Tag Archives: broadband

Additional broadband for universities and research institutions

Towards the end of the year, all South African universities and public research institutions are going to have ability to access internet broadband, at a speed comparable to that of more developed nations.

South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training has revealed that R886-million (US$117-million) is going to be invested in linking local universities and public research organisations, by way of a broadband connection with a minimum speed of 10 gigabits per second.

The development signals a whole new era in research and cooperation for South Africa. It places the country on a par with the rest of the developed world for the very first time.



South Africa’s message to overseas scientists is apparent. “Scientists will have the opportunity to come to the country, with the knowledge that they are able to access the exact same quality ICT services as they are used to in their home countries,” says Christiaan Kuun, project manager for the South African National Research Network (SANReN)

The SANReN forms a part of the government’s goal to grow scientific infrastructure and develop a new national research and education network (NREN) in South Africa.

The SANReN project, which happens to be an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, started in 2007 to develop an enabling information technology environment for students and researchers at tertiary institutions.

SANReN for rural areas

As reported by the Meraka Institute at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), tertiary institutions in rural areas are the latest to reap some benefits from the SANReN roll-out.

The Meraka Institute manages implementation and oversight of the project. The institute concentrates on advancement and research in information technology.

Included in phase two of the project, infrastructure development is going to be expanded to smaller, rural universities and satellite campuses throughout the country.



The University of Venda and its satellite campuses in the North West province, Limpopo, and the Eastern Cape amongst others, are going to connect later in the year to SANReN the very first time.

This will insure that it is possible to access the internet at a minimum speed of one gigabit per second.

Phase one, which was completed late last year, made it feasible for 105 tertiary and research councils, included in this 23 educational institutions and eight science councils, to connect to SANReN.

The South African Large Telescope (Salt) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) internet connections were at the same time finalised in the first phase, which now makes it possible for local and international scientists to process large quantities of data every day.


How it works


The SANReN national ring network links all South Africa’s major cities – Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London -with each other. This connection provides a speed of 10 gigabits per second.

International connectivity is supplied via the Seacom undersea cable along with a joint collaboration with the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa and international networks such as GÉANT, a pan-European research and education network.


ICT for Education


Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, deputy minister of higher education, states that the network forms part of the government’s aspiration to fast track research and education capabilities through ICT at all tertiary institutions, with top priority given to rural based institutions.

Mkhize represented the country at the Southern African ICT for Education Summit held at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on 26 and 27 January.


Significant investment


Government has made a significant investment in various projects and infrastructure, of which SANReN forms a part.

Government-owned telecommunications company Sentech is establishing a national wireless broadband network focussing on rural access.

Broadband Infraco, also government owned, is modernizing its network to boost capacity and reach.



The government has additionally invested in submarine cable projects including the West Africa Cable System (Wacs) and the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy).

Wacs is an under-construction submarine communications cable linking South Africa with the United Kingdom running along the west coast of Africa.

EASSy is an undersea fibre optic cable system linking countries of eastern Africa to the rest of the world.

According to Mkhize, EASSy will provide an extra eight terabits to the country.


SA’s global IT ranking


The 2010-2011 Global Information Technology Report from the World Economic Forum ranks South Africa 61st of 138 countries on its networked readiness index.

The index analyzes a county’s IT readiness in three areas: the regulatory, infrastructure and business environment for IT in the country; the readiness of business, government and individuals (three key groups identified) to use and benefit from IT; and actual ICT usage figures by these groups.

For the second consecutive year, Sweden and Singapore were placed first and second respectively. Overall, Nordic and Asian countries lead in the readiness ratings.

South Africa has both good and bad points in this regard. Its regulatory environment is excellent, however its individual readiness and uptake of ICT remains low.

The high cost of access to ICT in South Africa is an additional challenge. However, SANReN is dealing with this problem.

This lies at the centre of the skills challenge in South Africa, admitted Mkhize.

Approximately three-million young people in rural and semi-urban areas have the most pressing educational needs, she stated.

