Broadband, broadband everywhere
Fixed and mobile broadband are combining to deliver high-speed connectivity to users and enterprises in the world’s high-growth markets. Fiber, submarine cabling and 4G LTE are all supporting increased network capacity and resilience around the world to provide a network for both now and the future.
fiber for now and the future
While broadband deployment strategies often differ by country, one thing has become clear – fiber will be vital in powering the next level of global connectivity. As capacity demand continues its rapid rise and consumers go on devouring applications and data, fiber will play a key role in providing the necessary robust infrastructure to support usage.
Fiber is the fastest-growing Internet access technology today. There are currently around 125 million fiber subscribers around the world; 200 kilometers of fiber cable are deployed per year; and 2012 saw 40,000 new fiber subscribers per day, a growth rate of 22 per cent.
Pacific Rim leads the way
Over 120 countries now have broadband policies in place, led by the likes of Australia with its National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which will bring fiber to 93 per cent of its premises by 2021. China is another high‑growth market driving forward aggressively with fiber deployments, with half the world’s fiber subscriptions set to be located there by 2016. Each national broadband policy is tailored to development plans and reflects various political, social, economic and cultural goals.
High-quality broadband infrastructure like fiber is acknowledged as being critical for achieving digital economy, e-health, e-learning, e-government and other targets.
Gordon Makryllos, Managing Director, Orange Business Services Australasia, said, “Australia has set very aggressive fiber targets and goals, backed by the government, which sees the economic, social and cultural benefits that fast broadband brings to the entire country. The NBN project is a commitment to deployment goals, which will enable end-user mobility, business growth and many other advantages. It’s really inspiring for the entire country.”
The story is similar in other Pacific Rim nations, with Japan and South Korea boasting fiber penetration in excess of 60 per cent and Korea deploying one gigabyte fiber access throughout the country.
future-proofing high-speed connectivity
Fiber is future-proofing the global network; whether using applications like streamed video, cloud services and videoconferencing or simply downloading massive files, fiber delivers consistently fast broadband wherever users want it. And with user demand for data and ever-faster download speeds showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, fiber is set for a very big future.
submarine cabling: the new essential infrastructure in Africa
Helping bridge the digital divide by bringing broadband to under-connected regions such as Africa is a huge, but vital, undertaking. And the latest generation of submarine cables is powering this transformation.
East Africa was the last of the world’s major economic regions without direct submarine cable access. Until this arrived in the summer 2009, businesses and Internet users had to rely on slower and congested routes out of the continent via West Africa or satellite connectivity. Now with regional access to submarine fiber optic cables, they have cost-effective and fast international network connectivity, which drives economic growth and societal change.
In fact, continent-wide, Africa is busy laying new submarine cables. Countries including Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ghana all recently announced new infrastructure development projects and connections to the outside world. Thirteen subsea cables are now in place, and one year on from the rollout of the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Africa enjoys better connectivity to the rest of the world than ever before.
enabling communication, powering growth
Africa’s submarine cables are key enablers to the region’s economies, connecting them to worldwide networks. Today’s high-speed connectivity can be compared to the road-building of the past, helping remote locations connect with other regional commercial hubs and creating opportunities.
The submarine cable network addresses the need for speed but also the need for capacity; as broadband rolls out across the continent, subsea cables are taking up the strain by carrying Internet and business data. Between 2007 and the end of 2012, the capacity carried by Africa’s submarine cabling increased by more than 70 per cent annually.
new routes, new possibilities
Reliable connectivity means that African economies can enjoy secure routes to Europe, Asia and beyond. The availability of high-speed broadband connectivity throughout Africa helps power social and economic change while also creating commercial opportunities.
Not only are submarine cables carrying broadband to previously under-connected areas in Africa, they also provide the continent with multiple, diverse connectivity routes to the rest of the world. So should one route become disrupted, other submarine cables are there to rely on, meaning a more resilient, reliable network
LTE in high-growth markets – foundation for the future
As mobile device proliferation and the mobile data explosion continue apace, the need for a robust, high-speed mobile network to deliver on user expectation remains as vital as ever. And it is 4G LTE that can drive the mobile revolution.
The next-generation mobile network is growing fast around the world, with vendors and operators responding to consumer demand for ever faster data speeds and capacity. One place where smartphone proliferation is driving forward mobile data usage and LTE demand is one of the world’s genuinely high-growth markets: Brazil.
boom time for mobile in Brazil
Brazil is set to become the fifth largest smartphone market in the world in 2013, behind only the U.S., China, the UK and Japan.
The country has also seen mobile broadband subscriptions increase by 45 per cent in 2012, and 67 million Brazilian citizens will access the Internet by mobile in 2013. In addition, Brazilians are predicted to buy over five million tablets in 2013. It is fair to say that the country’s mobile broadband industry is thriving.
This is all good news with two major global sporting festivals on the way: the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. With visitors from around the world arriving to follow their sporting heroes and share thoughts and photos with friends and family, Brazil must ensure its mobile broadband network is as robust as possible. The 2012 Olympic Games in London was the most talked-about sporting event in history, with more than 150 million tweets sent over the 17 days of the event; 2014 and 2016 will surely place more demand on connectivity in Brazil as attendees, fans and journalists all turn to social media to share their experiences.
Many locations in Brazil have minimal fixed-line broadband infrastructure, and this is reflected in a fixed broadband subscription penetration of just 22 per cent. This dearth makes good quality LTE access more important than ever.
Some operators claim to be ahead of schedule in rolling out 4G, but the pressure is on. Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel predicts that there will be four million 4G LTE users throughout the country by December 2013, and all 12 soccer World Cup host cities must have 4G networks in place by May 2014.
The economic opportunities are clear, in addition to the social benefits of extending broadband to people all over the country. With two of the world’s biggest global marketing events headed for Brazil in the next three years, the country’s economy can use a strong broadband network to drive new commercial opportunities and revenues.