Ethiopia installs fibre-optic network and gets a loan from Chinese company

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Ethiopia has installed a new USD68 million fibre-optic network that will boost international communications and lower costs, according to an official at state-owned Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC). ETC spokesman Abdurahim Ahmed said that since February 2007 the new 983km network has been carrying all voice, data and internet communications to international cables via neighbouring Sudan. Abdurahim added that because Ethiopia is landlocked, it relies on the goodwill of Sudan for international connectivity. Previously Ethiopia was connected to the international telecommunication network via a satellite earth station in Sululta some 30kms north of the capital Addis Ababa.

At the same time ETC has announced the signature of a USD1.5 billion loan with Chinese telecoms equipment vendor ZTE for the upgrade of its telecoms network. In September last year ETC signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three Chinese companies - ZTE, Huawei Technologies and Chinese International Telecommunication Construction Corporation (CITCC) - to undertake expansion projects worth USD1.5 billion over four years. According to a report in the local press once the project is complete ETC’s fibre-optic network will extend some 10,000km and have a capacity for seven million lines.

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