Hurdles facing Africa broadband Covid-19 era-role iGaming industry

An increase in internet traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, fiber optics, competition has seen many advances in connectivity in the continent while propelling many sectors to recalibrate their business offering online.

The iGaming industry is one industry that experienced tremendous traction of engagement from bettors; often, those who are retail centric-customers turn to iGaming betting and gambling. The COVID-19 era has led millions of Africans to use various mobile services ranging from mobile payment, video conferencing e-commerce to mobile betting. These new uses have put pressure on broadband networks across the continent, but they have held up for at least those in urban areas. Moreover, after all, the African internet’s personality resembles that of the continent’s major metropolises.

It is uneven and fluctuates between concrete, state-of-the-art constructions, and rudimentary and insufficient equipment to serve those in rural and remote areas are left out. Hence improving the existing network and closing the unconnected population gap is paramount to the region’s digital transformation goal. The Africa iGaming industries are one sector that relies heavily on stable and affordable internet bundles even though in the last five years, we have seen numerous internet land cables and existing ongoing submarine cable project in the continent, accelerating the broadband adoption curves, which now hover around 30 to 40%. Despite this progress in recent years, the year 2020 Covid-19 lockdown has revealed these networks’ failure in meeting people’s needs. According to Independent research, reports say a massive population was left out while those that have access were experiencing fluctuates in internet connection.

Profound solution: still before the continent thinks of covering its entire territory, Africa must first improve its existing network by focusing on the user connection, while a notion popularized by the Alliance for affordable internet, which classifies that effective connectivity is connectivity above ten megabits, but in this regard, the use case for Africans is below par the ten megabits. In other words, operators in the telecom space now need to ensure that in areas with the best coverage throughput can easily support sophisticated, data-intensive applications in real-time such as the iGaming, Youtube, Zoom, cloud storage, as it is often most consumers experienced internet buffering depending on the location especially those in rural areas.

In contrast, Africa needs to accelerate the deployment of 4G. Simultaneously, the residential and office fiber optics in Africa are essential; the rate of adoption of this type of connectivity was estimated at around 15% in 2020 compared to Europe’s broadband penetration rates at approximately 75-80% 4G fiber combined. In contrast, democratizing the broadband connection brings inequalities in digital access, which widens a double gap considering the unconnected populations.

The geographical coverage neglects 22% of the people who don’t have access to either 3G or 4G. In comparison, the societal issues 52% of Africans covered by mobile broadband do not use it, mainly because of its cost of internet bundles, reducing the cost of data bundles and terminal needs to have therefore to be one of the top priorities for significant stakeholders in telecom space and government must do whatever it takes so for Africa digital transformation goal to accelerate.

Africa’s quest for an internet economy through the existing typology and transformation is feasible for the continent. If it becomes a reality, this development will propel all-region sectors. The iGaming industry is no exception to benefit as affordable internet bundles remain a significant challenge. Also, stable internet connections and penetration have been some of the draw-back the iGaming industry is experiencing to date.

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