While government’s investments is going a considerable way to enhance the future of rural students, in order for ICT investments to be meaningful, a holistic approach is required, she added.

“Above everything, we need to utilize centres of higher learning as hubs of technology transfer.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


SA broadband gets boost from Seacom investment

Undersea data cable company Seacom has invested R100-million in additional infrastructure in South Africa in an attempt to fulfill the consistent high growth in demand for high speed broadband services and applications.

The investment comes with the acquisition of physical optical fibre links from Dark Fibre Africa, in addition to installing equipment essential for Seacom to handle the network connecting the Seacom landing point on the KwaZulu-Natal coast to two redundant points-of-presence (PoPs) in Gauteng province.

“South Africa continues to offer incredible growth opportunities and this investment demonstrates Seacom’s viewpoint that satisfactory infrastructure will guarantee that the market can absorb new capacity within record time,” Seacom CEO Brian Herlihy.

Interconnected African markets

The fibre is going to be lit with cutting-edge technology which will give the new link a design capacity in excess of 8 terabits per second (T/bs), consistent with Seacom’s strategies to increase the marine portion of the cable to over 4.8 Tb/s.

This massive quantity of capacity makes it possible for Seacom to align present-day and potential future customer needs with the surge in broadband demand driven by a wave of content-rich applications which includes cloud computing to fulfill enterprise needs, HD video streaming and IPTV services.


Brian Herlihy, CEO, SEACOM


“In our ongoing pursuit to make improvements to service quality, this is one of the numerous investment strategies that we are following to make certain that we provide our customers with the most effective support as we proceed to develop the African Internet based on low-latency, high speed and reliable infrastructure,” Herlihy said.

The enhancements go toward supporting the company’s vision of an African internet experience characterised by a considerable assortment of local content, minimal latency, fast download and streaming speeds, and interconnected African markets.

Internet Protocol platform

The investment will also support Seacom’s recently launched Internet Protocol (IP) platform which will drive the expansion of content created in Africa and the regional hosting of international content.

Controlled by Seacom and its suppliers, the route is the company’s first combined project of this nature. It’s going to be operated in parallel with Seacom’s already present routes and will offer customers with the advantage of secured services delivered across multiple, physically diverse routes and operated by multiple providers.


“This new capacity will benefit the end user by making it possible for SEACOM clients to bring new content rich products to market in a reliable and economical way,” said Seacom head of product strategy, Suveer Ramdhani.

“The scale of the capacity we are making available on the route is another first in Africa and you can expect us to continue rolling out more ground-breaking technological developments in the near future.”

Source: southafrica.info


R8bn internet deal for rural SA

South African IT firm Mavoni Technologies is working together with international satellite company O3b Networks to help with making internet access feasible for rural communities in the country.

The two companies already have agreed upon an R8-billion (US$1.2-billion) agreement that will see the roll-out of fast-paced broadband internet to local communities in the Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces over the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

In accordance with the contract, the companies will develop a satellite-based global internet backbone by using a constellation of eight medium-earth orbit (MEO) satellites.


These kinds of MEO satellites will offer faster access to the internet along with clearer voice communications and video conferencing in comparison with standard communication satellites, given that they will be four times closer to the earth.

Mavoni CEO Tinyiko Valoyi explained that his company would like to concentrate on delivering internet to underprivileged regions of South Africa that can help develop them and enhance the lives of people living there.

Valoyi added that his company is likely to direct attention to rolling out internet in schools and government institutions. The first province they would focus on will be the Northern Cape where they would offer internet access to an estimated 1 500 schools, which would benefit about 185 000 pupils.

Mavoni will in addition partner with the provincial government of Limpopo to be able to deliver internet connectivity to well over 500 schools there.


Mavoni CEO Tinyiko Valoyi


“We made a decision to begin with the Northern Cape because it is usually a overlooked area when considering online connectivity. Limpopo and Mpumalanga are likewise high priorities. In the past, these have been locations where fibre networks have not been able to reach.”

