Africa: Africa’s Terrestrial Transmission Network Reaches 1 Million Kilometres During 2015

Africa’s total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks has more than doubled in the last five years, and passed the milestone of 1 million route-kms during 2015. The seventh annual edition of the Africa Telecom Transmission Map published by Hamilton Research shows that by June 2015, the inventory had increased to 1,019,649-km. This compared to 958,901-km in 2014, 905,259-km in 2013, 732,815-km in 2012, 660,230-km in 2011, and 585,468-km in 2010.

Operational Fibre Inventory Reaches 622,930-Km

This total network inventory includes both terrestrial microwave and fibre networks which are operational, under construction, planned and proposed. By June 2015 the amount of operational fibre optic network had increased to 622,930-km, compared to 331,066-km in 2010. In addition, there was in June 2015 a further 90,821-km of fibre optic network under construction, 87,323-km planned, and 71,831-km proposed.

Approximately one-fifth of the total fibre inventory is within cities: of the inventory of 622,930–km of operational terrestrial fibre in June 2015, at least 112,967-km was metropolitan fibre rings and FTTH/B (fibre-to-the-home/ building) networks. In addition, there is at least a further 40,938-km of metropolitan fibre rings and FTTH/B networks which are currently under construction.

These 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 fibre bandwidth right to the door (see also Africa: 91,182-Km of Metro/ FTTH/ FTTB Fibre Network in Africa, and Counting…).

Certainly the deployment of FTTH/B is a significant driver in the growth of international Internet bandwidth, which surpassed 3 Tbps mark during 2014, with business and residential subscribers able to access broadband speeds of up to 30 Mbps or 100 Mbps (see Africa: Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 3 Tbps In 2014, On Target For 4.5 Tbps By Dec 2015).

Click here for larger view. To order your copy of the 2015/6 Africa Telecom Transmission Map click here.

The 2015/6 Africa Telecom Transmission Map is sponsored by Liquid Telecom. Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the dozens of network operators for providing information, and the following organisations for their input and advice into the research and production of this map: Africa Analysis, Balancing Act, ECCAS, ECOWAS, Europa Technologies, Liquid Telecom, WIOCC and the World Bank.

Fibre Reach: 45.8% Of Sub-Saharan Africa Within Reach Of Fibre Networks

The landing of new submarine cables and expansion of terrestrial transmission networks is bringing additional countries, regions, cities and towns within reach of fibre networks for the first time. In the last five years, network expansion has brought more than 176 million more people within access to high capacity national and international backbone networks. In June 2015, 45.8% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (436 million) was within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This compared to 44% (410 million) in 2014, 41.8% (371 million) in 2013, 40% (345 million) in 2012, 36.3% (313 million) in 2011, and 30.8% (259 million) in 2010.

For example in Burundi, Burundi Backbone System (BBS) has completed the 1,300-km national fibre backbone, which includes multiple cross-border fibre links to neighbouring Rwanda and Tanzania (see Burundi: BBS Completes Third Phase Of National Backbone Rollout). In Kenya, the second phase of the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) is due to be completed by the end of 2015, extending the national backbone by 1,600-km to reach all 47 country headquarters (see Kenya: Roll Out of NOFBI Phase II Progresses, Scheduled For Completion End 2015). In December 2014, Liquid Telecom announced that it had laid 4,200-km of fibre optic network in Kenya, connecting 39 out of the 47 counties.

Once the fibre network which is currently under construction enters service, the fibre reach of Sub-Saharan Africa will increase to 48.1% (458 million), and once the network which is planned or proposed enters service it will increase to 53.7% (511 million). In Sierra Leone, the 660-km fibre backbone which will also have cross-border fibre links to neighbouring Liberia and Guinea is due for completion by the end of the year (see Sierra Leone: National Fibre Backbone Rollout Progresses, Due For Completion December 2015). And in Guinea, construction work has started on the 4,000-km national fibre backbone, which will cover 84 administrative centres, and is scheduled to be completed within two years (see Guinea Conakry: Huawei Begins Deployment of 4,000-Km National Fibre Backbone in Guinea).

In Botswana, BOFINET extended the national fibre backbone by more than 1,000-km in the last year reaching dozens of new towns and villages, and plans to build a further 1,000-km during 2015-16 (see Botswana: BOFINET Completes 325-Km Fibre Link From Sehitwa - Mohembo). In Ghana, NITA completed the 680-km Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic project, connecting 120 communities along the route from Ho to Bawku via Yendi (see Ghana: President Announces Completion Of 800-Km Eastern Corridor Fibre Optic Network From Ho To Bawku). And in Niger, Sonitel completed links from Birnin N’Konni to Tahoua, from Birnin N’Konni - Maradi – Zinder, and from Maradi – Dan Issa, bringing the national fibre backbone to 1,037-km (see Niger: Sonitel Starts Construction Of 120-Km Fibre Link From Niamey To Tillabéry).

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