WE ARE ON IT: Prof. Romain Murenzi.
BY EDWIN MUSONI
•Marine fiber-optic cable reaches Mombasa
Government is currently engaged in talks with Kenya
over a possible partnership to connect the country's backbone
with the newly launched undersea cable at the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, the Minister
in Charge of Science and Technology in the Office
of the President, Prof. Romain Murenzi, revealed that
he had delegated officials from Rwanda Development Board
(RDB) to engage in talks with Kenyan authorities
to have the cable connected to the Rwandan border.
"I have personally visited the landing sites in
Dar-el-salaam, Tanzania and in Mombasa, Kenya to
assess the possibilities of connecting the
fibre optic cable to Rwanda.
I am expecting a report from the team
anytime soon," Murenzi said.
Connection to the undersea cables is one of
the country's priorities to become a
regional Information Communication
Technology (ICT) hub.
Rwanda wants to connect to
"The East African Marine System" (TEAMS)
which docked last week at the Kenyan coastal
town of Mombasa.
This submarine cable is owned by the Kenyan government.
Rwanda recently received a $ 24 million grant
from World Bank (WB), under the Regional
Program - Rwanda (RCIPRWA), to establish
the country's capacity to provide
broadband connectivity and access
to low-cost international connectivity.
The World Bank project is meant to
facilitate Rwanda to connect her national backbone
to landing sites of any of the
five East African coastal submarine cables.
Some of the submarine cables that are yet
to land include the Eastern Africa
Submarine Cable System (EASSy)
and the SEACOM cable.
Before last week's landing of TEAMS
the Eastern African coastline was the
only one not connected to the rest of
the world's sub-marine fibre optic cable.
Presently, the region depends largely
on expensive satellite infrastructure
to connect to the rest of the world.
Murenzi said the country has already laid
groundwork to ensure that the business
starts as soon as the cable becomes operational.
The arrival of the cable at Mombasa signals
the onset of a whole new era in
the telecommunications industry,
especially the data services in the East African region.
Experts have predicted that
telecommunications costs could go down
by 60 percent as the cost of bandwidth
will significantly drop.
High speed data solutions, especially Internet
are expected with the increased bandwidth.
Plentiful new opportunities across many sectors
are expected to merge including life-enhancing
disciplines such as educational, clinical
and scientific research which relies on
the real-time sharing of data around
the world will also become a reality
for many Rwandan organizations.
Rwanda government signed a deal
worth $40 million with South Korea's
telecom giant Korea Telecom (KT)
to build the country's broadband infra-structure.
Rwanda is already represented in
the EASSy consortium by MTN Rwanda
The EASSy project was the first initiative
attempting to connect countries of
Eastern and sub-Saharan Africa via
a high bandwidth fibre optic cable system
to the rest of the world.
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