Government is in discussions with two international firms to install Digital Video Broadcasting return channel terrestrial (DVB-RCT), a high technology software with interactive Television content and Internet.
Based on terrestrial standard, this is the first standard to offer a return path from home back to broadcasters with return bandwidth of up to 47 mbps.
In an exclusive interview with Business Times Augustine Iyako, Karisimbi Project Coordinator said the two companies include Runcom technologies from Israel and Advanced Intelligent Networks Corporation from USA.
The project, which will be used for Voice over IP Phones and legacy telephony, Video conferencing, Video on Demand, E-learning and E-Voting using its interactive Television, will be hosted by the high altitude antenna on Mt. Karisimbi.
Iyako said that the project is viable and that the companies have presented competitive business plans but more details need to be looked into.
“Once the system is installed, it will be a good move towards being the ICT hub,” he said, adding that Rwanda will be able to export services related to digital dialtone including Internet Protocol products and hardware.
Runcom has asked government to pay $1.9m (Rwf1.1b) for the installation of the technology while Sohostar charges $500,000 (Rwf283m).
The project covers an average distance of 10 - 12 km in densely urban areas and 15 – 20 km in semi rural areas compared to WiMax and WiBro that would cover 2 km for densely urban and 4 – 5 km.
Iyako said the project is easy to develop because of the low cost base stations and end-user terminals valued at $7000 (Rwf3.9m) compared to WiMax and WiBro which cost $80,000 (Rwf45.3m) and $300,000 (Rwf169.8m) respectively.
“Rwanda wants to find a business case in this validation, because Karisimbi is a COMESA project. We can use it to act globally in this era of globalisation,” Iyako said.
He added that police will never need to be at the site but install the technology and watch over from wherever they want , and it will be installed in Ambulances and patients be treated on line. All citizens will have universal access wire free services to homes and business.
In line with shifting from analogue to digital broadcasting, government signed a contract with HARRIS, an American company to manufacture, supply, deliver, install and train staff about digital transmitters.