Tanzania: TTCL Strikes 10.7 Billion Rwanda's Cyber Deal

Internet

Tanzanian incumbent TTCL has won a 6.7 million US dollars contract to supply 1.244 gigabytes of internet bandwidth to Rwanda for 10 years.

TTCL Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Said Amir Said, told the 'Daily News' shortly before signing the contract in Kigali that striking of the deal was testimony of the firm's growing international reputation.

"After all the problems that TTCL has had over the years, winning this contract shows that the management has turned around its image as well as proof that it has the capacity to compete in big tenders," he said.

Said said under the contract, TTCL was expected to install, configure, test, commission and activate a temporary link with 155 megabytes bandwidth per second by the end of this month. He said the vision that the government has in transforming the country into Information and Communications Technology (ICT) hub for Africa is now within its grasp.

"This contract that we are about to sign is the biggest of its kind so far .. Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda have also expressed their interest to us to supply bandwidth to them," he revealed. Mr Said also revealed that Rwanda had also expressed interest in getting additional bandwidth.

The CEO said that with the East African Community and other regional integration efforts being increased, it went without saying that ICTs greatly enhanced the performance of a country and a catalyst to increased efficiency in different sectors of the economy.

According to a statement made available by TTCL, the bulk international broadband bandwidth has been procured through the World Bank grant under the Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme - Rwanda, a project that aims at lowering prices of internet capacity as well as extending the geographical reach of broadband networks.

"As a land-locked country, Rwanda faces significant challenges in getting access to low cost international connectivity. This purchase of bulk international capacity on regional and international networks will significantly boost our vision to make bandwidth available on the Rwandan market," the Rwanda Development Board Chief Executive Officer, John Gara said.

Gara said that if broadband becomes a commodity on the Rwandan market, it would stimulate deployment of a wider and improved range of services to consumers at affordable prices. The permanent fibre optic link between TTCL's existing optic fibre within Tanzania and Rwanda's national backbone will be activated with a 1,244 gigabytes service by the end of October, this year.

"We are using government demand for bandwidth to drive down regional prices, to stimulate investment into regional network infrastructure and to ensure that these lower prices are made available to all market participants on an open-access basis," the Head of the ICT department of the board, Patrick Nyirishema said.

Nyirishema said that the World Bank funded project would go directly into the expansion of broadband connectivity through funding broadband connections to government institutions such as schools, health centres and local government offices and in the implementation of the eGovernment programme.

The National ICT Broadband Backbone Project (NICTBB) is already connected to two major submarine cables of SEACOM and EASSy, extending the connectivity to the neighbouring countries. The virtual landing station of the submarine cables through the project have been established at the respective cross border points of Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Kenya.