Statistics South Africa’s general household survey reveals where South Africa sits when it comes to Internet access.Statistics South Africa released its general household survey for 2012 on 22 August 2013, revealing that less than 10% of South African households had access to the Internet at home. Access to the Internet in the home was highest among households in Western Cape (20.3%) and Gauteng (15.3%), and lowest in North West (3.5%) and Limpopo (2.7%). The situation looked better when including Internet access at work, school, university or an Internet café. 40.6% of South African households had at least one member who had access to or used the Internet either at home, work, place of study or Internet cafes.
African governments are to begin drawing up lists of domain names relating to topics of national significance to be reserved for their use only. HumanIPO reported earlier this year on the extensive policy debate around the creation of the Reserved Names List (RNL), which was launched today and will be effective from September 15. “We recommend that governments adopt a consultative process for developing a national list of reserved names,” said Alice Munyua, from the ZA Central Registry (ZACR). “Once the process is complete, the reserved names will not be available to any other entity except the beneficiary.”
The ZA Central Registry (ZACR) has launched its dotAfrica Reserve Name List policy with a call for African governments to apply for certain names to be reserved. This process aims to provide governments with an opportunity to protect their national interests by reserving names relevant to them and their citizens. “From 15 September 2013, governments will be able to start reserving their identified domain names,” says Alice Munyua, who is leading the dotAfrica Reserve Name List (RNL) process.
Mention the word Innovation and few people would have anything concrete to say about Africa. The Western response is predictable – Apple is the easy answer. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, GE and P&G round out the list. Others will point to any number of hot startups coming out of Silicon Valley. More nuanced answers may point to the contributions of fundamental R&D-heavy industries like pharmaceuticals and chemicals. A deeper probing may result in stories about the Western education system, its entrepreneurial and funding culture, or how innovations spread through social messaging and communication.
Seven global technology firms - Facebook; Ericsson; MediaTek; Nokia; Opera; Qualcomm and Samsung - have come together to form a partnership which aims to make the internet access and available to the next 5 billion people in the world. Through the partnership - called internet.org - the firms will collaborate with other technology partners to develop and adopt technologies that make mobile connectivity more affordable and decrease the cost of delivering data to people worldwide. This includes testing new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable internet access than has previously been possible. Internet.org comes at a time when internet penetration in Africa remains very low. Even though Africa's mobile subscriptions have grown to over 700 million (or about 70 percent of population) by 2013, internet penetration still stands at 16 percent of population - meaning that over 800 million Africans do not have access to the Internet.
About 60% of IT hardware growth on the continent will come from tablets and smartphones this year, notes logistics company DHL.According to an IDC statement, the tablet market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region grew 184% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013, to reach a total of 2.25 million units. Increasing tablet and smartphone sales are hurting the traditional PC market, it has said.Deutsche Post DHL says competition in the technology sector is becoming more intense and Asia's importance as both a manufacturing location and a consumer market is growing.
Africa is not only a growing market for hi-tech products, but may soon be a base for a lot more hi-tech companies. The continent is expected to see growing competition to meet the needs of its rising young and middle class populations. DHL calls itself the “logistics company for the world,” providing transportation via rail, road, sea and air. And Company officials see Africa as a place where its business can boom. For that to happen, though, more international companies will need to invest in the continent and base their operations there. DHL’s Sumesh Rahavendra sees that happening. That’s one of the findings from a recent global technological conference sponsored by his company.
The latest emerging wireless standard from the IEEE, the 802.11ac, promises unprecedented Gigabit connectivity with a host of new possibilities for application-based services. However, this will impact Tier 1 carriers as the new capabilities and high speeds will see a surge in traffic. It is therefore important for the latest WLAN technology to be considered before the challenge becomes an issue. This is according to Martin Ferreira, Executive Head: Technology and Operations, Jasco Carrier, who says that the new Wi-Fi standard promises to deliver much greater multiple spatial data streams that can be directed to client services resulting in better data throughputs, as well as improved reliability and quality of service. The technology is particularly suited for densely populated areas, such as airports, universities, business offices and shopping malls, where there are a lot of devices in close proximity. “Consumers have seemingly insatiable requirements for bandwidth. People often have two or three wireless devices that are connected to a network at any given time accessing content-rich applications, resulting in much higher traffic levels but a reduced quality of service. “As a consequence, we find that the mobile providers Jasco Carrier Solutions has been engaging with are particularly interested in looking to offload some smartphone and tablet wireless network traffic to available Wi-Fi access points to prevent congested networks,” says Ferreira
For years VoIP services in Africa were the grey market in voice calling, which was seen as rather grubby by the mainstream operators. VoIP came of age with widespread use of consumer apps like Skype and Viber which have continued to increase in popularity, particularly among high-end consumers. Now a corporate version of this kind of VoIP calling is being adopted by companies in Africa. Russell Southwood spoke to Marc Israel, Microsoft Office Division Director and reflects on what this means for traditional mobile operators. Skype has millions of users in Africa, although as elsewhere the number of paying customers is much smaller. In my own experience, I tend use Skype as my main means of international calling in the office in the UK unless I get the rather prim response that "using Skype is not company policy." However, difficult or detailed negotiations remain on the fixed line
COMPETITION within the technology sector is becoming more intense and Asia's importance as both a manufacturing location and a consumer market is growing. However, although Asia is still key to the sector, the African continent has also witnessed an explosion in technology adoption recently and is set to develop as a region. This is according to Charles Brewer, the managing director for DHL Express sub-Saharan Africa, who says that a recent DHL global technology conference revealed these trends around the changing dynamics of the technology market. He says due to the increased competition within the sector, suppliers need to adapt and improve products and services in order to retain and grow market share
There are more than 650 million mobile users in Africa and 50% of Internet connections are exclusively channelled through mobile devices.This makes Africa the second largest and fastest growing mobile market in the world. According to Ruckus Wireless, this growth is driving new network strategies that seek to reduce opex and capex. WiFi offloads non-essential traffic from cellular networks, while scaling coverage and capacity quickly, using smaller cell sizes, says Ruckus. "As a result, we are seeing a lot more free WiFi, larger hotspots and WiFi solutions being used in different verticals such as education – and most importantly, interest from service providers as to the viability of WiFi as an alternative means for their users to access data," says Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa.
