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Africa: Africa’s Operational Fibre Optic Network Reaches 1 Million Route Kilometres

Africa’s total inventory of operational fibre optic network reached the milestone of 1 million kilometres in the last year, increasing the number of people living within reach of a fibre optic node in Sub-Saharan Africa to 584 million people. More broadband customers, with more bandwidth per customer, continues to drive Africa’s international Internet bandwidth growth along an exponential curve, reaching 10.962 Tbps by December 2018.

Terrestrial Fibre Networks Reach 1.025 Million Route-Km

According to the eleventh annual edition of the Africa Telecom Transmission Map published by Hamilton Research for 2019/20, the inventory of operational fibre optic network reached 1,025,441-km by June 2019 compared to 936,102-km in 2018, 820,397-km in 2017, 762,167-km in 2016, 622,930-km in 2015, and 564,091-km in 2014. Ten years ago in June 2009, the total fibre inventory was 278,056-km (see chart 1 below). In the twelve months since June 2018, an additional 88,339-km of fibre optic network has entered service, an average of 244-km of new fibre optic network entering service per day. In addition, there was in June 2019 a further 132,088-km of fibre optic network under construction, 89,610-km planned, and 50,159-km proposed.

The eleventh edition of the Africa Transmission Map shows the networks which are operational, under construction, planned and proposed for a total of 317 network operators and 65 submarine cable systems. Africa’s total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks increased to 1,474,983-km by June 2019, compared to 1,389,475-km by June 2018, 1,254,413-km in 2017, 1,179,010-km in 2016, 1,019,649-km in 2015, and 958,901-km in 2014. Ten years ago in June 2009, the total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks was 465,659-km.

Chart 1: Route-Kms of Terrestrial Transmission Network, Africa 2009 - 2019
Subscribers can access the route kilometre datasets by logging in.

Fibre Networks Reach Increases To 55.2% Of Sub-Saharan Africa

The expansion of terrestrial transmission networks continues to bring additional countries, regions, cities and towns within reach of fibre networks for the first time. In June 2019, 584 million people lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node, compared to 556 million in June 2018 and 259 million in June 2010.

In June 2019, 55.2% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (584 million) lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This compared to 54.2% (556 million) in 2018, 52.1% (522 million) in 2017, 48.1% (469 million) in 2016, 45.8% (436 million) in 2015, 44% (410 million) in 2014, 41.8% (371 million) in 2013, (345 million) in 2012, 36.3% (313 million) in 2011, and 30.8% (259 million) in 2010. Once the fibre network which is currently under construction enters service, the fibre reach of Sub-Saharan Africa will increase to 56.4% (597 million), and once the network which is planned or proposed enters service it will increase to 61.0% (646 million).

Since 2010, network expansion has brought more than 325 million more people within access to high capacity national and international backbone networks. In the last year an additional 28 million people were brought within 25-km range of an operational fibre node. This included an additional 3.404 million people in Guinea, 3.156 million in Nigeria, 3.026 million in Uganda, 2.068 million in DRC, 1.927 million in Benin, 1.620 million in Kenya, 1.135 million in Madagascar, 1.165 million in Ethiopia, 1.189 million in South Africa, and 1.008 million in Senegal.

2019/20 Africa Telecom Transmission Map

Click here for larger view. To order your copy of the 2019/20 Africa Telecom Transmission Map click here.The 2019/20 Africa Telecom Transmission Map is sponsored by Liquid Telecom.

Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 10.962 Tbps

Africa’s total inbound international Internet bandwidth reached 10.962 Tbps by December 2018. This compared to 8.013 Tbps in 2017, 5.934 Tbps in 2016, 4,506 Tbps in 2015, and 2.982 Tbps in 2014 (see also Africa: Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 7.939 Tbps in 2017). Ten years ago in December 2008, Africa’s total bandwidth was just 115 Gbps.

The chart below shows that the total international bandwidth of 10.962 Tbps was split between Sub-Saharan Africa, which increased by 32% to reach 5.568 Tbps, and North Africa which increased by 42% to reach 5.394 Tbps. Excluding Kenya, which reached 1.142 Tbps in 2018 (source: CA), the total bandwidth for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 34% to reach 4.426 Tbps in December 2018.

Chart 2: Africa International Internet Bandwidth, 2007 - 2018
Click legend items to show or hide data for each region. Subscribers can access the international bandwidth datasets by logging in.

All of Africa’s international bandwidth is supplied by submarine cables, terrestrial networks connected to submarine cables, or satellite. Of the total bandwidth of 5.568 Tbps in Sub-Saharan Africa by December 2018, 5.077 Tbps (91.2%) was supplied directly by submarine cable, and 479 Gbps (8.6%) was supplied by terrestrial cross-border networks connected to submarine cables. Ten years ago in December 2008, the amount of international bandwidth supplied by submarine cable was 102 Gbps.

There is plenty of room for future growth: this figure of 5.077 Tbps is still less than 3% of the total design capacity of at least 226.5 Tbps that is potentially now available on the 26 submarine cables serving the region in December 2018. This total design capacity has increased from 134.5 Tbps on 23 operational cables in 2017, 94.4 Tbps on 20 cables in 2016, 70.4 Tbps on 18 cables in 2015, and 60.3 Tbps on 18 cables in 2014. The increase of 92 Tbps seen during 2018 was with the entry into service of the G2A (20 Tbps), SAIL (32 Tbps), and SACS (40 Tbps) submarine cables. By the end of 2018 nearly a third of the total design capacity on cables (72 Tbps) landing in sub-Saharan Africa (230.5 Tbps) will connect directly to the Americas rather than Europe or Asia.

The amount of bandwidth capacity which is activated (equipped) and sold is increased by increments in line with demand. The completion of new terrestrial cross-border links, and the expansion of capacity on others, has seen the volume of intra-regional traffic backhauled to submarine cable landing points increase by 37% in the last year to reach 479 Gbps in December 2018. This compares to 350 Gbps in 2017, 242 Gbps in 2016, 136 Gbps in 2015, and 103 Gbps in 2014. Ten years ago in December 2008 the amount of international bandwidth supplied by terrestrial cross-border networks connected to submarine cables was just 4 Gbps.

About Us

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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Paul Hamilton
Hamilton Research Ltd.,
Bath Brewery, Toll Bridge Road,
Bath BA1 7DE, UK
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http://www.africabandwidthmaps.com

Printed from: http://www.africabandwidthmaps.com/?p=6158 .
© Hamilton Research Ltd 2019.

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