Infraco is tasked to improve broadband connectivity across South Africa. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) David Smith, Infraco’s CEO, said they want to become a top broadband wholesaler. (Image: Broadband Infraco) MEDIA CONTACTS • Fahim Mohamed Company Secretary Broadband Infraco +27 11 235 1760 RELATED ARTICLES • Main One boosts Africa’s broadband • Eassy to go live soon • Broadband boost as Eassy hits SA • Wacs cable gets the green light Bongani NkosiBroadband Infraco, the state-owned ICT enterprise formed in 2006, will introduce its long-awaited internet services to the South African market in November 2010.“We’re launching our broadband capacity network,” said Infraco’s account manager Charmaine Fredericks in an interview on the sidelines of the My Broadband conference in Midrand on 20 October.The parastatal will now have access to an approximately 12 125km fibre-optic cable and other telecommunications infrastructure, which have been used exclusively by Neotel over the past four years.The infrastructure is owned by the government due to it being laid by state-owned enterprises Eskom and Transtel. It has since been transferred to Infraco, but Infraco couldn’t use it as Neotel was the sole licensee.“We’ve had the network for the last four years, but we couldn’t operate on it. We got our operational licence last year from Icasa,” said Fredericks.“Neotel’s role as the network’s sole custodian comes to an end soon and that’s why we’re launching. We can now go commercial and bring customers on board,” she added.Infraco has been improving the network’s infrastructure over the last four years, while Neotel has maintained the existing system, according to Fredericks.The infrastructure initially offered 2.5 gigabits per second bandwidth speed, but it’s been upgraded to offer 10 gigabits per second.The network’s services now also cover the border areas of South Africa. “The network is quite a lot bigger than what we had when Neotel started,” said Fredericks.A new connection ring has been included, meaning “when one ring fails, we connect to another so that traffic is not disturbed”.“There’s a lot that we’ve done in the past five years to prepare us for our day of launch,” Fredericks added.The Department of Public Enterprises owns 74% of the national broadband utility, while the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) owns the other 26%. The IDC is also a state entity.Open-access wholesalerAs a broadband wholesaler, Infraco will not offer services directly to end-user customers, but rather to internet service providers. “Our aim is to be the wholesale provider of choice to our customers,” CEO David Smith said at the My Broadband conference.It’s an open-access service provider which will enable the government to offer nation-wide connectivity at a lower cost and lead to investments in building the country’s long-distance fibre-optic networks.Infraco’s primary mandate is to get providers to cover areas in South Africa that are currently not served or underserved. “We want to become a carrier of carriers,” said Fredericks.It has set up a number of broadband Points of Presence (POPs) across the country, which are now connected to the national network. The POPs include various small towns and rural areas like Ermelo, Mahamba Border, Beit Bridge, Newcastle, Onseepkans and Zimbane.According to Fredericks, the government has identified 37 such places where connectivity must be fast-tracked. “We will provide connectivity from the closest POP in that underserved area.“Then we’ll be looking for partnerships with internet service providers, like Internet Solutions or iBurst, to service the areas,” Fredericks said.“We are trying to get as many providers as possible into the network, so that connectivity prices can come down,” she added.West African cable systemBroadband Infraco’s network services will receive a major boost when the West Africa Cable System (WACS) it has invested in comes on stream.WACS will land in Yzerfontein along the Western Cape coast and is expected to go live by July 2011.The much-anticipated marine cable will connect South Africa directly with the UK, and will have landing stations in Portugal and along the coastlines of various West African countries.“WACS will be massive. Major operators like MTN and Vodacom have also invested in WACS,” Fredericks said.
