Terrestrial Network Rollout Increases Africa’s Fibre Reach By 54 Million

In the twelve months since July 2010, an additional 45,498-km of terrestrial fibre optic network has entered service across Africa, according to the latest additions to the Africa Telecom Transmission Map. Dozens of new towns and cities have been reached by fibre networks for the first time, increasing the number of people with access to high capacity national and international backbone networks. This roll out of terrestrial networks in the last year has brought an additional 53.885 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa within reach of an operational fibre node, more than the population of South Africa (1).

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, the table below shows that the percentage of population within a 25-km range of an operational (terrestrial) fibre node increased from 30.8% to 36.3% in the last year, from 259.328 million people to 313.213 million. Almost half of the additional 53.885 million people were in East Africa: the expansion of fibre networks in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania for example increased the number of people within reach of an operational fibre node by 25.645 million between them.

Table: Population Within Reach Of Operational Fibre Networks, Sub-Saharan Africa 2010 – 2011

 Year% Popn 10-km% Popn 25-km% Popn 50-kmPopn 10-kmPopn 25-kmPopn 50-km
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJuly 201015.6%30.8%47.7%131,230,412259,327,721401,057,432
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJuly 201118.6%36.3%56.1%160,608,284313,212,515483,931,088
Change, July 2010 - July 2011
Submarine Cable Landing PointJuly 20101.8%4.4%5.9%15,228,65737,435,94549,784,793
Submarine Cable Landing PointJuly 20111.8%4.4%5.9%15,228,65737,435,94549,784,793
Change, July 2010 - July 2011------

Source: Hamilton Research.
Notes: (1) South Africa’s population was 50.59 million in July 2011 (source: Stats SA, Mid-Year Population Estimates). (2) A country-by-country breakdown of these data for fibre reach are published as datasets for subscribers.

Whilst the fibre networks under deployment enter service, the inventory of new fibre networks going into construction has meanwhile continued to grow. The amount of fibre network which is currently under construction has increased by 15,975-km during the last year, from 45,391-km in July 2010 to 61,365-km in July 2011. When in turn this fibre which is under construction enters service over the months to come, the total population within reach of a fibre network will increase again, by a further 41.891 million to reach 355.104 million (41.2% of the population).

Over the same period, the reach of submarine cables has remained the same at 4.4% of the population (37.436 million). Although the Main-1 and GLO-1 cables have entered service during the year, they land in cities that were already served by submarine cables (Lagos and Accra). When the WACS cable enters service it will be the first to land in Namibia, DRC, Congo and Togo. This will be followed by ACE (which will be the first to land in Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe), LION2 will be the first to land in Mayotte, and the SEAS cable will be the first to land in Seychelles. Once these four cables enter service, the total population within a 25-km range of a submarine cable landing station will increase by 9 million, from 37.436 million to 46.625 million (see also Submarine Cables Reach 4.4% of Africa’s Population, Terrestrial Fibre Networks Reach 31%).


Africa Telecom Transmission Map Updates Q2, 2011

By July 2011, Africa’s total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks reached 660,230-km, compared to 585,468-kms in June 2010 and 465,659 in June 2009. A total of 372 changes were made to terrestrial transmission networks on the map during the second quarter of 2011, with key changes made to the map in Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Mauritania, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This included 12,342.6-km of operational fibre, 6,820.9-km of fibre under construction, 439.2-km of fibre which was planned, and 283.1-km of fibre which was proposed. A further 4,039-km of microwave network was either added or edited to the map.

Fibre Long Haul

Cross-Border Routes

Submarine Cables



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© Hamilton Research Ltd 2023.

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