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Africa’s International Bandwidth Jumps To 1.479 Tbps

Africa’s international Internet bandwidth sailed past the 1 Tbps mark during 2012, and jumped by 84% to reach 1.479 Tbps by December 2012. Africa previously reached 802 Gbps in December 2011 (Africa’s International Bandwidth Approaches 1 Tbps Mark), 500 Gbps in December 2010 (see Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 500 Gbps Mark), and the 100 Gbps mark during 2008.

The increase seen during 2012 was driven principally by growth across Sub-Saharan Africa: the total of 1.479 Tbps was split between Sub Saharan Africa, which increased by 127% to reach 821 Gbps by December 2012, and North Africa which increased by 50% to reach 658 Gbps.

Africa Telecom Transmission Map 2013/4

This figure of 821 Gbps for Sub-Saharan Africa is still just a fraction of the total design capacity of 25.8 Tbps on the 16 submarine cables which now serve the region.

The most notable increase was in Kenya, with the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) reporting total used inbound bandwidth of 328.641 Gbps in December 2012. Excluding Kenya, the average growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa was 59%, with total bandwidth for other countries in the region increasing from 309 Gbps in December 2011 to 492 Gbps in December 2012.

A key factor underpinning this bandwidth growth has been the expansion of national and international terrestrial fibre networks inland. The completion of new cross-border networks increased the volume of international bandwidth on cross-border networks 10 Gbps during 2012, to over 40 Gbps by December 2012.

As the fifth edition of the Africa Telecom Transmission Map shows, this is bringing high capacity national and international fibre backbone networks to dozens of new towns and cities for the first time, increasing the number of people with access to broadband networks.


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Fibre Reach Increases By 25 Million

In the last year alone, an additional 25 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa were brought within reach of a fibre optic node. Of this total increase of 25 million, 6.5 million people were within range of a new submarine cable landing point, and 18.5 million within range of a terrestrial fibre optic node. The table below shows that the percentage of population within a 25-km range of an operational (terrestrial) fibre node increased from 40.0% to 41.8% in the last year, from 345.1 million people to 370.9 million.

Over the last three years since July 2010, an additional 112 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa have been brought within reach of a live fibre optic node. In July 2010 there were 259.3 million people within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic node. By July 2013 this had increased to 370.9 million.

Fibre Reach: Population Within Reach Of Operational Fibre Networks, Sub-Saharan Africa 2010 – 2013

 Year% Popn 10-km% Popn 25-km% Popn 50-kmPopn 10-kmPopn 25-kmPopn 50-km
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJul-1015.6%30.8%47.7%131,230,412259,327,721401,057,432
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJul-1118.6%36.3%56.1%160,608,284313,212,515483,931,088
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJul-1220.2%40.0%60.6%173,906,195345,115,390522,300,323
Terrestrial Fibre NodeJul-1321.2%41.8%62.9%187,548,636370,889,029557,579,622
Change, July 2011 - July 2012+ 1.0%+ 1.8%+ 2.3%+ 13,642,441+ 25,773,639+ 35,279,299

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Hamilton Research is a specialist provider of research, analysis and GIS cartographic services for telecom markets in Africa and other developing regions. We undertake customised research and consulting projects for a range of clients, with projects ranging from the research and production of maps-to-order and the development of market metrics.

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