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Latest update: dotAfrica Launch Plan approved, Sunrise Phase commences on 4 April, 2017

‘300 million Africans live 50km from broadband networks’

300 million Africans are more than 50km from a fibre or cable broadband network, and the further they are from a connection, the worse their internet quality.This is according to a statement from Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, senior vice president Africa for satellite connectivity firm SES Broadband Services.Guimba-Saidou made this statement in light of an announcement that SES Broadband Services and SatADSL are launching a new high-speed satellite internet service targeting corporates in Africa.Guimba-Saidou has also gone on to highlight other African connectivity figures in his statement. “Another 400 million people on the continent have no internet access at all, indicating that around 700 million people have limited or no access to broadband.

ICT strategy for Africa adopted

The 5th Meeting of the Heads of ICT Units in AUC, NEPAD Agency, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Associations of Regulators on Harmonisation and Coordination of Regional and Continental ICT Programmes, Projects, and Activities has ended in Balaclava, Mauritius with the adoption of the comprehensive Continental ICT Strategy for Africa (CISA). The new strategy that will guide the development of the ICT sector on the continent until 2024, is anchored on 7 Strategic themes: Post and Telecom Infrastructure, Capacity Development, e-Applications and Services, enabling environment and governance, mobilisation of resources and partnerships, industrialisation, as well as research and development. The meeting was attended by representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC) , NEPAD Agency (NPCA), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), East African Community (EAC), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East Africa Communications Organizations (EACO) and the Communications Regulatory Association of Southern Africa (CRASA).

Using Wi-Fi for sustainable development

A recent Informa White Paper* examining how smartphone usage is changing, points out that the Wi-Fi has cemented its position as the world’s most successful wireless technology thanks to its widespread adoption across a host of devices and its role as the dominant carrier of data traffic on smartphones. “Given that World Telecommunications and Information Society Day took place on Saturday, 17 May with the theme of broadband for sustainable development, it makes sense to examine how a cost-effective technology such as Wi-Fi can be used in Africa to help bridge the digital divide,” says Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa. Wi-Fi does not have a spectrum requirement from the regulators so it is much faster and cheaper to deploy than many other wireless technologies. “Even in South Africa, we are seeing the mobile operators educating customers on the benefits of using Wi-Fi for their mobile data requirements with GSM being positioned for voice,” says Fletcher.

Hey Africa: Good Broadband = Good Business

Although Africa’s come a long way in the telecoms revolution, it’s collective broadband adoption rate leaves a lot to be desired. Poor access to Broadband is the 21st century equivalent of poor mobility in the 19th Century. Individuals, businesses and whole nations simply cannot afford not to participate in the knowledge economy, As Strive Masiyiwa recently pointed out in a Facebook post: There are a lot of opportunities that you can pursue successfully without being dependent on governments, or powerful connections. The Internet, and the mobile revolution, have liberated us to build a new generation of businesses, and social enterprises, that play by a different set of rules. And whilst the above is getting truer by the day, the cost & quality of broadband access leave a lot to be desired.

Moving African internet content back to Africa

African internet users are starting to enjoy the benefits of faster access to key web resources as well as lower latencies, as telecom providers step up the roll out of content delivery networks (CDNs). The next phase in the development of Africa's internet infrastructure will see more content and services brought closer to end-users. This in turn, will spur growth in demand for these services. Over the past six years, we have seen a great deal of activity in Africa's telecom market as providers have invested in infrastructure such as carrier-neutral data centers, open peering internet exchange points, national and regional fibre links and submarine cables. The next step will be to host more content within Africa, rather than in Europe and the U.S. - 90% of African internet content is hosted outside the continent today. We'd like to see that figure reversed so that 80% or 90% of content is hosted within Africa.

Boosting African internet with CDNs

hile the progress that has been made in covering Africa with wired and wireless internet has been significant over the last decade — on the part of both native telecoms and foreign tech companies — the majority of African internet is provided by hosts outside the continent. Externally hosted internet is not a bad thing, but localized internet is always better for speed and extent of access. Now, various telecoms across Africa are making more of an effort to host web infrastructure within their respective regions in order to improve access and lower latencies.the submarine cable operator that services both East and West African coasts as well as extensions into India, Asia, and Europe — has reported that 90% of Africa’s internet is hosted outside the continent, and that African telecoms will be utilizing certain technologies to change that figure.

