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Fixed broadband reaches 1bn

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The markets and technologies which will drive continued rapid broadband growth over the next decade have today been revealed by Broadband Forum and Point Topic in a new report which predicts there will be 1.2 billion fixed broadband subscribers by 2025.

Following the announcement last October that there are now one billion global fixed broadband subscribers, this report is Point Topic’s first worldwide broadband subscribers forecast providing the details behind that milestone, addressing the period between Q3 2018 and Q4 2025.

According to the research, the current trends of booming deep-fibre deployment and accelerating broadband penetration in developing markets will be the engine of broadband growth through 2025. The forecast states that some variant of fibre –Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH), Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) or Fibre-To-The-Building (FTTB) – will be used by 59% of fixed broadband subscribers globally by 2025. The report also examines the impact of superfast 5G, predicting that fixed mobile convergence will mean that the next one billion subscribers could blend wireless and fixed subscriptions.

“With 5G on the horizon and new Internet of Things devices and Over the Top services increasingly becoming a part of subscribers’ everyday lives, this new analysis looks at how the fixed broadband market and the technologies within it are evolving to meet this demand,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic. “As we look towards the next billion broadband subscriptions, fixed lines will continue to play a significant role. We expect to see more convergence between fixed and mobile lines as consumers look for a seamless, high-quality connectivity experience that is available anywhere, anytime.”

Overall, 89% of the predicted 1.2 billion subscribers in 2025 will come from the current top 30 broadband markets, defined in Point Topic’s Q2 2018 report. Fixed broadband adoption in these top 30 markets is expected to grow by 22% between 2018 and 2025, with developing economies in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico likely to see the highest growth in this period. Global adoption, including the rest of the world, is forecast to grow by 24%.

Between 2018 and 2025, fiber-based connections (FTTH/P/B) are expected to grow by 51% and FTTC/VDSL by 28%. In the same period, ADSL-based connections are forecast to drop by 39%.  At the same time it is expected that pricing dependent growth in the satellite market and alternative offerings like TV White Space will extend the global broadband footprint.

Whereas broadband-capable device proliferation and connectivity, catalysed by key enablers such as Broadband Forum’s TR-069 protocol, paved the way to surpassing one billion deployments worldwide last October, emerging drivers such as 5G, meshed Wi-Fi, and new advanced services will be key to continued growth. Broadband Forum is well ahead of this curve, already preparing operators’ networks for the next billion connections. Ongoing projects include work with 3GPP to develop a converged 5G networkBroadband Quality Experience Delivered (Broadband QED) initiative, and User ServicesPlatform (USP) which enables operators to manage connected home devices.

Additionally, Broadband Forum has published new standards for the modularization of the Dynamic Bandwidth Assignment (DBA) function in optical access systems and the industry’s first Wi-Fi performance test standard. Its equipment conformance and interoperability certification testing is also ongoing, with this work being critical as networks scale toaccommodate more than a billion subscribers.

“Following the significant achievement of one billion broadband subscribers worldwide, the global broadband market is continuing to evolve and find new ways to grow in both scale and quality,” said Geoff Burke, CMO of Broadband Forum. “As 5G enters the picture, the fixed network will not only provide the backbone for the 5G services, but new services created from wireless-wireline convergence will also continue to drive fixed broadband proliferation and adoption.Broadband Forum is on the forefront of this transformation, championing the initiatives that will continue to improve the broadband experiences of the future.”

For more information about Broadband Forum’s work, visit: https://www.broadband-forum.org/

To see the full Point Topic Report, please see: http://point-topic.com/free-analysis/broadband-next-billion/.

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Cape Town not so calm – if you’re a driver

Cape Town drivers lose on average 162 hours a year to traffic jams, so will need some tech and a few tips to stay calm

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Cape Town drivers lose, on average, 162 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, and the city is ranked 95th out of around 200 cities, across 38 countries surveyed globally, in terms of congestion issues.

That’s according to the latest INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, which is an annual analysis of mobility and congestion trends. The study provides a data-rich evaluation of information collected during peak (slowest) travel times, and inter peak (fastest point between morning and afternoon commutes) travel times. Together they provide a holistic account of congestion throughout the day, delivering in-depth insights for vehicle drivers and policy-makers to make better decisions regarding urban travel and traffic health.

Of the further five South African cities surveyed:

  • Pretoria drivers lose, on average, 143 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, ranking as the 64thmost congested city
  • Johannesburg drivers lose an average of 119 hours annually, ranking 61st
  • Durban drivers lose 72 hours, ranking 141st
  • Port Elizabeth drivers lose 71 hours, ranking 75th
  • And Bloemfontein drivers lose 62 hours, ranking 165th

If these hours sound horrific, spare a thought for the poor drivers in Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá who lose, on average, a whopping 272 hours a year stuck in traffic jams!

On average, drivers’ commutes increase by roughly 30% during peak versus inter-peak hours. And the reality is that congestion issues aren’t going away anytime soon. Not here in SA, or anywhere else in the world. So what can we, as drivers, do to make the situation easier to cope with on our daily commute?

