African broadband users ‘to exceed 250 million by 2015’


The number of broadband connections over cellular networks in Africa will exceed 250 million by the end of 2015, according to a new report. The study, from Informa Telecoms & Media, found that the number of broadband connections over cellular networks in Africa will exceed 250 million by the end of 2015. The report, entitled "Broadband in Africa," forecasts that a fifth of Internet traffic in Africa will be carried by cellular networks by 2015, compared with a global equivalent of just 3 percent.

The report assessed progress toward goals set out at the Connect Africa Summit in 2007, aimed at connecting African capitals and major cities with broadband infrastructure; connecting African villages to broadband services; adopting regulatory measures so as to promote affordable and widespread access to broadband services; supporting the development of ICT skills and adopting national e-strategies.

Though infrastructure investment on 3G networks has been rampant in recent years, making mobile operators the main providers of Internet services in Africa, the report says there need to be a number of changes to the broadband market landscape in the next five years including cheaper services, more widespread availability of high-speed connectivity focusing particularly on rural areas and greater competition.

Respondents to a survey conducted in conjunction with the report said there remain hurdles to further progress, including cost of infrastructure expansion; insufficient connectivity/backhaul; cost of retail broadband services; cost of international bandwidth and low PC penetration.

The report also highlighted the importance of regulators in adopting measures such as relaxing licensing procedures, and allocation of more spectrum.

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