Africa needs more fixed lines to embrace 4IR

Africa needs more fixed lines to embrace 4IR

Cassava Technologies group deputy executive chairman Nic Rudnick (pictured) called for more rapid deployment of fibre, to deliver uncapped and affordable connectivity to enable Africans to participate in the fourth industrial revolution.

In his keynote speech at Africa Tech Festival in Cape Town, Rudnick pointed out 70% of data consumed in developed nations is over fixed lines, according to Statista and Telegeography data.  

The average UK household consumes over 500GB per month over fixed lines while in Africa only 3% of homes have access to broadband. Data on fixed line is faster, affordable and uncapped, which enables subscribers to be “creators” rather than consumers, a point he brings to showcase that Africans can do more to develop their countries if given the connectivity.

Senegal currently has the highest penetration of fixed lines with a rate of 10% of its population, followed by Kenya and the Ivory coast lingering around 6% while other nations hover around 2-4%. In OECD countries, 90% of homes have fixed broadband connections.

There are only eight countries in Africa where consumers are expected to spend 8% of their income on connectivity: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria.

OECD countries spend on average 1.5% of income for services which include unlimited and affordable data, for comparison 1.5% of median income will only deliver 100MB of mobile data or less in half of African countries. In only five African nations will this deliver a minimum of 1GB of data.

“Because of poor mobile data affordability, this leads to data rationing. People are simply not using networks in the way we anticipated,” said Rudnick.

“I think that is the key challenge, which we as an industry need to overcome if we want people to move from being simple consumers to being creators in the fourth industrial revolution.”

He also pointed out that there is a lack of unicorn technology companies in Africa and this is in part due to the lack of widespread high-speed connectivity.


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