Valoyi said his organization is presently meeting up with various other provincial departments and municipalities that may also benefit from the initiative.

He explained no contracts have yet been agreed upon with any of the departments and municipalities, however they were looking to get them finalised towards the end of the year.

We are prepared to advance

Bandile Thusi from Nonzwakazi township located in the Northern Cape pointed out he was thrilled to hear about projects to deliver internet to schools in the province.

“It’s fantastic news. The majority of communication is performed via the internet nowadays and individuals in our areas, particularly the young people, need to have good computer skills in addition to a good knowledge of the internet so that they can submit an application for work and be prepared for the workplace.”

“We are prepared to advance,” said Nolwazi Zwane from Botleng township in Mpumalanga. “As a community, all of us are enthusiastic for ways to develop ourselves and see progress in our area. Obtaining internet will allow us to stay connected with what is occurring with the world around us, and help educate ourselves further.”

Chifiwa Makhwedzha from Nkowankowa in Limpopo explained that the initiative was obviously a fantastic way to boost work productivity in government departments.

“This can certainly help things speed up in some of the state departments here. On occasion, an issue that could have been accomplished promptly will take longer as a result of communication channels. With internet, it will hopefully be quicker to obtain assistance at government departments.”

Makhwedzha said he is additionally delighted that schools will be receiving internet as that should enhance the quality of education.

“I’m particularly delighted about the schools being the first on the list to get connected. Teachers at schools will now be capable of getting educational material for the subjects they teach via the web. They can then utilize this material to educate themselves as well as teach the students.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, techcentral.co.za


SA broadband users jump 50%

New research on internet accessibility confirms that the amount of South African being able to access the internet by means of broadband connection has exploded by more than 50% during the past year – a direct consequence of the escalating necessity for round-the-clock connectivity.

The Internet Access in South Africa 2010 study, conducted by World Wide Worx and Cisco, reveals that the vast majority of expansion in fixed line broadband emanates from small and medium sized organizations upgrading to ADSL.

Consequently, this has expanded access to the internet to well over half-a-milion South Africans employed in small offices who did not until now have access.


Arthur Goldstuck Head of World Wide Worx


Furthermore, it unveils that wireless broadband subscriptions have increased by 88% during the past year as opposed to 21% for fixed-line ADSL subscriptions, predominantly as a result of large companies providing 3G cards to employees who require to remain connected while out of the office.

“Wireless broadband is neither cheaper nor better quality, however it is far more convenient and flexible, additionally it transforms the way we think about where and how we make use of the internet,” World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck said.

The supply of both fibre access and new licences in addition has started a 18% rise in the number of internet access and service providers in South Africa.

‘The connected life’

Based on the study, numerous workers in South Africa today are capable of doing their jobs in or out of the office – “the connected life” – that enables employees to be productive, responsive and creative in or out of their conventional office spaces.

Remote or mobile workers are able to instantaneously gain access to business-essential applications, colleagues, and partners worldwide without regard for their location, the study reveals, adding the fact that this capability to collaborate and share information in real-time will certainly improve business productivity and profitability throughout the region.

“A mobile broadband connection can be described as a key enabler of the ‘connected life’,” said Cisco South Africa senior manager Reshaad Sha. “Cisco Internet Business Solutions group describes ‘connected life’ services as those services that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, on any device and by anyone.”


Terrestrial fibre-optic networks

Although the study in addition reports on the current and expected influence of the new undersea cables, that happen to be making a lot of the headlines in Internet news lately, it also examines, for the very first time, the impact of the roll-out of terrestrial fibre-optic networks throughout South Africa.

As opposed to undersea cables that connect the country to the world, terrestrial fibre extends that connectivity directly into the major cities and towns, where businesses and consumers are connected in turn.

“The combination of new undersea cables and terrestrial fibre-optic networks would mean that we are experiencing the beginning of the next generation of connectivity technology, both in fixed line and wireless services,” said Goldstuck.


