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Internet News - In Brief

* South African mobile operator Cell C, Dimension Data division Internet Solutions (IS) and Convergence Partners – the investment firm helmed by Dimension Data chairman Andile Ngcaba - are teaming up to build a ZAR5 billion (USD725.9 million), 12,000km national fibre-optic network, TechCentral reports. The three companies have formed a new entity, named FibreCo Telecommunications, in which they are equal shareholders. The new company will build and operate a long-haul terrestrial network based on open-access principles. Construction will unfold in three stages, with the initial phase - scheduled to last two years - focusing on the rollout of a 4,500km ‘redundant core ring’ linking Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban to international landing stations — in Mtunzini on the north coast, and at Yzerfontein and Melkbosstrand above Cape Town. This first phase, which should be completed by late 2012, will cost between ZAR1.5 billion and ZAR2 billion.

* Full-service data provider Kenya Data Networks (KDN) has announced that it has activated four STM-64 cable links belonging to the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC); each link possesses a payload bandwidth of roughly 9.621Mbps. The move is designed to safeguard KDN’s fibre-optic network between capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa. KDN are reportedly paying the power company an annual fee of KES194 million (USD2.31 million) for the privilege.

* Nigerian internet service provider (ISP) Direct On PC has awarded contracts to a pair of equipment and solutions suppliers for the deployment of its WiMAX network in the country’s main cities. Aviat Networks has been selected to deploy its StarMAX WiMAX system, including base stations in around 200 locations, wireless services gateway (WSG) and end-user devices. Meanwhile, another vendor, Ceragon Networks, has been selected by Direct On PC for the supply of wireless backhaul equipment to expand its WiMAX-based mobile broadband services network. The company said it opted to build its backhaul network with Ceragon’s high-capacity wireless solutions in order to provide its customers with mobile broadband services at affordable prices. With an expanded WiMAX network, Direct On PC can offer home users and businesses applications like entertainment, telephony, high-end video conferencing, live security streaming services and virtual private networks (VPNs).

* Zimbabwe's Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Nelson Chamisa, said that state-run telco TelOne’s fibre-optic network rollout programme should be finished by the end of this year, driven by a USD6.2 million annual budgetary allocation. ‘We initially anticipated that the cable rollout would be complete by the end of November but it should be complete by the end of this year,’ said Chamisa. The minister also explained that once completed, the network would have an operational capacity of 10Gbps which he claimed would take ‘up to five decades’ to exhaust in terms of demand. The government programme is expanding fibre-optic infrastructure in key cities and towns of the country while invitations are open to the private sector to implement a similar project in rural areas. The latest areas connected to the fibre grid include remote areas of Mberengwa, Chipinge, Nyazura and several remote districts in Matabeleland North and South.

* The Rwandan cabinet has approved a revised draft Information Communication Technology (ICT) Bill, which provides a comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework, local daily the New Times reports. The aim of the draft bill is to help the country adapt to the global development of ICT; at present there is no legal framework governing the ICT sector in Rwanda, including the new development of technologies and international best practices. ‘The law is timely and highly needed since it comes at a moment when both the government and the private sector have made significant investment and efforts to consolidate our ICT infrastructure,’ commented ICT Minister Ignace Gatare, adding: ‘The ICT draft bill provides for a new licensing framework that creates new business opportunities, and this will allow the operators to provide all types of services through unified licences. Gatare revealed that the bill aims to ensure fair competition amongst service providers and promote rapid growth of new services and applications. The bill will be tabled with parliament before it is enacted into law.

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