Young Africans have taken to saving for their future rather than getting the instant thrill of spending on lavish items according to the Barclays Africa Prosper Report (Image: kris krüg).• The rise of South African-Angolan relations• What makes South African cities competitive?• South Africa could be swimming in opportunity• South Africa must work hard to raise rankings internationally• Join the 2014 South African Competitiveness ForumRay MaotaYoung Africans would rather invest their cash than spend it on luxury items, a survey by Barclays Africa Group has found.Released on 28 October in Johannesburg, Barclays Africa’s Prosper Report shows how Africans equate prosperity with achieving financial freedom. The report is the summary of a survey of more than 7 000 respondents across socio-economic groups from South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.“The survey provides invaluable insights into what is important to people, their dreams and aspirations – essential intelligence if we are to contribute to building strong and sustainable economies on the continent,” said Maria Ramos, the chief executive of Barclays Africa Group. “The results are fascinating and underscore the fact that Africa’s rising middle class is effecting positive economic and socio-political transformation. What is particularly noteworthy is that nearly 80% of the respondents are between the ages of 18 and 35. This is significant because Africa has one of the highest youth populations in the world.”There was a remarkable similarity in the aspirations and hopes of the respondents even though they came from 11 different countries. “The results highlight the fact that as Africa’s young and emerging middle-class continues to develop and grow, they are expressing their economic power in new ways, for example, prioritising long-term financial security through investing and education,” she said. Bobby Malabie (left) Group Executive at Barclays Africa and Professor Monde Makiwane (right) of the Human Sciences Research Council at the launch of the inaugural Barclays Africa Prosper Report (Image: Barclays Africa) The surveyAt the top of each respondent’s list of what would help them progress were computers and books, while savings were considered to be the primary vehicle to achieve financial freedom to prosper and achieve specific goals.Bobby Malabie, Barclays Africa’s group executive of marketing, communications, citizenship and public affairs, said: “The Barclays Africa Prosper Report shows that people work hard for their money and want their money to work hard for them. What is particularly encouraging is that when questioned further, the youth of Africa would rather invest their money to fund further education than spend it on flashy consumer goods.“Investment, education and savings are seen by Africans as the main drivers of prosperity to open the doors to economic growth. It is also clear that Africa’s emerging youth presents the continent with an unprecedented opportunity to deepen our human capital, and with the right tools, tomorrow’s decision-makers can unlock Africa’s potential.”In the survey, 78% of the respondents were between the ages of 18 and 35, representing a significant portion of the “youth bulge”, the future drivers of the African economy. The youth bulge is a common phenomenon in many developing countries, where a large proportion of the population comprises children and young adults, thanks to a decrease in infant mortality and steady levels of fertility.Four of the main findings of the survey were that: if given $100 (about R1 000) to help them prosper, 49% of respondents would invest it; almost a third would buy a computer (30%) and books (24%) to help them prosper. For 66%, lack of finances was a major barrier to prosperity, but for 37% this was also the easiest aspect of their life to change. Almost half of respondents would most likely consult a bank to obtain financial prosperity; only 10% would consult a family member.Professor Monde Makiwane of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) provided an independent analysis of the research. He said: “A decrease in mortality rates coupled with the youth’s connectivity to a global community which is increasingly aided by technology, means we have an emerging youth bulge of Africans [who] are more optimistic than ever before.“Africa’s youth are confident they will be around to live their future. Given this optimism, they prefer to spend their money on computers and books to aid their prosperity, rather than making flashy statements in their local communities by parading the latest must-have item.”The Barclays Africa Prosper Report addressed critical issues of financial behaviour and prosperity that had either been missed or poorly measured by previous social and financial surveys in Africa, Makiwane added.Across the 11 countries, 73% of those surveyed indicated that they were familiar with the term “prosper”. To prosper, they said, mostly meant “to be successful”, “to be fortunate” and “to thrive”, especially in terms of personal finances, but also in terms of health, career satisfaction, spiritual wellness and happiness. Spontaneous definitions of what prosper meant to an individual also revealed a commonality across the continent: 39% defined it as achieving one’s goals or dreams in life and 22% associated it with financial success.“Encouragingly, one of the most significant findings from this African survey is the high level of savings and investments reported by participants. Almost 50% of respondents would save or invest to help them prosper financially, a powerful statistic if viewed in the context of the Asian savings boom,” said Makiwane. Several decades ago, Asia experienced a youth bulge. The continent took advantage of this by creating employment opportunities and mobilising the youth to save. Continued economic growth and a high savings rate have fuelled wealth creation in the region and its propensity to save is exceptional when compared to the United States or Europe: gross national savings range from a low of 24% of gross domestic product in the Philippines to a high of 50% in China, compared with 13% in the United States and 19% on average across Europe. Survey methodologyAccording to Barclays, the survey was designed and deployed via the online research specialist, Columinate, to an online research access panel as well as to targeted social media channels in each country. Data collection ran from 14 April to 8 August 2014. A total sample of 7 052 was achieved. Eight of the 11 countries had more than 500 respondents; the Seychelles had a sample of 82, Mozambique 309 and Tanzania 416.HSRC contributed perspectives from the social sciences to the study. Its analysis team drew from theories and patterns of economic and social transition to analyse and interpret the data and the findings of the survey. Summary of sociological findingsSome of the important sociological findings from the survey are that Africa’s growing middle class is driven by three basic characteristics:· They are mostly in the younger working age group with basic skills that can be advanced by exposure in different sectors of the economy and society.· Their integration into economic and socio-political life in the modern global village is facilitated by advancements and increasing accessibility of the internet and mobile communication technology.· A growing proportion of this group comprise a large and expanding middle class that is known to catalyse economic growth.Being financially successful was the most common current priority by participants. Three major obstacles to financial prosperity they reported were a lack of finance (reported by 68.9%), a lack of opportunity (50%) and a lack of financial advice (26.2%).
