Based on the theme Achieving A Connected Continent: Leading The Data Explosion Across Africa, the expert panel session with participation from Google, Facebook, WIOCC, Liquid Telecom and Angola Cables, discussed strategies for achieving improved broadband access across the continent. The session reviewed the state of broadband infrastructure and data traffic trajectories in different countries on the continent and made comparisons to other markets globally.
This included areas in which investments had been made, such as submarine cables, data centres, and access networks including 3G4G and FTTH networks, as some of the elements that have accelerated the growth in data traffic on the continent.
The consensus was that the data explosion will need to be driven by further investment in local networks to reach more end users rather than new submarine cables. The session revealed that while most African submarine cable systems had the capability to deliver 100 GBPS wavelengths, Africa has not utilised near enough capacity to saturate those systems. According to the panelists, for broadband to become more pervasive, there is need for continued investment and innovative business models to aid the rapid deployment of Access networks across the continent.