Rwandatel's Fibre-Optic Cable to Reach Kigali By April


Despite delays, Rwandatel's 900 Km fibre-optic cable is expected to land in Kigali by April this year. This was revealed by the company's Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Basilio Sadindi during an exclusive interview with the Business Times.

The cable, which will be delivered by Green Future, had been slated to land in Kigali by January 2010. Sadindi said that Uganda Telecom (UTL)-a sister company of Rwandatel - was tasked to lay the cable from Kampala to Masaka. However, the cable was not yet fully connected by the December deadline.

"Ducting the Fibre from the Katuna to Kigali is government's work. If it reaches Kigali, we shall only require six weeks to lay our own channel," Sadindi explained.

In September, Rwandatel and UTL contracted Green Future to build the fibre connection to Seacom.

After a full connection to the under sea cable, Rwandatel's Internet subscriber base is projected to increase by 10 percent in the first 12 months. Rwandatel's 2G, 3G and ADSL customers will access uninterrupted high speed connectivity with bandwidth provided by Seacom.

Before connecting to Seacom, Rwandatel was using satellites for its Internet connectivity where it was paying $2,000 (Rwf1.1 million) for every Mbps. The cost has been trimmed down to $200 (Rwf112,950) for the same amount of bandwidth.

The CTO explained that connection prices will drastically drop but he said that he can't cite when they will finally drop. Currently, Rwandatel relies on a microwave connection from Katuna boarder which officials say has been the reason for Internet cuts.

Sadindi also explained that even after a full connection to the Seacom’s undersea cable, Rwandatel will not depend only on this connection. "We need to have redundancy of connection by other cables from Arusha and DRC because you can't afford to be disconnected because a Fibre has got a deflate. We will have to be connected to one satellite instead of two to guarantee a fully and uninterrupted connection," Sadindi explained.

Speaking about the increase of internet customers, Sadindi said that he doesn't have a concrete percentage increase but he pointed out that the level of excitement will increase because the of the fast and uninterrupted connection. "With the excitement and fast connection, everyone would rush to use our internet connection leading to the internet subscriber base," He added.

After signing a contract with Seacom connectivity last year, Rwandatel acquired 155 Mbps of capacity.

The deal was expected to lower retail Internet charges but officials say this will be reflected after full connection to the under sea cable.

The deal is also expected to help Rwandatel consolidate its position as Rwanda's leading Internet Service Provider.

The New Times