from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Capea Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – EXPERTS have forecast fibre to overtake fixed broadband subscriptions in South Africa by 2023.
The projections come as fibre subscriptions have soared over 4 200 percent over the past seven years, and amidst growing demand for fast, secure and reliable internet.
Diana Becker of MJL Communications notes that fibre optics could be a “game-changer” for South Africa, enabling the country to bridge the digital divide to better compete in global markets.
“The pandemic significantly accelerated the pace of digitisation, and the reality is that we’re now living in a digital-first world characterised by trends like e-commerce, the internet of things (IoT), and cloud computing,” he said.
As a result, consumers and businesses have come to expect a seamless online experience where they can upload and download videos, podcasts, images and information almost instantaneously, without delays, buffering and dropped connections.
“This is where fibre optics is a game-changer.” Becker stated.
“Not only is fibre significantly faster than DSL lines, but it also helps to avoid issues such as peak traffic overloads and throttling, as well as providing added security benefits.”
According to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the number of fixed line broadband subscriptions increased from 1,1 million to 1,7 million in the seven years between 2015 and 2021 – an increase of 61 percent.
By contrast, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) subscriptions increase from 31 843 to 1,3 million over the same period, achieving growth of more than 4 231 pecrent.
Simultaneously, the World Bank estimates that the digital economy has grown nearly two and a half times faster than the global economy over the past 15 years, now representing around 15,5 percent of global GDP.
Arnoux Maré, co-owner of MJL Communications and CEO of Innovative Solutions Group, believes fibre represents clear opportunities for growth, both for local businesses participating in the digital economy and for fibre providers.
“For businesses, clients and consumers have come to expect quality online availability and reachability, while poor internet connectivity risks losing customers to a competitor,” Maré said.
– CAJ News