Terrestrial fibre infrastructure investments vital to Africa’s digital economy growth

Panelists Africa Panel Session ITW 2019 MainOneExperts at the 2019 ‘Africa Panel Session’ of the International Telecoms Week (ITW) in Atlanta, USA, discussed the importance of infrastructure investments in local Internet exchanges and terrestrial networks as being instrumental in facilitating the development and growth of Africa’s digital economy

Presenting on the theme “Enabling Africa’s Digital Economy”, Patrick Christian, principal analyst at Telegeography, evaluated the African digital economy, noting that the study of global trends show Africa maintaining its position as the fastest growing region in Internet usage through data volumes remain shockingly lower than other parts of the world.

Christian underscored the importance of the role played by content providers such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook in driving Internet traffic and the expectation that their traffic on the continent will increase with the growth of Africa’s digital economy.

It is expected that having more content starting to reside and be exchanged within Africa will add tremendous benefits to the ecosystem.

A panel that included high-level representation from MainOne, Google, Avanti Plc, Angola Cables, CSquared Africa, and WIOCC engaged in compelling discourse that highlighted these and other major development factors in Africa’s digital economy.

The dialogue centred on the notion that the development of the terrestrial network is vital to growing the digital economies of all African countries. A point further emphasised by MainOne’s CEO, Funke Opeke, who stated that the organisation is working in Lagos State of Nigeria to enable digital transformation through the deployment of 2500 km of fibre across the State, adding to the almost 1000 km of fibre currently deployed.

Opeke stated, “Our immediate focus is to ensure we have fibre to the towers, fibre to schools, health care facilities, and other government agencies, fibre to the enterprise/business districts, and with a density to reach within one km of the majority of citizens in Lagos. We envisage having network density whereby over 60 per cent of the population is within one km of fibre access with the planned deployment.”

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