Tata partners ADS for African broadband backbone

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TATA Communications Transformation Services (TCTS), the telecommunications development subsidiary of Tata Communications, is partnering with research group Africa Development Solutions (ADS) to build a fibre infrastructure across Africa.

Aerial fibre, designed for deployment within the last mile of the network, and free-space optical cables, which use light propagating in free space to wirelessly transmit data, are two technologies being considered in the first phase of preliminary studies by TCTS and ADS due to factors such as cost, quality and speed of deployment.

The TCTS-ADS partnership is following the vision of Smart Africa — a continent-wide initiative between African states that aims to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent and create a digital economy that supports societies and communities.

‘It is great to see that a renowned expert in ICT networks deployment like TCTS is ready to further commit to Africa’s development,’ said Samba Bathily, founder and CEO of ADS, an organisation dedicated to researching and promoting projects that will benefit African development.

‘ICT access will be a game-changer and a growth-driver for the continent. We just need the infrastructure to create economic opportunities for our communities and unleash African talent and creativity.’

TCTS will perform pre-feasibility assessments with ADS for African nations, studying existing as well as planned fibre infrastructure and deploy a strong multi-country connectivity infrastructure backbone.

The Smart Africa initiative prioritises information communication technology (ICT) as a key enabler, with scalability and accessibility of connectivity within and to urban, suburban and rural areas in Africa a top priority.

In conjunction with Smart Africa, TCTS and ADS will also co-ordinate the delivery of the ‘Western African Digital Pool’, which consists of deploying internet connectivity over seven African countries, including Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra-Leone, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Mali.

This project will is considered a major step towards the implementation of a single digital market in Africa.

Madhusudhan Mysore, executive chairman and CEO, Tata Communications Transformation Services said: ‘TCTS has vast experience in leading telcos in Africa to accelerate and de-risk their transformation journey.

‘Our partnership [will] enable us to contribute more broadly in the knowledge sharing and nation building initiatives that will enhance competitiveness of the African continent.”

Kenya has already begun major development of its communications infrastructure as its regional mobile network operator Safaricom recently announced that it will double the number of 4G sites by March 2020.

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