Mike Silber, head of legal and commercial at Liquid Telecom.
This is according to Mike Silber, head of legal and commercial at Liquid Telecom, who told the Broadband Summit in Bryanston, Johannesburg, yesterday last mile connectivity was slower to achieve because it was more expensive.
“We have almost reached saturation point of connectivity on the continent,” he said. “I believe we right now are about to exceed demand, even without the upgrades.”
He said Liquid, which is in the process of rolling out a fibre-to-the-home network in Harare, Zimbabwe, had commissioned research which confirmed the main cost of fibre is last mile connectivity, standing at 61 per cent as opposed to 34 per cent for satellite.
“What needs to happen is investment in high speed last mile,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that if you build it they will come.
“Terrestrial fibre networks like ours are still being built. Digging takes longer than laying fibre on a seabed. Getting from one country to another and enabling that difficult exchange between neighbours is one of the big challenges on the continent.”
He said last mile costs would fall as penetration increased.
“Submarine cables have had a big impact on the affordability of broadband. And we expect those costs to more or less continue,” he said. “Last mile costs will continue slowly downwards as technology takes effect.”