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Shelly Detwiler, berry farmer and dieticianCamping is hot! Trendy I mean, the thing to do. Camping is one of the top 5 outside activities Americans like to do. Last year, 60% of midwesterners camped at least once during the year. That’s a bunch of campers! In 2015 Americans spent an estimated on $5.8 billion at camping and RV parks. That’s not even including dollars spent on camping equipment and shelter. Paul and I rejoined this camping craze by buying a travel trailer in 2016. It’s a great way to relax, unwind and, most of the time, unconnect with the outside world. It’s amazing we even wanted to camp again after our most memorable camping trip with the boys (2 and 5 at the time) in the summer of 1997.We were super excited to try out a new 5-man tent, a recent Christmas gift, and headed off for a weekend of camping at Warren Dunes. About 15 minutes from the campground we realized we had forgotten our tent! Our boys were small, so we thought we could squeeze in a cheap 3-man tent. After a quick stop at Walmart for the tent (and some Twizzlers Paul had snuck in the cart) and we headed back to campground. We jumped out of the car and were greeted with 95-degree temps, 95% humidity and a giant mob of mosquitos. It was time to suit and repellant up from head to toe to keep the ‘skitos at bay. They were so thick, though, our efforts did not do much to thwart the problematic bugs. I have a photo of 32 bites on Luke’s face alone!We enjoyed a campfire, smores and of course the Twizzlers. It was time to head to our tent and conquer the sleeping logistics. Later that night we awoke to projectile vomiting of Twizzlers! I’m not sure how we survived the night, but we did. The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast and decided to head to the beach. Upon arrival at the beach we witnessed multiple John Deere Loaders scooping up loads of dead fish washing up on the shore. Supposedly it was an unusual phenomenon to have such huge amounts of dead fish washing up. We don’t know or care, we never went back.The food, beside Twizzlers, is one of my favorite things about camping. The second reason we bought Betty (that’s our camper) is so we could cook outside. (The first being we were too old to sleep on the ground and needed a bed). That’s right, there is a mini kitchen in the back of the Betty! We wanted to still feel like we were camping and connecting in the great outdoors! Betty’s mini-kitchen consists of a small sink, two gas burners and a mini fridge. I’ve scanned Pinterest and the library shelves for ideas for camp cooking. I’ve decided I can’t live without my Dutch oven and bagged salads. I can prep things on the campfire or Betty’s burners and then let the Dutch oven do it’s magic while I take a hike, play a game, chat, or even a nap! It is the most versatile piece of equipment you need. I’ve made soups, stews, casseroles, roasts, cobblers, breakfast and even pizza in the Dutch oven! Add the bagged salad and voila! One of the most important things to know in Dutch oven cooking is your charcoal ratio. I printed off this handy dandy chart and keep it in the camper, so I can refer to it all times. https://www.campingforfoodies.com/Dutch-oven-temperature-chart/These two empty nesters have really embraced the great outdoors and the adventures we take. We love to take pictures of Betty with all the roadside attractions she encounters! https://www.roadsideamerica.com/ Enjoy these recipes on your next off the grid quest! It’s sure to be an awesome culinary experience!Eat well & healthy,ShellyDutch Oven Lasagna www.freshoffthegrid.comI can’t wait to make this my next trip off the grid! I would probably have to put some hamburger in it for my meat-loving hubby! 1 tablespoon olive oil2 1/2 cups pasta sauce12 oz fresh lasagna noodles3 cups fresh baby spinach1 1/2 cup shredded cheese1 tablespoon dried oregano or basil PRE-HEAT: If cooking over a campfire, get your coals ready. You’ll need 25 total bricks. If cooking at home, preheat your oven to 400.ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNA: Start by coating the bottom of a 10″ Dutch oven with the olive oil to help prevent the bottom layer from sticking. Add 1/2 cup pasta sauce and spread evenly over the bottom of the Dutch oven. Use the first set of noodles to create the base of the lasagna. Layer 1/2 cup sauce, 1 cup baby spinach, and 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat (one set noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, 1 cup spinach, 1/3 cup cheese) two more times. For the final layer, use the last set of noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, and 1/2 cup cheese. Sprinkle the oregano over the top.BAKE: Use 8 coals to create a bed to set your Dutch oven on. Place the Dutch oven on top of the coals. Cover the oven with the lid and place the remaining 17 coals on top of the lid. If cooking at home, simply cover your Dutch oven and stick it in your preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the noodles are tender and cooked through and the cheese has melted.SERVE: Take the Dutch oven off the heat. Carefully remove the lid and set aside. Cut the lasagna into 4 wedges, plate, and enjoy! Dutch Oven PizzaI have made this, and it is yummy but very easy to burn. Set your phone or watch and make sure you use the charcoal guideline above. 