African Internet Connectivity Gets A Mobile World Congress Boost
1 March 2019
The continent's first live 5G network in South Africa, the world's first 400Gbps backbone network in Kenya and a 750 kilometer (km) fiberoptic network in Nigeria's Edo and Ogun States were announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
Despite fighting a raft of privacy battles around the world, Facebook is helping expand internet access in Africa through its Facebook Connectivity division. It announced the Nigerian fiber initiative with MainOne, the Nigerian company that operates a $240 million, 7,000 kilometer-long undersea cable from Nigeria to Portugal; as well as terrestrial fiber networks in the country.
This new 750km open-access fiber deployment in Edo and Ogun States will bring connectivity to 1-million people, Facebook said at launch during the annual conference for the mobile industry, which this year is expected to attract 21,000 visitors.
"When completed this year, this new infrastructure will be used to connect mobile operators’ base stations and points of presence (POPs), reducing costs and, more importantly, increasing capacity," Facebook said.
Facebook financially supported similar projects in 2017. VAST Networks in South Africa built fiber infrastructure for WiFi hotspots in Diepsloot and Katlehong which have 90,000 monthly users now. In Uganda, Airtel and BCS built 770km of fiber in the country's northwestern area to connect their base stations and internet point-of-presence (POPs) and enabling the operators to expand their coverage by 40%.