South Sudan to hook into fibre cable

Telecoms

South Sudan wants to hook onto the undersea fibre optic cables at Kenya's coast by the end of the year.

The country's under-secretary in the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Mr Juma Stephen Lugga, told the Nation that plans are under way to invest in the new infrastructure to reduce dependence on the costly satellite Internet.

The move is part of the efforts by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to help South Sudan build a strong information, communication and technology industry under the umbrella of the northern corridor infrastructure summit commonly known as the 'Coalition of the Willing'.

The idea is 'to get a lot of assistance from Kenyan and the rest of the region in developing our ICT sector,' Mr Lugga said, adding: 'We are soon going to lay fibre-optic cables connecting Juba to the undersea cables at the Kenyan coast.'

The country has also sought Kenya's help in establishing an ICT industry regulatory framework, the Nation learned.

Mr Lugga was speaking in Kwale County last week at Connected Kenya Summit, which was attended by ICT ministers from Kenya and Rwanda.

Kenya ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said he is putting together a team from his ministry and the private sector to help Juba set up a communications industry watchdog.

INTERGRATION OF ICT

Dr Matiang'i said they were under instructions from their Heads of State to speed up integration of ICT as an enabler of business.

The ministers agreed to make the Connected Kenya Summit into an annual regional forum where the public and private stakeholders in ICT will review the industry's progress and set new goals.

They indicated that there are plans to review the tax regime of each of the four countries in the infrastructure summit with a view to cutting the cost of making cross border calls.

'High calling rates in the region have been a big problem and a major hindrance for business growth and integration,' Rwanda ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana said.