Rwanda has High Expectations of new, low connectivity prices with fibre

Internet

The wholesale costs of connectivity in Rwanda are expected to reduce from $3,000 to $25 for each Mbps.

Information Communication and Technology (ICT) can dramatically improve the quality and availability of public services, World Bank Country Manager Victoria Kwakwa said recently. In her remarks Kwakwa, highlighted that nearly two-thirds of Africa's population now lives within the range of a mobile network from close to zero.

This was during last week's three-day '3rd annual African e-governance Forum 2009' that took place in Kigali from the 23rd to the 26th of March. "Broadband is the key to the future of ICT in Africa," Kwakwa said. It's said that broadband in Africa is expensive and inaccessible, not available on a large scale anywhere in Africa.

This year the government of Rwanda committed to invest above $100 million in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

The big investment priorities include laying a national broadband backbone connecting to the coastal submarine cables expected to be completed by 2010.

Laying of the national backbone across the country will pave away for rural telecommunication development and increase the rate of telecommunication penetration in the country and bridge the telecommunication gap.

Two of the submarine cables being targeted include the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) and The East African Marine System (TEAMS). Costs of Internet broadband in the country are expected to reduce from $3,000 to $25 for each Mbps.

Currently charges for bandwidth of 512 kilo bytes per second (512kbps/ 128kbps) costs Frw950,000 per month on wireless while on fiber connection its Frw360,000 for 256 Kilo bytes per second (256kbps/96kbps) per month.

Once the cables are complete, access to international bandwidth connected to Rwanda will increase more than three times and the price will fall by over 50 percent.

According to Diogene Mudenge, the Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency (RURA) boss, the current Internet penetration is 5 percent from licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), MTN, Rwandatel and Artel which is a communications company that belongs to government.

The government is targeting 60 percent penetration by 2012. Currently, mobile phone subscribers in Rwanda are 1.5 million with 1.25 million subscribing with MTN. About 250,000 subscribe with Rwandatel. The country is targeting 5 million subscribers by 2012.

The projection is based on the growth in mobile phone penetration with a 3rd mobile national operator expected to open office by the end of this year. With the help of New Artel, 120 mbps plus Internet connection have been provided to rural areas.

The move will help institutions in rural areas to be connected to their main branches for enhancements of services and thus meeting the customer's satisfaction.

The New Times