Change of mindset

Stressing about the unavoidable, the inevitable, and all the things that are out of our control – like congestion caused by accidents, faulty street lights, or bad weather – is a waste of energy. We should try finding ways of using that time in our cars more productively, to create a less tense, more positive experience. Learning to change our perspective about this challenging time, and associating it with something enjoyable, can drastically alter our reaction to and engagement with it. Rather than expending all our energy on futile anger and frustration, we can channel our focus on things that relax or energise us instead.

Just one more chapter

Being stuck in traffic usually aggravates us because it feels like a huge waste of valuable time. But like a wise man once said, time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. Listening to a podcast or audiobook can not only be entertaining, but also educational, which is a brilliant use of your time. Ifyou think of your car as a ‘learning lab’, a mobile university of sorts, and your time spent inside as away to exercise your brain and grow intellectually, you may even find yourself wishing for bad traffic so you have an excuse to carry on listening to your podcast or audiobook.

Tame your inner Hulk

Pulling up a playlist of your favourite, feel-good songs can do wonders to combat stress levels. Downbeat music has been proven to have a mellowing effect on drivers. Making a quick switch to downbeat music shows measurable physiological improvements, with drivers calming down much sooner, and making fewer driving mistakes. So the next time you feel your inner Hulk emerging, crank up the volume on your favourite tunes.

The power of ‘caromatherapy’

There are numerous studies on aromas and their impact on human emotion, behaviour, and performance. Researchers have found that peppermint can enhance mental and athletic performance and cognitive functioning, while cinnamon may improve tasks related to attentional processes and visual-motor response speed. A study from Kyoto University in Japan revealed that participants reported significantly lower hostility and depression scores, and felt more relaxed after awalk through a pine forest. It makes sense then, to incorporate some ‘caromatherapy’ into our lives. There are plenty of off-the-shelf car diffusers available, or you could add a few drops of essential oil to DIY felt air fresheners. Citrus scents like orange or lemon can provide a boost of energy, while rosemary can relieve stress and anxiety. Take care not to hang anything that might obstruct your field of vision though, and always make sure to test out essential oils at home first, in case a scent makes you dizzy or overly relaxed, which could affect driving focus.

Contemplate your navel

The mind is a powerful thing, and simply willing yourself to relax might be the most effective method of all. While we don’t recommend meditating while driving due to safety reasons, breathing exercises can help you stay focused and feeling calm. One useful practice is the one-to-one technique – breathing in and out for the same count with the same intensity. Deep, measured breaths facilitate full oxygen exchange, helping to slow down the rate of your heartbeat and stabilise blood pressure, as opposed to shallow breathing, which doesn’t send enough air to the lowest part of your lungs, causing you to feel anxious and short of breath. Just always keep your eyes on the road, and take care to ensure you’re not so busy counting breaths that your concentration is compromised.

Not all those who wander are lost

Some of our best ideas come in those moments where we’re alone with our own thoughts, able to really reflect on the ideas we have without having something immediate that needs our attention. Allow your mind to wander, and do a little brainstorming. Alternatively, use the time to simply day dream. Remember, downtime is not dead time. It is both necessary, and important for your mental health. Use this time as an opportunity to take care of yourself.

In-built vehicle tech

“As we spend more and more time commuting, cars are being designed to accommodate longer periods behind the wheel,” says Kuda Takura, smart mobility specialist at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Ford uses human-centric design to deliver vehicles that are inviting, accommodating, and intuitive. For example, our SYNCT infotainment system offers nifty, hands-free functions, like allowing drivers to listen to their texts, change music or climate settings, and make phone calls easily with voice control. Our range of driver-assist technologies, like Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Semi-Auto Active Park Assist, are also designed to take some of the stress off city driving. If our lifestyle means that we might be spending more time in our cars than we do on holiday, then we should make sure we make the most of that time.”

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Vodacom exits Africa biz services

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Vodacom Group has sold Vodacom Business Africa’s operations in Nigeria, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire to Andile Ngcaba’s Synergy Communications. The two entities are in the process of concluding the acquisitions, which are subject to the approval of the regulatory authorities within these markets.

Vodacom says the transaction supports the Group’s enterprise strategy in Africa, which has been refocused to grow and strengthen its core business. It will no longer directly service global enterprise customers in these three markets but will rather continue to operate as a pan African telecommunications networks provider through local relationships, like the one with Synergy Communications. 

This acquisition represents a significant milestone in Synergy Communication’s quest to be a leading provider of cloud and digitally based services in key markets across sub-Saharan Africa and provides key additional assets in its build out of a regional footprint. Synergy Communications currently has operations in Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Synergy Communications said: “This is an exciting landmark transaction for Synergy Communications, providing us with additional momentum in the delivery of our strategy as a pan-African enterprise digital Services Provider. Synergy Communications will partner with major global cloud providers and deliver platform-based services to both multi-nationals and local enterprises.”

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “Vodacom has a clear vision for strengthening our position as a leading pan-African business and will work with local service providers like Synergy Communications to grow in these markets. Crucially, Vodacom is not exiting any of the territories related to this transaction and remains focused on continuing to deliver exceptional service to our global and multinational clients in these markets through long-term commercial agreements. 

“To support the sustainable growth of pan African digital economies and building connected societies, Vodacom will, via local service providers, continue to service clients in each market. We seek to leverage the collective strengths of Vodacom and Synergy Communications to meet the changing requirements of clients across each of these markets.”

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