Seacom’s fibre optic crisis propels Rwandatel to act

Rwandatel’s Internet users have been moved to a new satellite bandwidth to avoid further Internet connection interruptions following  the breakdown of Seacom one of the coastal cable serving the region.
Internet users will still have to wait as it longer on satelitte connections (File Photo)
Internet users will still have to wait as it longer on satelitte connections (File Photo)

Rwandatel’s Internet users have been moved to a new satellite bandwidth to avoid further Internet connection interruptions following  the breakdown of Seacom one of the coastal cable serving the region.

This would relieve a number of institutions including banking institutions government entities and private companies and at most individuals connected to Rwandatel’s internet network.

Most of these institutions have had their services affected for almost two weeks, following a faulty Seacom  cable running from Dar es Salaam to Mumbai in the Indian Ocean.

However despite the alternative satellite connection provided by GILAT and SkyVision both broadband solution providers, Rwandatel says this will not put an end to the drastic slowdown in Internet connections as witnessed in the past two weeks.

“GILAT and SkyVision will give us a total of 175Mpbs (160Mbps down and 15Mbps up).However, our customers may experience reduced internet speeds during this time because of the congestion on our backups,” Rwandatel’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Francis Egbuson told the press last week.

Rwandatel says customers on three platforms including ADSL, UMTL and EVDO  are hugely affected while the rest of the customers are connected via wireless broadband, fibre and lease-line are less affected.

According to the COO, while his company was able to get a connection through an alternative routing by Seacom, the connection was again interrupted by the bombings that rocked Kampala last Sunday (July 11th).

“One of the sites where the bombings took place is the route where the Seacom cables run through,” he said.
Without divulging details about the cost of the operation, Egbuson reassured Rwandatel clients that they will not incur any additional costs as a result of the back-up measures.

The second largest telecom company by market share has plans to increase its back-up capacity on the uplink to 45Mbps which implies to data transfer rates over the internet with 40Mbps on SkyVision and 5Mbps from GILAT respectively.

“This amount of capacity will put Rwandatel in a position in which we can comfortably take care of all our customer’s internet and data needs.  In the meantime, we stay in touch with both Seacom and the technical teams in Uganda who are doing everything in their capacity to ensure that service is restored as soon as possible,” he said.

Rwandatel also says that negotiations are ongoing to have the connection by the end of 2010 with the Rusumo border as the landing point so as to a have a variety of connection to avoid such problems.

Owned by Libya’s African Investments Portfolio (LAP)Laptop with 80 percent majority shares,Rwandatel switched to Seacom in the last quarter of last year after the Company had announced the landing of its fibre cable in Mombasa in July 2009.

The undersea cable connects South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya where Rwandatel gets its link through Microwave technology.

Seacom said in a statement to its customers that the damage on the cable was ‘quite serious’ and could take minimum of six to eight days, and potentially up to two weeks to be fixed.

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