There are many projects taking off in Africa at the moment with a vision of increasing connectivity across the continent.
Google has announced the launch of a Metronet in Kampala, Uganda, which is designed to open up the market. In an effort to make an impact on the ecosystem of the internet in Africa, Google will invest somewhere between US$12-14 million in a 600 to 700 kilometre fibre Metronet that covers most of Greater Kampala, stretching from Entebbe towards Jinja across one axis.
Kenya needs Google Fiber, real-world speeds at 700 Mbps; http://t.co/8wFO9e0P
— ROOSEVELT (@david_ngeru) November 14, 2012
“The aim is to connect every building or base station ISPs or operators want to get to. The number of kilometres laid increases every day as we keep extending the network” said Google’s Access Field Director, Kai Wulff. The network is being built by a local sub-contractor and supervised by a regional partner familiar with building fibre networks. “The network is being operated by a 100% Google owned subsidiary that is either selling capacity or dark fibre: “We want to be profitable but we are not extracting the most we could out of the asset.”
In Kenya, Safaricom is implementing a high-quality fibre Digital City project which will connect public and commercial buildings in Nairobi and surrounding areas, with the grid, for free. This is a $40million project which has laid 600 kilometres of fibre so far, with another 500 kilometres planned in coming months.
Seacom, which has a network that covers major centres across Africa’s eastern edge and SA, with IP PoPs in SA, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya – as well as extensions across borders and into landlocked central countries – is planning on expanding into nine more markets throughout Africa. They are also looking to evolve from providing single fibre cables into becoming a fully-fledged network next year.
Convergence, a private equity company based in South Africa is also planning to invest $250 million on telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria and West Africa next year. Bandwidth capacity in the region has grown in the last four years with the addition of three international submarine fibre connections compared to only one that existed before 2010. Nigeria saw its bandwidth increase about 26-fold to more than 9,000 gigabytes per second, but much of that remains stranded in the cities where the nodes landed due to a lack of infrastructure to distribute it.
All these projects show an increased commitment to grow telecoms infrastructure and connectivity across the continent, opening up markets and stimulating the potential that Africa holds.