Internet Solutions has boosted its capabilities and reach into West Africa by connecting Namibia (through its local implementation partner, ITN) and Nigeria to the West Africa Cable System (WACS). The company also plans to light up capacity in Ghana and Angola in the near future.
‚”This is an important strategic step in our African expansion plans, having acquired significant capacity on the 5.12Tbps undersea fibre optic cable,‚” explains Sean Nourse, executive: Connectivity Services at IS. ‚”A number of our South African clients are also expanding internationally or have established operations in these regions. They therefore require the capabilities to connect with these key economic hubs in West Africa. There is also a growing need to provide high speed outbound international broadband connectivity to the rapidly growing enterprise and small-to-medium-sized business market in these regions.‚”
According to Nourse, these links now offer IS clients greater diversity up the west coast of Africa as it complements existing SAT-3 capacity. In the case of Namibia, it is also the first time that the country has been linked to an undersea fibre optic cable system. The connection has been made possible through IS’s local implementation partner, ITN, which holds ECS and ECNS licences in Namibia.
‚”With the launch of this connectivity in Nigeria and Namibia IS has become one of the first providers to go to market with WACS capacity,‚” he continues. ‚”This means that our current MPLS clients will benefit from a more stable and resilient international network, with redundancy up the west coast, at no additional cost. In fact, we are now in a position to offer better rates on various international services due to the added capacity.‚”
It also opens up the market to companies in these regions that want access to the IS data centre network in South Africa and Europe, explains Nourse. ‚”This enables us to offer companies a variety of services and applications that were not always practical in the past due to bandwidth constraints such as IP-based communication, including VoIP and video conferencing, as well as content sharing, collaboration tools, e-commerce and centralised cloud computing services.‚”
Additional West African countries earmarked for links to WACS include Angola and Ghana. ‚”Angola is currently only linked to the SAT-3 cable. We will therefore light up WACS capacity to support our customers that operate there, enabling us to offer better pricing and reliability,‚” says Nourse.
‚”As the powerhouses of West Africa, we are excited to see how this WACS capacity will help to drive further growth in these regions through the improved international communication, collaboration and e-commerce capabilities it offers,‚” he concludes.
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Africa gets broadband boost
ITU and Nexpedience, a supplier of proprietary point-to-multipoint broadband infrastructure, are partnering to bring broadband access to Africa.
Under the terms of the deal, Nexpedience will provide 180 new Expedience base stations worth USD 1 million, to be deployed in six nations across the continent. The first nation to benefit from the new infrastructure is Burundi, with deployments also planned for Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Mali, Rwanda and Swaziland.
Designed to withstand extreme meteorological conditions and capable of providing up to 32 kilometres of sector coverage, Nexpedience’s base stations have been specifically designed for rural deployment.
ITU’s Wireless Broadband Network in Africa project aims to develop and implement wireless broadband connectivity and applications that will provide free or low-cost digital access for schools, hospitals, and under-served populations in rural and remote areas Africa-wide.
At the signing of the agreement in Geneva, Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) emphasized the need to make developing countries part of the global broadband revolution: ‚”This partnership represents another important element in ITU’s efforts to bring broadband technology to the world even in the poorest nations. I am confident that this new partnership will accelerate broadband uptake right across the African continent, bringing the power of high-speed connectivity to users everywhere, from big cities to small villages.‚”
Kiriako Vergos, CEO of Nexpedience said: ‚”Giving access to broadband technology to underserved populations in Africa is of great importance to us. There are enormous benefits to be derived from a ‚’broadband-seed’ deployment strategy, and we decided to partner with ITU because we know that the organization has the team in place to get it done.‚”
ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour√© said the new agreement is a ‚”major step forward in getting Africa connected‚”. Dr Tour√© led the establishment of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2010, which has the aim of putting broadband at the heart of the global development agenda.
Nokia backs tech hubs for developing world
Nokia, AppCampus and infoDev are collaborating with mobile innovation hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to act as scouts for local talent.
Nokia, AppCampus and infoDev, a global innovation program of the World Bank, have announced a collaboration with mobile innovation hubs across Africa, Asia and Latin America – a move that will empower these hubs to act as scouts and agents for local talent, fast-tracking their access to AppCampus funding.
AppCampus was established in 2012 as a mobile application accelerator program managed by Aalto University in Finland. With an 18 million euro joint investment between Microsoft and Nokia, the aim is to foster mobile application development on Windows Phone and any other Nokia platform.
The announcement earmarks part of that investment fund for twenty six awards per annum for the best mobile innovation ideas to be made via the mobile innovation hub network, starting with infoDev’s mobile application labs in South Africa, Kenya, Armenia and Vietnam, as well as mobile application laboratories in Egypt (TIEC), Nigeria (CC Hub) and Mexico. The value of each award ranges from 20,000 Euro (US$ 26,000) to 70,000 Euro (US$ 90,000) depending on the complexity of the solution or business model behind the idea.
‚”By working jointly with the mobile innovation hubs, we are able to connect more effectively with local developers in emerging markets and provide support in terms of funding, especially for locally relevant innovations,‚” says Pekka Sivonen, Head of AppCampus. ‚”Although the criteria to access the AppCampus funding remains the same, with ideas needing to be original, competitive and scalable, the advantage is faster processing and the mentorship provided by these innovation hubs.‚”
The hubs and mLabs will be responsible for scouting talent and vetting ideas to be submitted to the global pool. infoDev’s mLabs foster regional entrepreneurship, employment and competitiveness by providing open spaces where developers can find training, mentoring, technical expertise and access to financing. In a short time, mLab-supported startups have brought over 120 commercial apps to market The best new entries from this network will compete against each other each quarter for the available awards.
‚”Nokia, working closely with infoDev, has supported the establishment and operation of a number of mLabs across emerging markets in support of local developers,‚” says Jussi Hinkkanen, vice president corporate relations for Nokia Middle East and Africa. ‚”The AppCampus collaboration showcases our commitment to strengthening the growing mLab network around the world and infoDev’s vision of supporting emerging market entrepreneurs in conquering local, regional and global markets‚”.
The official launch of the program took place during the mobile stream at the Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship in East London, South Africa, organized by infoDev and the South African Department of Science & Technology. A key theme of the Forum is how innovation can lead to high-growth entrepreneurship which creates sustainable jobs. Valerie D’Costa, infoDev’s Program Manager says, ‚”The AppCampus initiative fits with the philosophy of infoDev of supporting innovative entrepreneurs from developing countries. We want to support those who can excel with some level of mentorship, skills training and seed financing. We provide potential job-creators better access to markets, which is what we are all about.‚”