“The absent ingredients at this point are the next generation of customer access devices for those people who are connected, and reasonably priced availability of access for those people who are not.”

In the event that all present-day cable projects come to fruition by 2011, the overall capacity of undersea cables linking Africa to the rest of the world will have increased 150-fold over 2008. At the end of 2009, the capacity was 1 690 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps). At the end of 2010 it will be 5 410 Gbps, and a year later 14 770 Gbps.

Convergence of services

The research at the same time delves into the influence internet access is having on South Africa, from enhanced access to government information services to new trends in entertainment and education.

Coming from a data perspective, consumers are utilizing the internet to develop blogs and personal websites with text, pictures and video, while the convergence of formally disparate services – voice, video and data – also has made available an assortment of new experiences, for instance the integration of broadcast TV, video on demand (VoD) and telephony services.

“The diverse range of services and the demand consumers have begun placing on Internet based application services seems to have fuelled the uptake that we see today. Internet access speeds really do need to scale in order to meet the demands of applications and services, especially those that are video enabled,” said Sha.

“The network build outs that we are experiencing in South Africa happen to be positive steps towards the delivery of feature rich Internet services that the majority of developed countries are already enjoying.”

Source: southafrica.info


Africa to acquire substantially more high speed broadband

Along with the landing of the brand new West African Cable System on South African soil on 19 April 2011, shortly following the implementation of the East African Submarine System (Eassy) and Seacom, Africans may very well be forgiven for believing it could not get any better.

Having said that there is certainly a lot more to look forward to when it comes to improved broadband capacity.

The most recent program obtained the blessing of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – at their latest summit organised earlier in April. The five nations are going to support the development of a completely new undersea cable intended to link South Africa, Angola and Brazil – even though they won’t fund it directly.

Initial assessments place the cost at R3-billion (US$445-million).

Referred to as the South Atlantic Express (SAEx), the cable is going to at the outset provide a speed of 12.8Tbit/s. It will eventually link Nigeria and Angola to Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, leave the continent to land at Fortaleza on Brazil’s northeast coastline, and after that supply onward connectivity to the US via the GlobeNet system.

Mtunzini has already been a centre of local connectivity, due to the fact it’s the South African landing point for both the Seacom and Eassy cables.

SAEx is going to be the first cable to cross the south Atlantic, nevertheless it will supply additional capacity in the other direction too, to India via Seacom and after that making use of numerous cable systems to connect Africa to Asian countries, including China.

When it comes to Africans, this implies a shorter electronic route to the US, considered as the global internet capital as well as the location of several of the world’s biggest servers. The shorter travelling distance for data is going to reduce latency – also know as the dreaded lag. The vast majority of local internet traffic at present arrives in the US through the much longer Europe-north Atlantic route.

SAEx is going to be run by local black-owned technology investment company eFive Telecoms. EFive also has contracted Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent to build the cable via its subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co, the global corporation’s flagship company in China.

High African growth rate

CEO of eFive Lawrence Mulaudzi stated his company is convinced that Africa’s high rate of growth necessitates the development of such projects.

“The planned submarine network will in addition make available cable route diversity to South America, creating quite possibly the most economical and operational sense with the current economic landscape,” he was quoted saying.

Early reports hint at Chinese financing for the project, in colaboration with South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation. The Bank of China could quite possibly provide as much as 60% of the funds.

With planning presently well advanced, eFive anticipates that SAEx will probably be operational by June 2013. In the event that all goes well, said Mulaudzi, it could possibly go live in the first quarter of the year.

Numerous South African service providers and technology companies are presently involved in improving terrestrial communications infrastructure, which will be able to take complete advantage of the souped-up submarine capacity.

Most notably are local fixed-line operator Telkom, state-owned Broadband Infraco, and two consortiums made up of big-name players in local telecoms, including service providers Internet Solution, Neotel, and Vodacom.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, technimb.us, telecoms.com, itnewsafrica.com