Africa’s size a challenge to affordable broadband

Africa’s size a challenge to affordable broadband

Africa’s size and population density are some of the challenges to accessing affordable broadband on the continent, says an official.

Andile Ngcaba, founder and chairman of Convergence Partners, was speaking at the AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, South Africa, and said Africa’s size makes broadband access much more complicated. Africa’s population density is 65 people per square kilometer, while Europe is about 112 people per square kilometer, he said. Ngcaba noted that income levels, issues of GDP and GDP per capita exacerbate the situation. “Our business models in the continent must be informed by this,” said Ngcaba.

He explained, “We must take into consideration the fact that if you have to invest in the continent, given (the) broad macro issues… you need take into consideration the way in which you invest.” “We need to be smart about how we invest and the way in which we invest,” he said. According to Ngcaba players in the ecosystem need to compete at one level, but also have to cooperate in the way in which infrastructure is built. This is because if there is no cooperation the cost of infrastructure will be very high either for the mobile operators or the telco.

Ngcaba added that he believes shared infrastructure and an open access model is one the key ways that broadband would be delivered to the people. Presently Africa has the largest number of unconnected people with 80% of the continent’s population not connected to the Internet, it has been reported.

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