Internet ready? How Africa is getting online
For the Western World, the internet is an everyday utility that we use almost without thinking.
In fact internet companies have even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.
And with smartphones and connected devices, we’re never more than a few feet away from internet access.
Yet for the majority of the world’s population, internet access is somewhat a luxury.
This is no truer than in the African nations where a lack of fixed line infrastructure means access is both limited and expensive to use.
However, that is all set to change with the introduction of 3G, as Graham Peel, CEO of CBNL explained in May’s edition of Communications Africa.
For Africa’s 1 billion residents, 10.9% access the internet, of which half access it via a mobile phone.
Due to the expense and lack of fixed line infrastructure, for many African’s mobile devices offer the most affordable way to access the internet, quite often for the very first time.
However, with African’s having far less access to mobile broadband networks when compared to Europe for example, the march towards having ubiquitous internet access in African’s urban areas still has far to go.
This is leading many operators in the region to migrate to 3G-evolved technologies such as HSPA and LTE in order to extend their coverage and increase capacity, offering faster internet access to mobile users in urban areas.
To do this, in addition to upgrading the radio access network, operators must assess their backhaul networks for 3G and LTE.
The data transmission requirements are significant and legacy technologies aren’t equipped to cope.
So what are the most viable options?
Graham’s article (page 47) explains further.