New Artel in Talks With Seacom in Rwanda


Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Rwanda are preparing for the submarine fibre optic cable connection that stretch from the East African coast to different interior destinations of the region.

New Artel, a government Information Communication Technology (ICT) company has said that it is also in talks with Seacom, the company that owns and operates a submarine fibre-optic cable connecting communication carriers in south and East Africa about the possibility of being connected to the cable.

"We are negotiating with Seacom on the possibility of getting connected once the cables reach Kigali," Francis Karemera, New Artel CEO said last week. "We don't know when the cables will reach Kigali since there is no link between Mbarara and Katuna," he added.

Karemera said that though negotiations are going on with Seacom, the government firm that offers telecommunication services in rural areas of Rwanda, is also examining other connection alternatives that will depend on the cost.

The other firms engineering the marine cable across the region include TEAMS, which is spearheaded by the Kenyan government and EASSy.

Internet Service Provider for Africa (ISPA) is also negotiating for connection. The company's Director, Yvon Kaningu told Business Times that the service will be available to clients once a contract is signed. Similarly, Khaled Makkawi, the CEO of MTN-Rwanda said that the Nyarutama-based telecommunication company will be able to tap from the cables once connections reach the border of Gatuna.

"We will have the connections through another company but only if the deal is done," he explained recently in an interview. The current status of play means that only two of the ten ISP licensed companies are in advanced stages of getting connected to the fibre optic cable.

Altech Stream Rwanda is closing in on having interim microwave connections prior to a fibre connection in three months time while Rwandatel expects to be connected by the end of this month through its sister company, Uganda Telecom (UTL).

New Times