Kenyan Bandwidth Mirrors Africa’s Digital Wave

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefKMasimba | January 15, 2014

News coming out of Kenya makes interesting reading about the potential of bandwidth to reshape Africa. It’s not just a Kenyan story; it’s Africa’s story, painting a picture of what’s to come in the near future.

According to a report in the Daily Nation, the launch of the undersea cable has opened up new business opportunities in the country. As a result of Kenya’s international internet bandwidth availability, prices are falling.

Like many African countries, Kenya depended on limited and expensive satellite bandwidth, but the arrival of fiber optic has opened new market frontiers in the internet and broadband sector.

According to the report, costly infrastructure has been a major impediment in ensuring that the majority of Kenyans benefit from the developments. But there are new opportunities already showing up including major deployments of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access technology (WiMAX) and four Fibre to the Home (FttH) rollouts are underway with the third generation (3G) mobile broadband services.

“Also joining the fray is the introduction of advanced services such as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) as well as triple-play services where a digital satellite television provider is also offering internet and voice services to clients,” reports the Daily Nation. “Universities have also embraced technology starting e-learning courses while various businesses are slowly taking to e-commerce, the next frontier in a cashless system that is more secure and safer as well as fast.”

The story unfolding in Kenya is a pointer to the rest of the continent. As connectivity drastically improves due to access to international bandwidth new industries that are almost hard to imagine today will be a reality.

Take for example, there will be greater need for policy making on e-commerce, e-learning and e-government. Results of the trench digging happening across the continent are not far in the future. And winners in Africa’s digital space need to start acting now with a long-term view.

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