Costs of Internet broadband in the country are expected to reduce from $3,000 to $25 for each Megabyte per second a government official has said.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa the Director General of Rwanda Information Technology Agency (RITA) said that Rwandans will purchase much cheaper Internet bandwidth after the country’s national Internet backbone is connected to the coastal submarine cables expected to be completed by 2010.
The five year project got a boost on Monday after the official signing of the $24m (Frw13.2 billion) grant for a Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme Rwanda Project (RCIPRW) between the World Bank and government.
Two of the submarine cables being targeted include the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) and The East African Marine System (TEAMS).
The $24m is part of the World Bank’s $424 million Regional Communication Infrastructure Program which is designed to improve the regional communications infrastructure and increase the deployment of e-government in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Once the cables are complete, access to international bandwidth connected to Rwanda will increase more than three times and the price will fall by over 50 percent
Rwanda largely depends on expensive satellite infrastructure for Internet.
Rwandatel for example charges for bandwidth of 512kilobytes per second (512kbps/ 128kbps) costs Frw950,000 per month on wireless while on fiber Connection its Frw360,000 for 256kilobytes per second (256kbps/96kbps) per month.
The government invested Frw1.5 billion in rural telecommunication development this year as part of its efforts to increase the rate of telecommunication penetration in the country and bridge the telecommunication gap.
The plan that will see rural areas increase their Internet supply capacity to the tunes of 150 Megabytes this year because demand is increasing.
EASSY is an initiative introduced in January 2003, to connect countries of eastern Africa via a high bandwidth fibre optic cable system to the rest of the world.
It is considered a milestone in the development of information infrastructure in the region.