Sep 21, 2012
Competing treaties, regional standards hampering connectivityBack
Construction|Africa|Analysys Mason|Cable|Projects|Seacom|Systems|Africa|Advocacy|Carrier-neutral Data Centres|Intelligent Internet Protocol Networks|Internet Exchange Points|Internet Traffic|Internet-traffic Transit|Network Operator|Product|Systems|Telecommunications|Telecommunications Entities|Aidan Baigrie|Michael Kende|Cable|Cables|Intelligent Internet Protocol
© Reuse this
Common markets had shared business interests in supplying cross-border connectivity demand and the role that incumbent operators play in shaping increased connectivity among African countries was significant, they said.
Partnerships between terrestrial providers should be established to improve piecemeal procurement economics and to provide integrated service-level agreements across territories. Quality and price are determining factors for both African and international companies exploring opportunities on the continent, said undersea cable and network operator Seacom head of business development Aidan Baigrie.
“Affordability unlocks demand. It has been demonstrated between 2009 and 2012 that as prices decrease, elasticity drives up demand. There have been multiple price declines in Africa during that period, but the business case for telecommunications in Africa remained strong,” he said.
However, regulation was essential to create the necessary level of peering to enable affordable data transfers and single-agreement regimes. Africa should strive to act as a union to provide standard regulations and not replicate separate initiatives in different countries, driving up prices and creating bottlenecks between countries, he explained.
“Key to improving African connectivity is the fostering of connectivity between different telecommunications entities and operators, as well as establish carrier-neutral data centres, Internet exchange points for local peering and intelligent Internet Protocol networks.
“Local peering systems will drive up regional connectivity, enabling governments to leverage this to provide e-services according to international best practices,” advocated Baigrie.
State policy alignment was needed to establish a clear vision and an action plan for all players, including incumbents and regulators. The role of affordable pricing must also be taken into account because the potential demand that could be generated was large, he said.
There was a need to reduce terrestrial bandwidth costs because of the significant growth in internationally connected cable capacity to Africa, but this was not being used, owing to the hefty prices of terrestrial cross-border connections, which cost the continent about $12-billion in 2010.
“Sixteen countries in Africa are landlocked, but networks in place can benefit from providing greater access to subsea cables for Internet service providers in those countries and provide redundancy for those service providers,” said technology advisory firm Analysys Mason partner Michael Kende.
“A challenge is the limited capacity in Africa and the need to increase the availability of and access to terrestrial cross-border fibre. However, incumbent operators often object to creating these connections. This is where an independent regulator would be immune to lobbying by incumbent operators and craft regulations that benefit the whole industry, as well as support principles of open access in industry to reduce costs,” he explained.
“Transit costs across neighbours to access undersea cables add up for small economies and a backhaul fibre construction projects are difficult to justify economically, especially for the small capacities required. However, deploying terrestrial fibre backbones to enable mobile base station to base station connectivity is viable and can provide excess capacity for use as national long-haul or transit to neighbours. This solves the problems of connecting small towns and connecting to neighbours,” said Seacom head of product strategy Suveer Ramdhani.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other ICT News
Updated 7 hours ago Responding in writing to a recent Parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has provided an update for each of the country’s 13 bus-rapid transport (BRT) systems, noting that each network is at a different stage of...
Updated 7 hours ago The South African Real Estate Investment Trust (SA Reit) Association has called on the Competition Commission to intervene in undesirable exclusivity clauses in retail leases that were allowing retailers to stifle market share. The association’s members, which...
Updated 7 hours ago The first of a series of 15 public debates exploring options for the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) was officially inaugurated at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Governance this week. In association with the Oliver and...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...