The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is providing grant funding for a feasibility study to evaluate the technical and economic viability of expanding Dark Fibre Africa’s (DFA’s) fibre network into periurban and rural areas.
The study will support efforts by the wholesale open-access fibre infrastructure and connectivity provider to expand reliable and affordable Internet access and digital services to underserved populations living outside of South Africa’s major urban centres.
The USTDA-funded study will also model sustainable business cases and scenarios for delivering connectivity infrastructure for customers in these markets.
“USTDA has a strong record of supporting South Africa’s top infrastructure priorities and this is particularly the case in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, where US companies offer high quality, innovative solutions,” said USTDA acting director Enoh Ebong.
Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission in South Africa Todd Haskell added that the US government is committed to building stronger ties between South Africa and the US through the work of agencies like USTDA.
“We recognise the transformative impact that digital connectivity can have on the South African people, which is why we are fully supportive of this initiative. Investing in secure and reliable connectivity will also strengthen the resiliency of South Africa’s economy.”
“USTDA’s feasibility study will help shape how we extend Internet access and digital infrastructure to the less connected,” said DFA chief strategy, mergers and acquisitions and innovation officer Vino Govender.
“We are taking a holistic approach. By aggregating demand for digital services using shared infrastructure, we believe we can create a business case for connecting customers in underserved areas.”
The project also supports Access Africa, USTDA’s initiative to support the development of inclusive, secure and sustainable ICT across Africa, and the US government’s Prosper Africa initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa.