Connectivity in Zambia
- Until 2009 all internet and voice services to and from Zambia were carried over satellite. Whilst relatively reliable the cost of satellite capacity is high, and satellites are far enough out in space to add delay to services such as web browsing, voice or video – and in particular to interactive back-office systems such as those run by banks or airlines who have headquarters abroad.
- Whilst AfriConnect do keep satellite circuits live and available as back-up, all normal international links are now transited via fibre optic cable which links Lusaka to London (and thence to all destinations on the internet worldwide) via undersea cables along both east and west coasts of Africa. Latency (time taken for data to reach Europe and return) is now under a quarter of a second.
- In addition, AfriConnect has a direct fibre connection into South Africa, with latency as low as a tenth of a second, so very suitable for those with direct links to core systems and data services there.
- Within Zambia AfriConnect makes use of fibre cable to get to all key towns of operation along the ‘line of rail’ and in the Copperbelt. Other towns are reached by terrestrial microwave links, so all clients are linked back to Lusaka via high-speed technology. More fibre capacity in country, along with expansion to new towns, is taking place all the time.
- Fibre optic cable is now available on a rapidly expanding basis via metropolitan networks in the key towns of Lusaka, Livingstone, Kitwe, and Ndola, with more towns being added shortly.
- The great majority of AfriConnect customers are connected to the internet for the ‘last mile’ (from the AfriConnect hub to the client site) by high-speed wireless. This works well in Zambia (and Africa generally) due to the poorer speeds and lower reliability of the more conventional options used elsewhere. Such services can be installed quickly, offer any speeds required, and have a very high working time. All transmitters have full power protection and resilience.
- AfriConnect offers a number of different wireless and fibre connectivity options, designed to fit location, speed requirements, and budget needs.
The cost of connectivity in Zambia will never be as low as it is in (for example) Europe as the closest point to which a connection can be made to the worldwide internet is 9,000km away. In addition ‘last mile’ delivery to the client site has to be via sophisticated (imported) wireless equipment, or fibre optic cable. However, with the arrival of more fibre links into the country in the near future it is likely that prices will come down significantly, and growing bandwidth demands met. Location is not the barrier that it once was, and Zambia is able to compete to a world standard. AfriConnect is proud to be part of this rapid march of internet progress.