Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rwanda’s national fibre network will be complete by December

(Source: East African Business Week, via Balancing Act's News Update e-letter)

The Rwanda government says it will have a complete national fibre network across the country by December. The government is building the national fibre optic cable of 2,300 kilometres across the country. The cable will connect over 230 institutions in all 30 Districts and all the 9 Rwandan borders with the main cities.

The national backbone project started in September 2008 with a target to be ready in one year. However, the project delayed one year and started in October 2009. The Head of Information Technology (IT) department of the Rwanda Development Board, which implements the project Patrick Nyirishema says changes in the project layout caused the delay.

He says the government's initial plan was to build its own cable but later it merged that the private sector also wanted to benefit from the scheme. This required the government to adjust initial designs and the budget, which potentially affected initial timelines.

As a result, the government included multiple ducts in which the private service providers could lay their cables without necessarily digging for them separately. "The process of deciding on the final configuration caused that delay. This changed the budget and we imported more than 6,000km of duct or 250 containers of ducts," says Nyirishema.

He says this phase is complete and the new target for completion of the project is by December.
"Our commitment was to finish this project by December 2010, and according to our project schedule, we shall meet the target," Nyirishema said in an exclusive interview in Kigali recently.

He says out of 2,300 km to be built, more than 500 km have been completed.

He says speed has also been scaled up and on average 70-80 km per week are being done which translates into about 300 km per month.

He says the government started with Kigali-Gatuna because it wanted to connect to Seacom, one of the submarine cables with a landing point in Mombasa Kenya. Both the government and the telecom operators are negotiating with Seacom for capacity, despite the fact that two operators Rwandatel and Altech have already connected to Seacom via microwave links.