Last updated at 14:43 BST, Monday, 30 April 2012

New broadband for Africa?

Summary

30 April 2012

The arrival of the mobile phone has revolutionised communications across Africa, but with more than half the continent already owning one, what is the next leap forward? Investors are putting their money into high speed internet.

Reporter:

Martin Plaut

Computer user in Africa, AP

Will the fast broadband change the way people live in Africa?

Listen

Click to hear the report

Report

Just fifteen years ago hardly anyone had a mobile phone in Africa. Today they can be seen in almost every market and on almost every street.

But the next big thing, predicts Moez Daya, will be cheap, fast broadband. This will allow streaming - live access to television, radio and other media via the internet.

Some will come through cables that have been laid around the coast. But Mr Daya, formerly chief executive of one of Africa's largest cell-phone operators, Celtel, and now working with Satya Capital, says broadband can also be delivered by satellite.

Local operators will then redistribute the product through aerials on the roofs of their customers. Mr Daya says this should be commercially feasible.

Moez Daya: "I would imagine that a twenty dollar subscription for a bandwidth of somewhere around four megabits a second is entirely achievable and feasible, and probably commercially sensible".

Within two years, says Mr Daya, this could mean African children playing internet games, just like their Chinese or American counterparts, while their fathers sit and enjoy football on their mobile phones.

Listen

Click to hear the vocabulary

Vocabulary

hardly anyone

almost no-one

predicts

thinks will happen

broadband

high speed internet

live

at the same time as broadcast

delivered

carried

satellite

communication systems from space

redistribute

send out again

aerials

wires that receive or transmit communication signals

feasible

capable of being done

bandwidth

connection speed