Cable Technology Feature Article
September 03, 2009
Twelve New African Undersea Cables Coming
By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor
Total broadband adoption in Africa will increase at a cumulative average growth rate of 28 percent through 2013 as new undersea cables boost Africa's international bandwidth, reducing the number of coastal countries without any cable access from 19 to one, according to Pyramid Research.
"Twelve new undersea cables planned for launch between third quarter 2009 and mid-2011 will remove the most serious obstacle that has historically prevented operators from taking advantage of Africa's great unmet demand for broadband services," says Dearbhla McHenry, analyst at Pyramid Research. "As a result, the cables will increase Africa's total international bandwidth from about 6 Tbps to as much as 34 Tbps and will reduce the number of coastal countries without any cable access from 19 to one", she adds.
"Through the end of second quarter 2009, 40 percent of continental Africa's 47 nations had no direct cable connections at all, forcing operators to rely on expensive satellite links," McHenry explains. "The combination of heavy reliance on satellite and monopoly control of local access to undersea cables meant that prices were also astronomical: Rates for SAT-3, for example, are about $4,500 to $12,000 per Mbps per month, which is more than 20 times more expensive than bandwidth prices in the United States," she says.
"By early 2011, we expect that more than half of all African markets will have 3G, while broadband coverage is increasing daily via both wireless and wireline technologies," McHenry says.
We can therefore expect that bandwidth prices on routes to Africa still start falling sometime this year.
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Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Jessica Kostek