Internet Service Provider (ISP), New Artel, has reached an agreement with SEACOM to obtain access to fibre optic cables, according to the company’s CEO Francis Karemera.
He told Business Times that the deal was reached Tuesday and will run for a period of one year with possibility of extension.
“This will depend on how they honour their obligations especially in terms of capacity and stability,” Karemera said.
Negotiations had dragged on for weeks due to SEACOM’s financial demands for each megabite per second (MB/s).
However, a low rate is believed to have been decided to necessitate the signing of the agreement.
According to the agreement, SEACOM will offer New Artel 620 Megabytes per second (mbs) for social and commercial use. In a breakdown, about 153 mbs will be the social capacity, which will cover schools and hospitals, as well as 467 mbs will be the commercial capacity.
SEACOM is a 1.28 Tbps capacity undersea cable linking South Africa and East Africa to Europe and Asia via the Red Sea, Egypt and the Mediterranean.
Its cables currently stretch from the East African coast to different interior destinations of Uganda and Tanzania.
Karemera said: “It is now SEACOM’s responsibility to deliver since the Rwandan government is ready to tap the cables from Katuna border.”
“The company has promised to inform us in two weeks about when the cable will be Katuna for us to tap.
Whichever way they get there, we don’t know. All we want is the cables to touch the border and we tap through the national backbone,” he stressed.
Reports reveal that there are two laid but unconnected cables owned by two rival telecom companies in Uganda. One cable runs from Mbarara to Katuna while another from Kampala to areas after Masaka.
This implies that SEACOM only needs to strike deals with both companies to use their infrastructure.
This will allow the New Artel, which boosts of an estimated two percent of Rwanda’s internet market share to tap and link Rwanda to the high speed internet connection.
The country is currently temporarily connected by Micro Wave owned by Altech Stream Rwanda, an affiliate to Kenya Data Network (KDN) of Kenya and Infocom of Uganda.
The availability of SEACOM bandwidth is expected to lower Internet browsing prices 10 times less than the current cost.