52 African countries are now connected to submarine cables, either directly or by terrestrial cross-border fibre optic networks. 44% of Africans live within a 25-km reach of a fibre node. But which cities and suburbs now have fibre-to-the-home, and how many homes and offices are plugged directly into the world’s fibre optic backbone?
Africa’s inventory of terrestrial transmission networks has more than doubled in the last five years. As Africa’s total inventory of transmission network edges towards 1 million route kilometres, the continent had a total of 586,707-km of operational fibre optic network by December 2014 according to latest research by Africa Bandwidth Maps. This comprises of long-haul, metropolitan and FTTH/B (fibre-to-the-home/building) terrestrial fibre optic networks.
Of this inventory of 586,707–km of operational terrestrial fibre, at least 91,182-km was within cities: metropolitan fibre rings and FTTH/B networks. The metro rings distribute bandwidth from fibre optic nodes to districts and suburbs around each city. The FTTH/B networks provide the last mile access, delivering the bandwidth right to the door.
Terrestrial Fibre Reaches 44% of Africa’s Population
This network expansion has brought dozens of new towns, cities and countries within reach of high capacity national and international fibre backbone networks for the first time. Over the last five years, more than 150 million more Africans live within reach of fibre networks.
By June 2014, 44% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa (410 million) lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This compared to 41.8% of the population (371 million) in 2013, 40.0% (345 million) in 2012, 36.3% (313 million) in 2011, and 30.8% (259 million) in 2010. The number of people within reach of a broadband service provided by fibre depends on the range of the fixed or wireless broadband access network used from the fibre node. In December 2014, 65.1% of the population (606 million people) lived within a 50-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This distance of 50-km is the maximum theoretical range of a WiMAX network. 44.0% of the population (410 million) lived within a 25-km range, and 22.3% of the population (207 million) lived within a 10-km range of an operational fibre network node.
The new measurements now are how many people are within a zero kilometre reach of a fibre backbone. How many homes, public and commercial buildings are plugged directly into the fibre optic backbone?
FTTH Council Africa Survey
The FTTH Council Africa, in partnership with Africa Bandwidth Maps, announces its intention to conduct annual research to track FTTH/B penetration. Measuring penetration is critical to understand how the industry is progressing. The research will take place in the form of a short survey and will attempt to document as many metro and FTTH/B networks as possible. The aim is to determine network reach and ultimately understand how many homes, public and commercial buildings are connected and the rate at which this is growing. If we know this we will better understand what still needs to be done. We would like to see all African operators participate to ensure technical accuracy of the data. The results will, over time, also establish trends and this information is important for the industry.
The survey is now open for network operators to add your network locations on to the map, and to update details on the progress of your FTTH roll-out. The results for Q1 2015 will be compiled in April 2015. To make sure that your network information is included, and to receive a summary of findings, please complete the survey by 31 March 2015.
To complete the short survey please click here:
The information gathered in this research will be used to compile statistical indicators of FTTH/B penetration in Africa, and to keep the map of metro/ FTTH/ FTTB networks as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
The FTTH fibre map displays the metropolitan, FTTH and FTTB networks which are currently operational. To date, the map contains and 191 cities, towns and suburbs served by a total of 76 network operators, providing Metro/ FTTH/ FTTx services in sub-Saharan Africa. Use the map to click on a city or suburb to find more information on the network operators providing service, in many cases with operators providing their own interactive coverage maps, coverage checkers, and/ or a form to register interest to receive service.
About FTTH Council Africa
The FTTH Council Africa believes that the development and deployment of fibre based broadband networks will enhance the quality of life for citizens in South Africa and Africa as a whole, providing African countries with a future proof infrastructure which will increase their effectiveness and competitiveness within the global marketplace. The council’s charter is to educate Africa governments, policy makers and political leaders on why and how high speed fibre connectivity can be delivered to citizens within the coming years. Through consultation with all major stakeholders and understanding their strategies and concerns, we endeavour to be the voice of the industry and to help create a better future for all involved.
About Africa Bandwidth Maps
Africa Bandwidth Maps is maintained by Hamilton Research Ltd, a specialist provider of research, analysis and GIS cartographic services for telecom markets. Hamilton Research Ltd has researched Africa’s fibre optic network infrastructure for over ten years, publishes the Africa Telecom Transmission Map, and maintains a quarterly updated database of Africa’s transmission networks.
Hamilton Research Ltd.,
Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road,
Bath BA1 7DE, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1225 852554
Fax: +44 (0)1225 852528