Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

Next Generation Communications Blog

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 


Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes: Source Alcatel-Lucent

As Combes notes, “The focus of development and Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy for Africa will continue to be the accelerated development of ultra-broadband access networks in Africa, bringing connectivity to users with technologies including LTE, DSL, GPON, Small Cells and WiFi...In today’s world, innovation has no borders and as a result, African countries cannot remain locked out.”

In the posting, Combes highlights the portfolio of not just technology, but also people and services that Alcatel-Lucent brings to the table. He also notes the experience he and his team have in working with governments and in public/private partnerships to help specific countries and regions with their unique challenges since no one place is the same in terms of it journey into the connected world.  

In fact, he cites LTE wireless capabilities that ALU is already deploying in places like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria. He also points to the fact that managed services are an important part of ALU’s African business as customers ask ALU to not only to build the networks for them, but also to take responsibility for the network operations in places like Nigeria, Ghana and in South Africa.

Combes’ message to Africa was succinct and to the point: “Now is the time to bring this broadband revolution closer to the people. There is a very strong demand for both wireless and fixed ultra-broadband...We are here, committed and delighted to be part of this big project and working with local, regional and international players, we will literally help ‘connect’ the African people.

Not a bad marker to publicly place.  Africa for many reasons can be a place of enormous opportunity because of the potential that lies locked up in its people and natural resources, and clearly what really is an essential key to unlocking that potential is next generation communications networks that are universally available and affordable.  Into Africa is a place that is going to see a lot more activity in 2015 and beyond.  

Related Articles to 'Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa'

Featured Events