10 Africans making waves in technology

IT News Africa takes a look at ten of the continent’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are making some serious waves in the technology space – either by reimagining established products or services, expanding radically into new areas, or developing better solutions for Africa. 1. Bankole Cardoso, CEO of EasyTaxi Nigeria Born in Nigeria, Cardoso attended Boston College in the USA to study Accounting and Business Management, after which he moved to New York City to work as an associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), where he earned a Certified Public Accountant qualification. After a brief period at The Carlyle Group, he moved back to Nigeria as an entrepreneur. Easy Taxi is one of the world’s largest taxi booking apps, and Cardoso was offered the CEO position after he returned from the US. The Nigerian branch recently teamed up with Samsung to offer its services to even more customers across Nigeria. The Easy Taxi app will be pre-installed on all new Samsung Galaxy S5 devices as part of the Galaxy Gift Exchange.

Plan your .joburg, .capetown and .durban domains

UniForum SA, trading as the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), is planning to bring four new domains to Africa: .africa, .joburg, .durban and .capetown. Uniforum SA director, Neil Dundas said that the ZACR bid for the right to administer the dotAfrica TLD (.africa) was formally submitted to ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in April 2012. This was after consultation with the AUC and the African domain name community. “The dotAfrica TLD (top level domain) will bring the continent together as an internet community under one umbrella allowing e-commerce, technology and infrastructure to flourish,” said Dundas. Dundas said that the hope is to launch the new .africa domain between February and April 2013, and it will be priced at USD18 (R150) per year per domain name.

ICT strategy for Africa adopted

The 5th Meeting of the Heads of ICT Units in AUC, NEPAD Agency, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Associations of Regulators on Harmonisation and Coordination of Regional and Continental ICT Programmes, Projects, and Activities has ended in Balaclava, Mauritius with the adoption of the comprehensive Continental ICT Strategy for Africa (CISA). The new strategy that will guide the development of the ICT sector on the continent until 2024, is anchored on 7 Strategic themes: Post and Telecom Infrastructure, Capacity Development, e-Applications and Services, enabling environment and governance, mobilisation of resources and partnerships, industrialisation, as well as research and development. African Union Headquarters: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia African Union Headquarters: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The meeting was attended by representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC) , NEPAD Agency (NPCA), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), East African Community (EAC), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East Africa Communications Organizations (EACO) and the Communications Regulatory Association of Southern Africa (CRASA).

5 reasons why Africa hasn’t embraced social business software… yet

Africa’s adoption of social business software (SBS) has been at a much slower pace when compared to other continents. In fact, a recent visit to the US lifted the lid on a maturing market for SBS, a trend local businesses would do well to take note of. Enterprises across industries are using this approach to business supported by class software for high-impact engagement of various corporate audiences, unlocking huge value in doing so. Whether they’re sourcing ideas, gathering market intelligence or managing company content, communication and collaboration, the upshot is very often, as it promises, increased productivity, efficiency and innovation. No one knows the African market better than Africans. This is a great opportunity for local developers to introduce social business platforms that cater to our local needs like the prevalence of feature phones; and is a great platform for Africa to show the rest of the world, especially emerging countries, that we are capable of developing world class technology solutions suited for local consumption.

Hey Africa: Good Broadband = Good Business

Although Africa’s come a long way in the telecoms revolution, it’s collective broadband adoption rate leaves a lot to be desired. Poor access to Broadband is the 21st century equivalent of poor mobility in the 19th Century. Individuals, businesses and whole nations simply cannot afford not to participate in the knowledge economy, As Strive Masiyiwa recently pointed out in a Facebook post: There are a lot of opportunities that you can pursue successfully without being dependent on governments, or powerful connections. The Internet, and the mobile revolution, have liberated us to build a new generation of businesses, and social enterprises, that play by a different set of rules. And whilst the above is getting truer by the day, the cost & quality of broadband access leave a lot to be desired. According to a study by broadband statistics & analysis firm, Point Topic, the global average of broadband pricing is US$75 a month whilst Africans pay up to US$200.The firm went on to note that Africa, along with South America, has the slowest & most expensive internet in the world.

