52 African countries are now connected to submarine cables, either directly or by terrestrial cross-border fibre optic networks. 44% of Africans live within a 25-km reach of a fibre node.
The key question now is which cities and suburbs are taking the lead in building access networks? In an attempt to answer this question the FTTH Council Africa, in collaboration with Africa Bandwidth Maps are undertaking research to determine network reach and identify Africa’s most connected cities.
Africa’s inventory of terrestrial transmission networks has more than doubled in the last five years. According to the latest research by Africa Bandwidth Maps, Africa’s total inventory of transmission network edges towards 1 million route kilometres, the continent had a total of 586,707-km of operational fibre optic network by December 2014. This comprises of long-haul, metropolitan and FTTH/B (fibre-to-the-home/building) terrestrial fibre optic networks.
Of this inventory of 586,707–km of operational terrestrial fibre, at least 91,182-km was within cities: metropolitan fibre rings and FTTH/B networks. The metro rings distribute bandwidth from fibre optic nodes to districts and suburbs around each city. The FTTH/B networks provide the last mile access, delivering the bandwidth right to the door.
Terrestrial Fibre Reaches 44% of Africa’s Population
This network expansion has brought dozens of new towns, cities and countries within reach of high capacity national and international fibre backbone networks for the first time. Over the last five years, more than 150 million more Africans live within reach of fibre networks.
By June 2014, 44% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa (410 million) lived within a 25-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This compared to 41.8% of the population (371 million) in 2013, 40.0% (345 million) in 2012, 36.3% (313 million) in 2011, and 30.8% (259 million) in 2010.
The number of people within reach of a broadband service provided by fibre depends on the range of the fixed or wireless broadband access network used from the fibre node. In December 2014, 65.1% of the population (606 million people) lived within a 50-km range of an operational fibre optic network node. This distance of 50-km is the maximum theoretical range of a WiMAX network. 44.0% of the population (410 million) lived within a 25-km range, and 22.3% of the population (207 million) lived within a 10-km range of an operational fibre network node.
The new measurements now are how many people are within a zero kilometre reach of a fibre backbone. How many homes, public and commercial buildings are plugged directly into the fibre optic backbone?
FTTH Council Africa Survey
The FTTH Council Africa, in partnership with Africa Bandwidth Maps, announces its intention to conduct annual research to track FTTH/B penetration. Measuring penetration is critical to understand how the industry is progressing. The research will take place in the form of a short survey and will attempt to document as many metro and FTTH/B networks as possible. The aim is to determine network reach and ultimately understand how many homes, public and commercial buildings are connected and the rate at which this is growing. If we know this we will better understand what still needs to be done. We would like to see all African operators participate to ensure technical accuracy of the data. The results will, over time, also establish trends and this information is important for the industry.
The survey is now open for network operators to add your network locations on to the map, and to update details on the progress of your FTTH roll-out.
The results for Q1 2015 will be compiled in April 2015. To make sure that your network information is included, and to receive a summary of findings, please complete the survey by 31 March 2015.
To complete the short survey please click here. The information gathered in this research will be used to compile statistical indicators of FTTH/B penetration in Africa, and to keep the map of metro/ FTTH/ FTTB networks as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
The FTTH fibre map displays the metropolitan, FTTH and FTTB networks which are currently operational. To date, the map contains and 191 cities, towns and suburbs served by a total of 76 network operators, providing Metro/ FTTH/ FTTx services in sub-Saharan Africa. Use the map to click on a city or suburb to find more information on the network operators providing service, in many cases with operators providing their own interactive coverage maps, coverage checkers, and/ or a form to register interest to receive service.