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Rwanda: Kigali to Get Interim Fibre Connections

Kigali City will this week get temporary connections to the fibre-optic backbone through a microwave link from Kampala, according to The Business Times. Peter Matayo, Head of Infrastructure at Kenya Data Networks, a sister company to Altech Stream Rwanda said that the interim connections from Uganda to Kigali are expected within the course of this week.

"This will see the current VSAT connections phased out gradually as we wait for the permanent fibre-optical connectivity later this year," he said. Matayo explained that the interim connections have a better performance speed than VSAT access.

"There will no longer be a need to go through satellite to communicate across the border as has been the case. This will mean a considerable reduction in internet consumer prices compared to VSAT costs," he added. "Connection costs may drop by about 80 percent, depending on the capacity," Matayo said.

According to the Regional Business Development Manager for Altech Stream East Africa, Nick Odero, Altech plans about $2 million (Rwf1.1 billion) investment in the microwave connection "This will remain as a backup to the fibre, which is expected to touch Kigali within three months with an investment of up to $10 million (Rwf5.7 billion)," he explained.

Altech Stream East Africa, made up of telecoms operators Kenya Data Network of Kenya, Infocom of Uganda and Altech Stream Rwanda, has completed the installation of the 1,500km fibre backbone from Mombasa to Kampala, Nairobi.

The companies are part of a South African investment holding company involved in the telecommunications, multi-media and information technology. Presently, only three East African Community (EAC) are connected; Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

In a related development, Rwandatel's Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Kariningufu said that the company may be connected by fibre in the next three weeks. "We will be connected through our sister company (Uganda Telecom) as we also consider other options," Kariningufu said. "We are thinking of connections from Tanzania and Uganda covering the whole country with investments worth $20 million (Rwf11.4 billion)," he added.

The New Times

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