The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), announced grant funding for a feasibility study to support Dark Fibre Africa (DFA’s) efforts to expand reliable and affordable internet access and digital services to underserved populations living outside of South Africa’s major urban centers. DFA is a South African wholesale open-access fiber infrastructure and connectivity provider.
“USTDA has a strong record of supporting South Africa’s top infrastructure priorities, and this is particularly the case in the information and communications technology sector, where U.S. companies offer high-quality, innovative solutions,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Acting Director. “Our partnership with DFA reflects USTDA’s commitment to bridge South Africa’s digital divide through partnership with American industry.”
The USTDA-funded study will evaluate the technical and economic viability of expanding DFA’s fiber network into peri-urban and rural areas, as well as modelling sustainable business cases and scenarios for delivering connectivity infrastructure for customers in these markets.
“The U.S. government is committed to building stronger ties between South Africa and the United States through the work of agencies like USTDA,” said Todd Haskell, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission in South Africa. “We recognize the transformative impact that digital connectivity can have on the South African people, which is why we are fully supportive of this initiative. Investing in secure and reliable connectivity will also strengthen the resiliency of South Africa’s economy.”
“USTDA’s feasibility study will help shape how we extend internet access and digital infrastructure to the less-connected,” said Vino Govender, Chief Strategy, M&A and Innovation Officer at Dark Fibre Africa. “We are taking a holistic approach. By aggregating demand for digital services using shared infrastructure, we believe we can create a business case for connecting customers in underserved areas.”
This project supports Access Africa, USTDA’s initiative to support the development of inclusive, secure, and sustainable ICT across Africa, and the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa.