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Africa: Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 15.289 Tbps

Africa’s total inventory of operational fibre optic network reached the milestone of 1 million kilometres during 2018, increasing the number of people living within reach of a fibre optic node in Sub-Saharan Africa to 620 million people. More broadband customers, with more bandwidth per customer, continues to drive Africa’s international Internet bandwidth growth along an exponential curve, reaching 15.289 Tbps by December 2019

Terrestrial Fibre Networks Reach 1.073 Million Route-Km

According to the twelfth annual edition of the Africa Telecom Transmission Map published by Hamilton Research for 2020/21, the inventory of operational fibre optic network reached 1,072,649-km by June 2020, compared to 1,025,441-km in 2019, 936,102-km in 2018, 820,397-km in 2017, 762,167-km in 2016, and 622,930-km in 2015. Ten years ago in June 2010, the total fibre inventory was 331,066-km (see chart 1 below).

In the twelve months since June 2019, an additional 47,208-km of fibre optic network has entered service, an average of 129-km of new fibre optic network entering service per day. In addition, there was in June 2020 a further 119,496-km of fibre optic network under construction, 95,057-km planned, and 69,702-km proposed.

The twelfth edition of the Africa Transmission Map shows the networks which are operational, under construction, planned and proposed for a total of 323 network operators and 72 submarine cable systems. Africa’s total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks increased to 1,537,257-km by June 2020, compared to 1,474,983-km by June 2019, 1,389,475-km by June 2018, 1,254,413-km in 2017, 1,179,010-km in 2016, and 1,019,649-km in 2015. Ten years ago in June 2010, the total inventory of terrestrial transmission networks was 585,469-km.

Chart 1: Route-Kms of Terrestrial Transmission Network, Africa 2009 - 2020
Subscribers can access the route kilometre datasets by logging in.

Fibre Networks Reach Increases To 55.9% 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 2020, 620 million people lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node, compared to 584 million in June 2019 and 259 million in June 2010.

In June 2020, 55.9% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (620 million) lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This compared to 55.2% (584 million) in 2019, 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 59.6% (631 million), and once the network which is planned or proposed enters service it will increase to 64.1% (679 million).

Since 2010, network expansion has brought more than 361 million more people within access to high capacity national and international backbone networks. In the last year an additional 36 million people were brought within 25-km range of an operational fibre node.

2020/21 Africa Telecom Transmission Map

Click here for larger view. To order your copy of the 2020/21 Africa Telecom Transmission Map click here.The 2020/21 Africa Telecom Transmission Map is sponsored by Liquid Telecom.

Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 15.289 Tbps

Africa’s total inbound international Internet bandwidth reached 15.289 Tbps by December 2019. This compared to 10.996 Tbps in 2018, 8.043 Tbps in 2017, 5.959 Tbps in 2016, and 4.524 Tbps in 2015 (see also Africa: Africa’s International Bandwidth Reaches 7.939 Tbps in 2017). Ten years ago in December 2009, Africa’s total bandwidth was just 295 Gbps.

The chart below shows that the total international bandwidth of 15.289 Tbps was split between Sub-Saharan Africa, which increased by 57% to reach 8.814 Tbps, and North Africa which increased by 20% to reach 6.475 Tbps. Excluding Kenya, which reached 2.720 Tbps in 2019 (source: CA), the total bandwidth for other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by 37% to reach 6.094 Tbps in December 2019.

Chart 2: Africa International Internet Bandwidth, 2008 - 2019
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 8.814 Tbps in Sub-Saharan Africa by December 2019, 8.126 Tbps (92.2%) was supplied directly by submarine cable, and 678 Gbps (7.7%) was supplied by terrestrial cross-border networks connected to submarine cables. Ten years ago in December 2009, the amount of international bandwidth supplied by submarine cable was 276 Gbps.

There is plenty of room for future growth: this figure of 8.126 Tbps is still just a fraction of the total design capacity of at least 230.5 Tbps that is potentially now available on the 27 submarine cables serving the region in December 2019. This total design capacity has increased from 226.5 Tbps on 26 operational cables in 2018, 134.5 Tbps on 23 cables in 2017, 94.4 Tbps on 20 cables in 2016, and 70.4 Tbps on 18 cables in 2015.

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 28% in the last year to reach 678 Gbps in December 2019. This compares to 530 Gbps in 2018, 380 Gbps in 2017, 267 Gbps in 2016, and 154 Gbps in 2015. Ten years ago in December 2009 the amount of international bandwidth supplied by terrestrial cross-border networks connected to submarine cables was just 10 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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Hamilton Research Ltd.,
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Bath BA1 7DE, UK
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http://www.africabandwidthmaps.com

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© Hamilton Research Ltd 2021.

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