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Broadband application – why it is time for Africa

September 2, 2013 • Mobile and Telecoms, Southern Africa

ICT industry leaders and operators got to grips with the dynamics of broadband application at SATNAC 2013, hosted by Telkom SA in the Western Cape. (Image source: Chris Tredger)

ICT industry leaders and operators got to grips with the dynamics of broadband application at SATNAC 2013, hosted by Telkom SA in the Western Cape. (Image source: Chris Tredger)

If broadband is to make any difference to consumers, there needs to be a balance in the ecosystem incorporating both infrastructure and applications – a model that continues to generate interest globally. ICT industry analysts and operators believe BRICS markets are emerging as a strong frontier in the rollout of broadband to develop economies.

Speaking at the SATNAC 2013, hosted by Telkom South Africa in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, Noel Kirkaldy, Head of Technology of Middle East and African Region, Nokia Solutions and Networks, detailed the vision of mobile networks to deliver one gigabit of personalised data per user, per day and do so profitably.

From a telecommunications industry point of view, Africa has the infrastructure and the opportunity to harmonise spectrum, to coordinate with government and really benefit from this growth he said.

Kirkaldy described how video content will dominate the communications market (and the services of broadband operators) going forward and that LTE advanced rollout is not a matter of if, but when.

“LTE will be THE mobile broadband radio solution … this has to happen if we are to become more efficient. Spectrum must be allocated on a technology- and service-agnostic basis,” he added.

Presenting his topic Making broadband for all succeed, Luis Martinez Amago, President of Europe Middle-East and Africa, Alcatel-Lucent, spoke of the need to achieve balance between available infrastructure and application development to ensure successful rollout.

He referred to examples in countries like Kenya and Mexico where these systems and application of broadband is making a critical difference in the lives of citizens.

“There is a need to create a broadband ecosystem and, like any ecosystem, it needs to be balanced to be preserved. There is no reason why, with the willingness of government and development of applications, South Africa cannot create this ecosystem, within a sustainable model and effectively rollout broadband,” said Amago.

Suraj Ramlall, CTO at Saab Grintek, reminded the audience that broadband networks is a catalyst for socio-economic development, with specific reference to a statistic which states that for every 10% increase in the penetration of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.38%.

Broadband satellite, he said, will play an increasingly important role in this regard.

Chris Tredger - Online Editor

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