In order to increase competition and lower prices on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services, government is rolling out a high speed and large capacity fiber optic infrastructure in Kigali city and its suburbs.
The $7m (Frw3.9b) project, according to the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA), will cover a total of 134 kilometres around Kigali and is set to be completed in December this year.
If completed, the Wireless Broadband (WiBro) technology which provides broadband speed without the need for cables will improve ICT service quality and provide various added services.
WiBro technology is the newest variety of mobile wireless broadband access and part of the third generation of mobile phone standards (3G communications standards) recommended worldwide.
Nkubito Bakuramutsa, RITA Executive Director said that the project will connect government institutions, provide high quality connectivity to homes, grow businesses and stimulate the private sector through affordable and reliable broadband services.
He said, “This is a very critical project that will accelerate the development of communication sector as well as national development.”
The rollout will be followed by extensive works to build the robust national optic fiber, covering the entire country, which will come to completion by end of 2009.
The extensive works was boosted by the recent World Bank’s approval of $24 million, for Rwanda to develop its national capacity to provide broadband connectivity.
A week ago Korea Telecom was awarded a service deal worth $38 million to implement the national backbone project.
The national backbone will consist of a high-speed fiber-optic network that will link 36 main nodes in both Kigali City and all the 30 districts in the country.
With over 2,300kms of fiber optic cables this network is an extension of the ongoing Kigali Metropolitan Network and will fully connect public institutions by December 2009.
This is a major milestone in the realisation of President Paul Kagame’s vision to enable ICT access as a right for the Rwandans population.
ICT is a crosscutting pillar for Rwanda’s Vision 2020 and this infrastructure bodes well with the country’s development roadmap.
“This project will play a strategic role in the realization of vision 2020 since most of other ICT projects are entirely dependent on infrastructure,” said Nkubito.
On their part Korea Telecom will provide technology, equipment, application materials, as well as training and manage of the installation process.
The initiative comes when wireless broadband sector continues to evolve as worldwide demand for wireless connectivity increases.
Demand is evident amongst customers in the business and consumer segments, whilst government and foreign institutions in the educational, diplomatic agencies and embassy offices have indicated their need for quality internet-based services.
WiBro technology deeply aligned with mobile WiMAX, a contraction of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, which is a telecommunications technology that provides for the wireless transmission of data in a variety of ways, ranging from point-to-point links to full mobile cellular-type access.
WiMAX is a possible replacement candidate for cellular phone technologies such as Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code division multiple access (CDMA), a channel access method utilized by various radio communication technologies.
It can also be used as a layover to increase capacity. It has also been considered as a wireless backhaul technology for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in both developed and developing nations.
The technology has been widely applied in most parts of the world as a means of supplying wireless Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services.
In developed countries in Europe and America, most operators employ WiMAX to present portable and nomadic data services to realize differentiated competition.
Experts argued that both the emerging and developed markets around the world will benefit from wide-spread affordable wireless broadband access as there are now important social, health and economic services provided by such infrastructure such as e-education, e-business, digital media and e-government.
Worldwide the technology is being developed by the South Korean telecoms industry and it provides high-speed wireless internet and data network access over a wide area.