Govt to link fibre optic to telecommunication masts

Government targets to extend the optic fibre cable to existing telecommunication masts all over the country to lay ground for Fourth Generation (4G) wireless broadband network.

Government targets to extend the optic fibre cable to existing telecommunication masts all over the country to lay ground for Fourth Generation (4G) wireless broadband network.

The 3,000 kilometre optic cable covers all 30 districts.

To improve the state of Internet connectivity and speed, the government in June penned an agreement with South Korea’s largest telecom company, Korea Telecom to deploy 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network across the country.

The 4G broadband infrastructure targets to cover 95 per cent of the population within three years, according to the joint venture deal that is based on an initial 25-year term.

Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Minister for Youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, said the plans are underway to connect the cable to telecom masts instead of sectors, cells and villages.

“Extension to sectors is part of the last mile project and, in this project, we are going to use 4G because it’s not easy to extend the fibre to every school, home, cell, village and health centre,” he said.

The minister noted that, the move to connect the optic cable to existing masts will help to achieve a wider coverage of wireless broadband network.

Korea’s Systems Integration and IT Services Joint Venture Company will carry out the rollout plan of the optic cable to masts which will largely depend on a sharing agreement between the company and the owners of the masts (telecom companies and internet service providers).

According to the minister, there will also be a need to erect more masts if the existing ones are not enough.

Districts enjoy fruits of the cable 

In 2010, the government rolled out optic cable to boost access to various broadband services, including applications such as e-governance, e-banking, e-learning and e-health, to drive Rwanda’s ambition to achieve a middle-income status by 2017.

The network connects 97 institutions within the City of Kigali and 220 outside the capital and all Rwanda’s borders, including Uganda and Tanzania where it links to submarine cables.

The cable is one of the fastest-growing transmission mediums for new cabling installations and upgrades, including backbone, horizontal, and desktop applications. 

“We have benefited a lot from the cable connection because all work is done electronically. The connection is so fast, we have realised that the optic cable provides faster and reliable internet,” Jean-Baptiste Habyarimana, the mayor of Nyamasheke District, told The New Times yesterday.

He stated that, residents of Nyamasheke have benefited from the internet connection.

“At the district, it has helped us in e-filing,” he said.

Fibre networks put electronics and hardware in one central location, instead of having wiring closets with equipment throughout buildings which saves time during installation.

The government’s ultimate goal is to transfer the business to a private operator.

High speed internet 

“We have benefited a lot from the project because it has reduced our trips to Kigali to deliver administrative documents to high authorities. Everything is now done electronically with ease. We wish to see all the administrative units in Gisagara District connected to internet,” said Leandre Karekezi, the mayor of Gisagara.

He noted that private companies in the district are looking forward to tapping from the cable’s high speed internet where they are willing to pay for its extension to their premises.

The government also plans to acquire technology that integrates the central and local governments, private sector and the citizens into an e-system. 

The project dubbed, “e-Government Master Plan” will be developed, basing on the current status of e-government initiatives in public institutions was launched last month.

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