1 pkg. of refrigerated pizza dough1 squeeze bottle of Contadina pizza crust2-3 cups of shredded pizza, Italian or mozzarella cheese2-4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese1 pkg. of turkey pepperoni1 red pepper sliced, or other favorite toppingOregano Using temperature chart for a 400° oven for a 12 inch Dutch oven; light 25 coals . While coals are heating up; spray w cooking spray or rub oil on the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven. Roll out the pizza crust, spread the crust to almost the edge. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, half of shredded cheese. Top with pepperoni and red pepper slices. Cover toppings with remaining cheese and sprinkle with oregano. Lay Dutch oven on top of 8 coals spread out. Top Dutch oven lid with 17 coals. Bake for about 10 minutes. Check bottom. Enjoy with a bagged salad. Shrimp and Asparagus Foil Packs with Garlic Lemon ButterThis sounds like a must on a spring camping trip with fresh asparagus! 1 1/2 lbs large (21/25) shrimp peeled and deveined*2 Tbsp dry white wine or chicken broth4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)2 tsp lemon zestSalt and freshly ground black pepper6 Tbsp butter diced into small cubes1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley1 lb medium thickness asparagus woody ends trimmed Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 400 – 425 degrees). Cut 4 sheets of 14 by 12-inch heavy duty aluminum foil then lay each piece separately on countertop.Divide shrimp among packets near center then place asparagus to one side of the shrimp (going the long direction of the foil). Pour 1/2 Tbsp white wine over each. Sprinkle over garlic (1 tsp per packet) and lemon zest then season with salt and pepper. Divide butter pieces evenly among packets layering them over the shrimp and asparagus. Wrap packets in and crimp edges together then wrap ends up (don’t wrap too tight – keep a little extra space inside for heat to circulate).Grill, sealed side upward, until shrimp has cooked through, about 9 – 10 minutes. Carefully unwrap then drizzle with lemon juice (or just serve with lemon wedges for spritzing) and sprinkle with parsley. Pound Cake and Berry Campfire Skillet Dessert www.tasteandtellblog.com 12-16 oz fresh berries2 tablespoons sugar2-4 Tbsp. butter3/4 lb pound cakeRolo candy bars Combine the berries and the sugar in a bowl and let sit until the juices start to release, 10-15 minutes.Place a grate over hot coals (or you can use a grill). Add the butter to a 12” cast iron skillet and allow to melt. Cut the pound cake into 1” cubes. Add to the hot skillet and cook, turning often, until all sides are toasted. Remove the skillet from the heat.Sprinkle the berries over the top of the cake cubes, then sprinkle the Rolos over the top. Cover the skillet with foil and allow to sit until the berries are warm and the chocolate is melting, 5-10 minutes. 4-6 servings
Bradley Wiggins became Britain’s most-decorated Olympian on Wednesday, winning the cycling time trial gold for his seventh medal overall. Wiggins overhauled legendary rower Steve Redgrave’s total of six medals as he beat stiff competition from German world champion Tony Martin to seal victory in 50 minutes, 39.54 seconds.The winning margin over Martin was 44 seconds.Britain’s Chris Froome grabbed the bronze, clocking 51 minutes 47 seconds.Defending Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was unable to challenge for the podium, finishing fourth.Wiggins had done most of the damage by the 29 km mark, when he had a 22-second advantage over Martin.It is turning into a dream summer for the 32-year-old Wiggins, who last month became the first Briton to win the Tour de France yellow jersey.It is his fourth career Olympic gold, after taking the individual pursuit title in 2004 and 2008, and the team pursuit in Beijing.The other medals are one silver, in the 2004 team pursuit, and two bronze, in the 2004 madison and 2000 team pursuit.
zoom Houston-based classification society ABS has joined the Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance to work with industry partners, including class organizations, shipyards, equipment manufacturers and designers to advance autonomous shipping.The design will integrate features of independent decision-making, autonomous navigation, environmental perception and remote control.“Increased digitization, advanced technologies and new levels of connectivity are changing the way the maritime industry operates,” Eric Kleess, ABS Greater China Division President, said.“In the coming years, we will see significant changes in the way ships are designed and built, with a strong drive to develop autonomous vessels especially in China. As a key member of this alliance, ABS is aligned closely with industry to support safer and more sustainable maritime operations,” Kleess added.The Unmanned Cargo Ship Development Alliance, chaired by HNA Technology Group Co, Ltd., was formed with nine members, including ABS, CCS, China Ship Research & Development Institute, Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute, Ltd, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd, Marine Design Research Institute of China (MARIC), Rolls-Royce, and Wartsila.The alliance officially launched at the end of June and expects to deliver the unmanned cargo ship by October 2021.“Through this collaborative effort, we will apply the latest technologies to develop a new autonomous ship concept,” Li Weijian, HNA Technology Group Vice Chairman, said.“The newly formed alliance is advancing new innovations in ship design and operations, and also working to promote the safe adoption of these assets in the market,” Weijian informed.