The low penetration of internet in Africa is responsible for the slow FinTech development, says telecommunications expert, Anthony Fakah, Head of Broadband and Converged Solutions at Phase3 Telecom, Africa’s leading aerial fibre optic network infrastructure provider.
Tony speaks to Cointelegraph on the impact that internet coverage could have on the African continent, focusing especially on how this relates to FinTech and Bitcoin awareness.
The Spread of FinTech development is Slow
Tony started by saying:
“The low penetration of the internet in africa is a major factor affecting bitcoin awareness and its use. Illiteracy about its benefits also adds to this. Take Nigeria for example, where the over 80 million internet users nationwide are clustered mostly in just three cities i.e. Lagos, Abuja and Portharcourt and this is a country with 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory with the majority of citizens resident outside the above mentioned cities due to the relatively lower cost of living.”
According to Tony, this is a situation that internet providers within the country are trying to resolve. He says that most providers are expanding to other major regions and he also sees all major MNOs expanding their terrestrial fibers to other parts of the country.
“Africa wide-coverage is not where it is supposed to be and this is evident by the fact that the number of IPv4 addresses as issued by Afrinic only just recently depleted. Compared to other IP issuing bodies across the world, this is poor,” said Tony.
Deliverance is here
According to Tony, Phase3 telecom is already expanding its reach not just across Nigeria, but into other parts of West Africa.
“By leveraging on its robust MPLS platform, Phase3 can inter-operate between countries of the world bringing and taking content and data,” he states.
Mr. Fakah insists that the government can play a part by having regulatory bodies subsidize ISP licensing fees and encourage the Internet exchange point of Nigeria, and by also making it mandatory for all bodies and parastatals to host local content locally in Nigeria, while having server presence in the IXPN.
This will keep transit needs minimum and encourage locally collocated servers. They should also make it conducive and mandatory for providers like Facebook, Yahoo, Google etc. to domicile cached content in-country, as a drop in transit costs will see increased usage of the internet and its spread across the country. The next step is Bitcoin.