The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way people communicate, work and earn their livelihood. It has forged new ways to create knowledge, educate people and disseminate information.
It has restructured the way the world conducts economic and business practices, runs governments and engages politically. It has provided for the speedy delivery of healthcare, and a new vision for environmental protection.
As access to information and knowledge is a prerequisite to achieving development goals set by African countries, it has the catalytic capacity to improve living standards for millions of people.
While the digital revolution has extended the frontiers of the global village, the vast majority of Africa remains in the dark.
With the ever-widening gulf between knowledge and lack of knowledge, the development gap between the rich and the poor among and within countries in Africa has also increased.
It has therefore become imperative for Africa to bridge this divide and use ICTs to accelerate development.
Although still very much in its infancy, the African broadband market looks set for growth. Current constraints of price and bandwidth availability will loosen, as demand picks up.
The high cost of connectivity in Africa is a result of limited African investment in submarine cables, terrestrial network infrastructure, accompanied with the need for a conducive policy and regulatory environment.
In an all inclusive information society, each segment of the society has a role to play and responsibility to bear. The major stakeholders range from Governments, Parliament, Private Sector, Academia, Civil Society and the wider society.
Governments have a leading role in creating an enabling environment by developing comprehensive policies and e-strategies.
In the case of Rwanda, this has been enshrined in ICT-led Socio-Economic Development Vision aimed at achieving the aspirations of the EDPRS and Vision 2020.
The landing in Mombasa last week by the first undersea cable in the region, Seacom, , will definitely boost communication in the region.
Eastern and Southern Africa will finally get truly connected to international broadband networks.
Plentiful and readily available bandwidth will result in lower telecommunications costs and new opportunities across many sectors that will include call center and business process outsourcing firms.
The super highway has been opened and though we all recognize the need for the telcos and internet service providers to recoup their investments; this should not delay the realization of the long anticipated benefits of low cost internet by the public.
Bandwidth is the petrol of the new global economy and affordable international bandwidth is an essential component for any country to remain competitive.
While ICT infrastructure competition does result into levels of price competition, its impact is limited. Policy-makers and the regulator will have to engage ICT industry players and adopt a range of different approaches aimed at extending affordable bandwidth to Rwanda so that citizens can be able to access information and knowledge.
The author is an ICT expert working in Ethiopia