Global broadband statistics: why Africa should worry

Point Topic’s global statistics should serve as a wakeup call for South African and African communications leaders

By - April 27, 2013
DoC clock Department of Communications

Point Topic released its broadband statistics for Q4 2012, showing that Africa’s market share is a miniscule 0.87% of the global broadband market. This is despite numerous plans to boost broadband across the continent.

South Africa’s Department of Communications has been punting its plan to have 100% broadband penetration by 2020.

Communications Minister Dina Pule went even further, and held a multi-million Rand ICT Indaba where stakeholders set a medium-term target of delivering broadband to 80% of African citizens by 2020.

However, the cold, hard truth is that talk shops in upper-class venues and headline grabbing targets do not mean that broadband infrastructure will miraculously appear.

The following chart about regional broadband market share should serve as a stark reminder to African leaders that the time for talking is over.

Regional broadband market share

Regional broadband market share

Unless African leaders create an environment which encourages broadband network investments, and make it easy for companies to roll out broadband services, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

South Africa’s Department of Communications can start by making suitable spectrum available to the mobile operators to roll out LTE networks, and smoothing the way for the deployment of fibre infrastructure.

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