SEACOM, the company that owns the undersea cable that links the East Africa coast to the rest of the world via the Red Sea will use Rwanda’s national fibre-optic backbone to connect high speed affordable bandwidth to Burundi and the DRC.
This was part of the agreement signed between the company and government owned Internet Service Provider (ISP) New Artel. The two parties signed a one year 620 Mbs connection agreement with a possibility of extending it. SEACOM’s capacity is 1.28 Tbps of bandwidth.
Without divulging into details, the CEO of New Artel, Francis Karemera confirmed that there is an arrangement of using the national ICT infrastructure with neighbouring countries.
“They will use our national backbone to extend their connectivity to Burundi and DRC,” he explained.
The national fibre optic backbone with over 2,300kms of cables is an extension of the ongoing Kigali Metropolitan Network that aims to connect 97 government agencies in Kigali and 226 government agencies in districts. It will link 36 main nodes in both Kigali City and in all the 30 districts.
The rationale for government investment is to accelerate market development and to ensure equitable access to broadband services throughout the country.
Karemera added that the expiry of the contract will not affect the contractual clause of using the national fibre-optic backbone.
This means that the entire East African Community (EAC) will be destined to have access to the high speed internet connection, which Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and of late Rwanda are enjoying.
However, Rwanda has an interim connection operated by Altceh Stream Rwanda, an affiliate to Kenya Data Network (KDN) of Kenya and Infocom of Uganda. Permanent connections through New Artel, Altech Streams Rwanda and Rwandatel are expected later this year.
Meanwhile, other ISP companies are believed to be in talks to access the connection from SEACOM’s Point-of-Presence (PoP) through Kenya and Uganda to the Katuna border.