Rwanda: Senate to Summon ICT Minister Over Fibre Optics


The Minister in the Office of the President in charge of ICT is set to appear before the Senate to explain how the government intends to manage and maintain the fibre-optic cable network. The decision to summon Ignace Gatare, was arrived at after Senator Wellars Gasamagera presented a paper to the House on the current status of ICT infrastructure in the country.

"The government has spent $94m in laying 2,560-kilometre fibre optic cable across the country," said Gasamagera. The physical laying of the cable included civil works, laying of ducts and installation. "Now Kigali is connected to nine border-posts and all the country's 30 districts are networked." After full connection of the optic ring, the cable will link Rwanda to the Indian Ocean submarine cables via Uganda, through Kenya.

It is assumed that with a backbone cable around the country, there is going to be a substantive decrease in the cost of telecom services, reductions estimated between 40- 50 %.

"The Senate needs to know how government is going to manage and maintain the cable, how cyber criminality is going to be controlled and how much the government will benefit from this new technology," Gasamagera said. It is assumed that the cable will connect over 230 institutions in all 30 districts. Already 50 public institutions are connected and are using fibre optics.

However, the Senate expressed deep concern on how the current ICT infrastructure will be replaced or upgraded and whether there is a joint plan between the government and private investors on how the cable will be managed.

By press time, , Gatare was not available for comment while the RDB Deputy CEO-IT, Patrick Nyirishema, who oversees the project, said he had no time to talk to the press.

Experts have indicated that, the infrastructure will boost access to various broadband services including fast tracking government initiatives like e-Governance, e-Banking, e-Learning, e-Health, and other applications.