Businesses across Africa are expecting a revolution in internet access, technology and costs as a result of the rush of new undersea cables connecting the continent. More than 90 percent of business decision-makers across Africa expect prices to drop and competition to increase dramatically, according to the Telecoms Trends in Africa 2010 report, released today by World Wide Worx and Database 360.

The survey, conducted among 1100 internet-using small, medium and large businesses across 20 African countries, also revealed that most African countries remain heavily reliant on slow or expensive forms of connectivity, such as dial-up and satellite. However, they are beginning the move to broadband.

“Our interviewers encountered tremendous enthusiasm for the internet in all countries we surveyed,” says Louise Robinson, Managing Director of Database 360. “There is little doubt that, in this new connectivity era, the very nature of most businesses is changing.”

Database 360 operates a call centre in Cape Town, from which the respondents were interviewed telephonically. The study was compiled and the data analysed by World Wide Worx, South Africa’s leading independent technology research organization. “ADSL is fast becoming the standard form of business internet access across Africa – more than 40 percent of businesses in these 20 countries are using it,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “However, we can see the limitations of existing infrastructure from the fact that satellite connectivity remains a key part of the mix.”

More than one in five respondents said they were using satellite connectivity, with a similar number planning to add it to their options. “Satellite is the most expensive means you can possibly use to access the internet,” says Goldstuck. The continued appetite for it tells us that, even though there is an expectation for better and cheaper connectivity, the reality on the ground remains one of limited infrastructure. “Moreover, once businesses go online, the internet becomes increasingly more vital to their survival, and having a backup form of access becomes more and more important.”

Countries like Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Namibia are already showing strong growth in ADSL usage by business, while Angolan businesses indicate the highest anticipated growth for this form of broadband. Robinson adds: “It’s amazing to see how the level of internet usage shoots up wherever the new undersea cables have landed and fibre optic networks have linked the cables to urban centres. The East Africa countries, especially, are taking to social networking as a business tool to a greater extent than almost anywhere else in Africa.”

The survey highlights Kenya and Uganda as the biggest African users of social networking for business. However, even landlocked countries that have recently seen major upgrades to their fibre optic networks, such as Botswana and Zambia, are also moving rapidly in this direction.

The study further explores the use of general internet applications, e-mail on cellphones and the emergence of cloud computing in Africa. World Wide Worx and Database 360 will also shortly release separate national reports for each of the countries surveyed. For more information, and to download an executive summary of the report, visit http://www.worldwideworx.com.

Reposted from original over on Memeburn.

Renee Blodgett
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Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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