•Marine fiber-optic cable reaches Mombasa
Government is currently engaged in talks with Kenya over a possible partnership to connect the country’s backbone with the newly launched undersea cable at the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Minister in Charge of Science and Technology in the Office of the President, Prof. Romain Murenzi, revealed that he had delegated officials from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to engage in talks with Kenyan authorities to have the cable connected to the Rwandan border.
“I have personally visited the landing sites in Dar-el-salaam, Tanzania and in Mombasa, Kenya to assess the possibilities of connecting the fibre optic cable to Rwanda. I am expecting a report from the team anytime soon,” Murenzi said.
Connection to the undersea cables is one of the country’s priorities to become a regional Information Communication Technology (ICT) hub. Rwanda wants to connect to “The East African Marine System” (TEAMS) which docked last week at the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa. This submarine cable is owned by the Kenyan government.
Rwanda recently received a $ 24 million grant from World Bank (WB), under the Regional Communication Infrastructure Program - Rwanda (RCIPRWA), to establish the country’s capacity to provide broadband connectivity and access to low-cost international connectivity.
The World Bank project is meant to facilitate Rwanda to connect her national backbone to landing sites of any of the five East African coastal submarine cables.
Some of the submarine cables that are yet to land include the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and the SEACOM cable.
Before last week’s landing of TEAMS the Eastern African coastline was the only one not connected to the rest of the world’s sub-marine fibre optic cable.
Presently, the region depends largely on expensive satellite infrastructure to connect to the rest of the world.
Murenzi said the country has already laid groundwork to ensure that the business starts as soon as the cable becomes operational.
The arrival of the cable at Mombasa signals the onset of a whole new era in the telecommunications industry, especially the data services in the East African region.
Experts have predicted that telecommunications costs could go down by 60 percent as the cost of bandwidth will significantly drop. High speed data solutions, especially internet are expected with the increased bandwidth.
Plentiful new opportunities across many sectors are expected to merge including life-enhancing disciplines such as educational, clinical and scientific research which relies on the real-time sharing of data around the world will also become a reality for many Rwandan organizations.
Rwanda government signed a deal worth $40 million with South Korea’s telecom giant Korea Telecom (KT) to build the country’s broadband infra-structure.
Rwanda is already represented in the EASSy consortium by MTN Rwanda and Rwandatel.
The EASSy project was the first initiative attempting to connect countries of Eastern and sub-Saharan Africa via a high bandwidth fibre optic cable system to the rest of the world.