Africa: Huawei Tells Africa to Deploy 4G Mobile Broadband for GDP Growth, Job Creation

At the just concluded World Economic Forum held in Abuja, Nigeria, Charles Ding, Huawei global Vice President has said with optimism that mass deployment of fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband can help bring more Africans online, grow her Gross Domestic Product, (GDP) and job creation. The Huawei VP for Africa who spoke to World Presidents, ICT Ministers , Economic experts and resource persons during a panel discussion on new solutions to bring all Africa online at WEF told the gathering that there were several advantages of making building LTE networks a strong case in Africa.

dotAfrica launch further delayed by DotConnectAfrica injunction

The launch of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) dotAfrica will be delayed further due to an injunction awarded to Kenyan-based DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust. Last year the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) awarded management of the dotAfrica gTLD to South Africa’s ZA Central Registry (ZACR). The sunrise and land rush periods of the domain were initially scheduled for February 2014 but were postponed to May. The ZACR said the initial delay was due to the provision of a Continuing Operating Instrument (COI) according to ICANN’s revised criteria and the fact ZACR had recently changed its name from UniForum SA. However, more delays are now expected after the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) issued the injunction after DCA appealed to ICANN to cease any further applications for dotAfrica domains, to which ICANN failed to comply.

Dispute further delays launch of .africa internet name

A complaint by an organisation competing for the .africa geographic top-level domain (gTLD) has further postponed the launch of the internet name, which was planned to be unveiled early June. This is according to Neil Dundas, the chief operating officer of South Africa’s ZA Central Registry (ZACR), who says the internet name may only be commercially launched in late June or July now. This is the latest delay in a series of hold-ups for dotAfrica after ZACR told ITWeb Africa last year that it planned to launch the domain name in March this year. But later on, ZACR then blamed technicalities for pushing an official dotAfrica sunrise launch date to April or May this year. Now, the latest delay to late June or July is being blamed on a dispute.

Independent Review Process Delays dotAfrica (.africa) Public Launch

The public launch of the .africa TLD by the ZACR has been delayed due to the Independent Review Process (IRP) currently in progress between ICANN and DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust).

Africa: Are Tech Companies Key to African Growth?

As tech companies begin to take root and grow in Africa, I believe we have an opportunity to change lives, forge communities and build the continent. In a world where we can have whatever we want, do whatever we want to do and be whatever we want to be, we're faced with the challenge of answering the following questions: what do we want? What kind of Africa do we want to build? What we want is to improve the state of Africa. And when we say that we are committed to creating a more inclusive world, what we mean is that we want to build a world in which everyone is able to dream, and to realize these dreams.

Every School in South Africa Can Have 100 PCs Each, in Four Years

South African government budgeted R16Billion to build a national private cloud for schools, but Cloudware’s Head of Product, Jonathan Young believes that the budget can accomplish a lot more. Cloudware, an application delivery company, has said that every school in South Africa – there are 26,000 schools and 12.2 million learners, according to the Children’s Institute at UCT – could have 100 internet-connected PCs in the next four years, and it would not cost more than what the government already budgeted for a private cloud. “With technology available right now, we could provide one computer for every four children within four years. With affordable solar power and satellite connectivity, that includes even the most remote schools; there’s no need to wait for new buildings and Eskom electricity supply. The government seems to be assuming that giving our children access to this life-changing technology is beyond our reach as a country, but it really doesn’t have to be that difficult. It can be done.”, says Young

Africa is the world’s fastest growing mobile broadband market

Africa’s growing mobile-broadband market has triggered an increase in demand for smartphones. In 2013, smartphones accounted for 18% of the overall African mobile phone market's volume and this figure is expected to double by 2017. Furthermore, Frost & Sullivan estimate that smartphone usage in Sub-Saharan Africa will surge by 40% each year until 2017. As a result, technology companies like Microsoft, Huawei, Intel, Lenovo together with African companies like Safaricom and MTN are developing low cost smartphones for the African market.

Sad reality about broadband value in South Africa

The latest Ookla Net Index “household value index” shows that South Africans get some of the worst value for money for broadband services, globally. The Ookla Net Index “household value index” uses recent surveys from Speedtest.net to compare consumer broadband value around the world. According to the Net Index website, South Africans pay on average $27.12 per Mbps – the highest price paid by all countries surveyed. This is far higher than the global average of $6.30. The website showed further that South Africans pay on average 12% of their monthly salary for a broadband service. This ranks South Africa at number 59 out of 64 countries on broadband affordability.

Internet access is no longer a luxury

It is early morning in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. The traffic jam along Ngong Road, one of the city’s main feeder roads, stretches for kilometres as matatus (taxis), buses and cars try to make their way into the central business district. At the top floor of Bishop Magua Centre complex, sitting just off Ngong Road, Antony Njoroge is already at work, typing away at his computer, a mug of freshly brewed coffee beside him. He is the founder of RevWeb, a local software development company. Njoroge works out of iHub, a working space that hosts developers, designers and others working with technology software. It is one of the most well-known tech hubs in Africa. In just four years since its founding, the iHub has over 13,000 members in its online and off-line community, held close to 500 events and had over 50 companies calling it home.