Facebook and Eutelsat launch satellite to boost internet access across Africa

Some of the most remote parts of Africa are to be given internet access under a partnership agreement between social networking web site Facebook and French satellite internet operator Eutelsat.

The companies have signed a multi-year agreement with fixed satellites operator Spacecom to utilise the entire broadband payload on a future Spacecom ‘AMOS-6’ geostationary satellite. The companies said they plan to build “a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals”.

Eutelsat said the service, which is scheduled to start up in the second half of 2016, will see the satellite enable broadband access to large parts of Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.

“The capacity is optimised for community and direct-to-user internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment,” Eutelsat said. Read more

Mobile connections will rise to 57% by 2020

Mobile connections will rise to 57% by the end of the decade and smartphones will account for half of all mobile connections in the region come 2020.

This is all being driven by declining prices, Sinclair noted. By the end of the decade there will be 400 million new smartphones, which will make a total installed base of over half a billion. As of the middle of 2015, 200 million people were accessing the Internet using mobile devices; a figure that is expected to double in the next few years.

“Mobile has had a significant impact on Sub-Saharan African economies,” he said. In 2014 alone, mobile contributed $102 billion to regional GDP, which is expected to grow to $166 billion by 2020. The mobile economy directly and indirectly supported about 4.4 million jobs in 2014 and this is expected to rise to about six million by the end of the decade.

“Sub-Saharan Africa has been a centre of innovation over the last five years, not only in terms of money but also in terms of crowdsourcing. A number of incubators have been developed and there is a flourishing mobile economy in this region.” Read more

Facebook hits 20 million users in major African markets Nigeria and Kenya

Facebook has nearly 20 million users in major African markets Nigeria and Kenya, statistics released by the social network showed on Thursday, with the majority using mobile devices to access their profiles.

Facebook opened its first African office in Johannesburg in June as the continent’s growing population and relatively low levels of internet access present a large untapped market for the social network to earn advertising revenue.

The numbers, the first Facebook has published for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and Kenya, East Africa’s most developed, show the two nations as important entry points on a continent of nearly one billion people.

Nigeria had 15 million monthly active users as of June 30 this year, all of them using mobiles to like, share and upload content on the social network. In Kenya, 95 percent of the 4.5 million monthly active users did so via mobiles.

“Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest adoption of disruptive technology in history of communication,” said Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook’s head of Africa, in a statement. Read more


Africa outpaces all other regions of the world with Internet growth

Growth in international Internet capacity connected to Africa outpaces all other regions of the world, new research shows.

African Internet bandwidth grew by 41% between 2014 and 2015, and by 51% compounded annually over the past five years, to reach 2,9Tbit/s, according to new data from TeleGeography’s Global Internet Geography research service.

Worldwide international Internet capacity growth continues to slow, falling from 41% in 2011 to 31% in 2015, TeleGeography says. Yet, even with the declining pace of growth, backbone operators deployed 43Tbit/s of new capacity in the past year alone.

Despite the varying pace of new deployments, Internet capacity growth has slowed in all regions over the past five years. This trend has been especially apparent in Africa. Despite the continent recording strong capacity growth between 2011 and 2015, it was a far cry from the 93% compound annual growth rate seen between 2006 and 2010,” the researchers say. Read more