Broadband for Africa: developing backbone communications by Mark D. J. Williams

By Mark D. J. Williams

Many nations in Sub-Saharan Africa see broadband ICT as a vital a part of their long term financial improvement method. spine networks are the high-capacity networks that lie on the center of communications structures and make allowance the supply of the excessive volumes of information wanted for broadband. What high-capacity spine networks that do exist within the zone are usually constrained to significant city parts and a few inter-city routes. festival among spine networks is underdeveloped so the cost of providers is still excessive and caliber is frequently negative. This development of community improvement is the results of excessive charges and regulatory regulations on community improvement. the place international locations have absolutely liberalized their telecommunications markets and promoted infrastructure pageant, costs have fallen and caliber better. spine community coverage may still concentrate on selling pageant, decreasing the price of community development and inspiring community improvement into at the moment underserved parts. pageant could be promoted by means of elimination regulatory regulations reminiscent of limits at the variety of licenses and constraints on kind of infrastructure and prone that licensees can provide. the price of spine community improvement may be decreased by using power and shipping infrastructure and lowering criminal charges similar to acquiring making plans permission.Stimulating spine community improvement past significant city components may be accomplished via setting up public-private partnerships to motivate operators to construct networks into presently underserved components.

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Note: PSTN = public switched telephone network; WLL = wireless local loop. 5 Optimum Backbone Technology Choice <8 Mbps 8–450 Mbps >450 Mbps <100 km satellite/ microwave microwave fiber optic >100 km distance capacity satellite microwave/ fiber optic fiber optic Source: ICEA 2008. Note: km = kilometers; Mbps = megabits per second. 18 BACKBONE NETWORKS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Differences in the cost structure of wireless and fiber-optic backbone networks also help to explain why operators have preferred to utilize wireless technologies.

Simultaneously, they would reduce the overall financial burden on the public sector of ensuring widespread and affordable broadband availability. Encouraging investment in and effective competition among backbone networks would also allow market forces to aggregate traffic onto higher-capacity networks, thus reducing costs and stimulating downstream investment and competition among ISPs and other data users. This policy of promoting infrastructure competition to support the development of backbone networks is consistent with the experience of developed countries.

Cost structure is discussed in more detail later in this chapter. 5. The population covered by backbone networks is defined for this analysis as the people living within a 10-kilometer radius of the network. 6. This framework has been subsequently reviewed by the government of Burkina Faso, however. 29 BROADBAND FOR AFRICA 7. This is not usually a direct result of the licensing structure but, rather, the result of commercial business decisions on market segmentation. 8. Data operators were able to sell backbone capacity to ISPs for the provision of data services but were prevented from selling such capacity to be used for carrying voice traffic.

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