The acceleration of national broadband agendas in Africa and their alignment with national imperatives are key issues at this year’s Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit in Ethiopia, 19-21 March 2013.

David Eurin, Partner and Head of Analysys Mason’s Africa operations, will be chairing the “Operator Strategies, Supporting National Growth” session, including panellists such as MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa and Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli, highlighting the socio-economic benefits of widespread Internet access and showcasing national broadband initiatives in practice in other parts of the world.

Analysys Mason Principal Analyst Roz Roseboro and Manager Robert Schumann, interim Head of Analysys Mason’s new Johannesburg office, will also be chairing and participating in several panel discussions relating to national broadband agendas and providing insight on infrastructure challenges, available technologies and consumer behaviour.

“For any country to be economically competitive in the global market, its population, businesses and public organisations need access to suitable telecommunications services, ideally high-speed broadband. The development of broadband infrastructure and services must therefore represent one of the top priorities of governments and industry in Africa,” explains David Eurin.

Extensia and the Ministry of ICT Ethiopia are again hosting the summit which provides a pivotal link between national development objectives, service provider goals and end-user needs.

“Unlike their counterparts in Europe, Internet access providers in Africa have not been able to use an established fixed communications network because of the much lower penetration of fixed telephone lines,” states Eurin.

“Although mobile networks have proved their value, it is becoming clear that fixed networks are a key part of providing robust Internet service, even in Africa. Financing fixed networks has often posed more of a challenge, and it is likely that telecommunications operators and governments will have to work together to find technological, operational and financing solutions to bridge the many digital divides we see,” concludes Eurin.

Analysys Mason has recently worked on the development of national broadband strategy for several governments in Africa and has similar experience in a range of other countries worldwide. The firm’s work advising investors, infrastructurve owners and on cost reductions for operators is also suggesting pragmatic solutions to national broadband challenges.

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