and provide community networks connected to WiFi hotspots, mobile phone backhauling and rural connectivity.

MTN Nigeria’s fibre backbone reaches 12 490 km

MTN Nigeria expanded its national fibre optic network to 12 490 km, completed in March 2016, according to Hamilton Research. MTN Nigeria also launched aerial fibre for its backbone and IP/MPLS network via third party provider Phase 3 Telecom. The partnership brings its total terrestrial fibre infrastructure network to over 21 000 km. MTN Nigeria plans to deploy another 2300 km of fibre network during 2016/7, including a new national fibre route of 495 km and a 2000 km expansion of the aerial fibre network. It also plans a fibre-to-the-site roll-out from Q3 2016 to cater for the increase in traffic brought by the deployment of LTE.

Grant for environmental adaptation of broadband

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the government of the Republic of Cameroon signed an agreement under which the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide a grant of US $1 726 484 to support environmental adaptation of the Central Africa fibre optic backbone project. The grant builds on a EUR 37,4-million loan provided by AfDB to the government of Cameroon last July to finance the Central Africa Backbone – Cameroon component project. The project addresses issues of regional fibre-optic connectivity while initiating new ICT services and applications and extending ICT usage and skills in Cameroon. It will reduce the impact of the high cost of telecommunications/ICT on the business climate in the sub-region, create jobs and expand the availability of e-services.

Kenya internet exchange point in Mombasa

The African Union Commission (AUC), the Infrastructure and Energy Department, and the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology of Kenya launched the Kenya internet exchange point of presence in Mombasa in June 2016. Through the African internet exchange system project of the AUC, member states with internet exchange points increased from 18 to 32. The commission has provided grants to six internet exchange points to become regional internet exchange points. These four areas will be supported; capacity building, the KIXP site in Mombasa, the GSM regional exchange, and promotion of KIXP as a regional internet exchange.

Internet exchange points improve connections

Seacom added new internet exchange points in Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Durban (South Africa) to its list of peering agreements in Africa, which enhance the performance for clients when they connect to web services in Europe and across Africa. Seacom’s IP transit network offers African service providers direct connectivity to partner networks in Europe. The company has PoPs in Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt and Marseille. Much Africa’s international traffic goes into and comes out of Europe, Seacom is now positioned to provide a better experience for the continent’s growing population of broadband users.

Djibouti launches submarine cable system

Djibouti concluded a deal for the construction and maintenance of a regional submarine cable system. The agreement for the Djibouti-Africa regional express (DARE) was signed with seven telecom service providers from the Horn and East Africa and the Middle East. Spanning 5 500 km, DARE connect Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Mogadishu, Bossaso, Berbera, Mocha and Djibouti. The project is expected to be completed by May 2018. TE SubCom was awarded the supplier contract, which will provide additional protection and diversity to existing heavily congested undersea cable systems. The 100 G cable system will deliver more than 60 Tbps of capacity.

Free internet for national libraries

Kenya’s public libraries will deliver free internet to 500 000+ library members. Liquid Telecom Kenya and the Communications Authority of Kenya connected 46 branches of Kenya’s national libraries services (KNLS), meaning access to information, e-government services, research, education services and employment opportunities. The Communications Authority is the main financier of the project and the connections were possible through Liquid Telecom Kenya’s investment in infrastructure. The 26 of the 46 KNLS branches already had internet infrastructure built by Liquid Telecom Kenya. Each branch has a membership of around 10 000 users a year, while the headquarters in Nairobi has nearly 100 000 a year. The libraries will be connected to one another through the cloud private automatic branch exchange (PABX), setting up open phone lines between all the branches using Voice over IP.




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