Increasingly, access to the Internet is being viewed not as a privilege of the rich or first world, but as a crucial means to global development and education, and critics are calling South Africa’s slow official response to opening the spectrum prohibitive. Pressure is mounting for the Department of Communication and new communications minister Yunus Carrim to open up additional spectrum for Internet provision. The message from frustrated Internet service providers is clear: Internet access is a crucial public resource that drives development of the sector and business as a whole.
South Africa has finally caught up with its more gung-ho neighbours in East Africa, where the existing lack of fixed-line infrastructure has meant that mobile technology was the default choice. However, in possessing an extensive network of fixed-line telephony, South Africa is alone among the major economies of sub-Saharan Africa in having the potential to develop low-cost fixed broadband. Under the cumulative menace of copper cable theft, Department of Communications policy haze and Telkom’s monopoly, South African consumers are abandoning traditional fixed-line broadband connections in favour of mobile broadband.
Multinational Concepts Limited has deployed the Kodak Nexpress 3D printer, the first of its kind in West Africa, after launching in Lagos. Nigel Pope, an official from Kodak West Africa subsidiary FC Exports, made the announcement in Nigeria’s commercial capital, saying the 3D printer will achieve increased efficiency and improve quality of printing production. Through the technology, Pope said the company was able to reduce its cost of production by about 60 per cent and also expand its capabilities in the personalised printing sector. The Kodak Nexpress works at the world’s fastest printing rate of 3,000 sheets per hour. Andrew Esuabanga, chief executive officer (CEO) of Multinational Concepts, said the technology addresses the issue of wastage that printers often encounter while using older technologies
Intra-African trade accounts for just 12% of the continent's total trade, presenting a huge opportunity for growth. The latest figures show that if African countries increased the trade between them by only five per cent it would create $34 billion dollars of extra revenue year on year. The impediments to African growth have been discussed ad nauseam. While the focus has traditionally been on high tariff barriers other major problems are moving up the agenda. The Deputy Director-General of the WTO Valentine Rugwabiza recently said: "It is essential for African countries to increase investment in trade-related infrastructure and other trade facilitation measures to reduce red tape, transaction costs and expedite the movement of goods, services and people across borders."
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a multi-stakeholder, non-profit organization, incorporated in California, USA. It is responsible for the delegation of generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) on the Internet, such as the familiar .COM or .ORG domain names, or the lesser known .AERO or .MUSEUM. These gTLDs stand apart from country code TLDs such as .ZA and .UK, which are allocated based on the United Nations ISO country code list.
New Communications Minister Yunus Carrim has boldly vowed to go where every minister before him has tried and failed – to increase internet penetration and cut the cost of communicating in South Africa. The number of internet users in the country has increased from 100 000 in 1994 to 11.2-million last year, according to data from research company World Wide Worx. But although the growth has been significant, in reality only just over a fifth of the population has access to the internet. It is seen as a way to bridge South Africa’s social divide, improve access to health and information services, empower the majority of citizens and boost socioeconomic development.
Across Africa demands are changing, access models are changing and consumers are blurring the lines between corporate and personal spaces – becoming more vocal in terms of what they want, says Ruckus Wireless, Inc. And what they want is access.With more than 650 million mobile users in Africa and with 50% of Internet connections being exclusively channelled through mobile devices, Africa is the second biggest mobile market in the world and the fastest growing.
Gauteng's 2 200 public schools will have access to uncapped wi-fi and 3G connectivity and 88 000 Huawei tablets will be distributed to students from next year as part of the province's e-Learning Solution. The R396.2-million project will facilitate learning by addressing the digital divide and will provide all pupils an e-mail address and free internet access.It will replace the Gauteng Online Schools Programme, provincial Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe said on Wednesday.
Google's plans to expand mobile broadband in Africa could revolutionize daily life on the continent. But it has analysts asking whether the Internet giant is just trying to get an early start in a growing market. Mobile Web connectivity is such a part of everyday life in most parts of the developed world that no one gives it a second thought anymore. But that's not the case in other parts of the world, especially in Africa. Internet giant Google is trying to change that. "Google's goal in Africa has been to improve Internet access, help make the Web relevant to Africans, and help strengthen a sustainable Internet ecosystem," Google's Lena Wagner told DW
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