Demand for West African submarine fibre-optic soars

Pioneer Consulting has completed a study of market demand and supply in connection with the proposed West African Festoon System (WAFS)...  Pioneer Consulting has completed a study of market demand and supply in connection with the proposed West African Festoon System (WAFS).

WAFS is the name given to the proposed submarine fibre-optic cable intended to link at least ten West African nations to each other and also to provide interconnection to other intercontinental systems which connect Africa with Europe and Asia.

The Pioneer study involved a comprehensive analysis of the fixed and mobile IP, data, and voice markets in 15 West African states, forecasting likely demand growth, comparing this with the availability of existing capacity, and assessing the likelihood of competition from other new systems and technologies. Pioneer also provided pricing analysis of the bandwidth market and an assessment of the benefits from different cable route options.

Pioneer's Managing Partner Julian Rawle said: "Pioneer was pleased to have an opportunity to participate in support of this major West African initiative to improve international connectivity in the region. Our research confirms that there are a number of sizeable West African markets which are already experiencing rapid growth despite the challenges inherent in this part of the world."

The study showed that there is a significant addressable market for WAFS, both in terms of serving intra-regional needs, as well as acting as a conduit to intercontinental points of interconnection. The surging growth in demand for mobile voice and data connectivity was also highlighted as West Africa seeks to overcome infrastructural deficiencies with wireless solutions and innovative business models. Pioneer also performed scenario analysis to define the upside and downside risks of the project.

Chairman of the WAFS Interim Management Committee, Raymond Smith, commented, "This traffic study is an important validation of the project's viability. In putting out this work to competitive tender, we sought a supplier who could use experience from other developing markets around the world to deliver a cost-effective study."

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