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Internet availability to 11 million people in Angola lauded

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Angola has 11 million internet users, accounting for 33 percent of the country’s population, announced Minister of Telecommunications, Information Technologies, and Social Communication, Mario Oliveira, on Thursday.

Speaking at the inaugural Internet Governance Forum in Luanda, the minister noted a significant rise in social media usage, with 3.45 million users.

He outlined key challenges in the sector, including expanding broadband coverage and improving last-mile support infrastructure, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas, and promoting digital literacy.

Angola has strategically invested in becoming a key hub for southern and central Africa, focusing on projects such as data center construction, satellite development, and optic fiber networks. These initiatives aim to connect Angola internally, to the rest of Africa, and globally. The government’s decision to liberalize the telecommunications market has played a significant role in increasing access to phones and the internet for the population.

Despite only 26% of Angolans currently using the internet, primarily through mobile networks, the country’s digital transformation is rapidly advancing. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this transformation, with companies and individuals turning to online platforms for sustenance. The government has supported this shift by providing virtual public services and enabling remote work systems.

However, there remains a significant connectivity gap between urban and rural areas. While Luanda, Angola’s largest city, is well-connected, infrastructure, market limitations, and affordability challenges hinder connectivity nationwide. Efforts are underway to address this gap by expanding infrastructure and increasing market competition.

Angola boasts 29 satellite earth stations and is connected to Europe and Asia through the SAT-3/WASC fiber optic submarine cable. The country’s first communication satellite, AngoSat 1, developed by Russia, failed during its 2017 launch and will be replaced by AngoSat 2, set to launch by the end of 2022.

Angola Telecom, the country’s first telecommunications company, is a member of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) consortium. This consortium manages a submarine communications cable that runs along Africa’s west coast, connecting Angola to Portugal and the United Kingdom. Angola Telecom operates the landing station for the older Sat3 cable, located in Cacuaco, Luanda.

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