African Internet Resilience #6: The Role of Fibre Optic Backbone Infrastructure in Affordable Access

‹ Back
Affordable high-speed backhaul has become a critical bottleneck in the evolution of broadband infrastructure.

The implications of this bottleneck have become more profound during the global pandemic crisis, as people increasingly depend on the Internet for remote work, education, and for social connection in a time of physical isolation. Despite the extensive deployment of terrestrial fibre optic infrastructure throughout the continent, much of the potential capacity of these networks remains underutilised.

This sixth webinar of the African Internet Resilience series was organized by the African Union Commission (AU), the Internet Society (ISOC) and NetHope in collaboration with the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and Mozilla. It explored developments in fibre optic infrastructure development to date and how fibre optic infrastructure needs to evolve in order to accelerate the growth of affordable broadband on the continent.

Questions to be explored in the webinar include:

  • How can the utilisation of existing fibre optic backbone networks be increased?
  • What kinds of fibre optic network ownership models are proving successful in stimulating broadband uptake?
  • What is Open Access and do Open Access policies make a difference in stimulating uptake of fibre broadband?
  • What is the role of wholesale access networks in stimulating competition?
  • What is the role of the state at the national, provincial/state, and municipal level in stimulating fibre optic backbone development?
  • How can infrastructure gaps best be identified and addressed?
  • What design and planning considerations are important to ensure that fibre optic network deployments support the growth and development of other, key infrastructure such as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) and data centres?
  • What are some of the main barriers to its successful implementation? How can they be overcome?

You can watch the recording of the session on these channels:

This session was archived at the Internet Archive in both French and English.

‹ Back
Date and Time

11:00 – 12:30 UTC

Thursday 13 August 2020




Estelle Akofio-Sowah

West Africa Regional Manager for CSquared

Estelle Akofio-Sowah is the West Africa Regional Manager for CSquared. She has over 16 years of experience in the internet and business development industry in Ghana, including being the Managing… Read more

Dr. Abu Sufian E. Dafalla

Consultant, PIDA PAP2

Dr. Abu Sufian E. Dafalla graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Khartoum in 1992 in the digital satellite communications. He spent three months in University of… Read more

Prof. Meoli Kashorda

the Executive Director, Kenya Education Network (KENET)

Prof Meoli Kashorda is currently the Executive Director of Kenya Education Network (KENET), the National Research and Education of Kenya. In the last 10 years, he has been leading a… Read more

Ben Roberts

Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer/Directeur de la technologie et de l’innovation au sein du groupe, Liquid Intelligent Technologies

Ben has been Liquid Intelligent Technologies' Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer since 2017, having previously served as Chief Technical Officer since 2006. With over 20 years' experience across a… Read more

Steve Song

Mozilla Corporation

Steve Song is a Policy Advisor with the Mozilla Corporation, a consultant on access regulation and policy to the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and a research associate with the… Read more