27 February 2013

Rwanda: National Backbone Reduces Internet Prices, Increases Speed

Following the rollout of the Fibre Optic Cable, otherwise known as the national backbone, the prices for internet servicesdropped while speed increased

Joel Gasagure, the Rubavu District IT officer, says the fibre optic, which now connects all corners of the country, increased the speed of the internet which in return did not only speed-up the service but also reduced the amount of money they paid to the service providers.

He said the last charge with their last internet provider, was about Rwf995,000 per month, adding the current contract with Broadband System Corporation, that started last year, is Rwf 600,000 for both the internet and the web hosting.

"The speed of the internet provided by Rwandatel was too slow and this used to upset my clients. With the fibre, internet provided by BCS is very fast and reliable," said Daniel Niyonsenga, who owns Bits 'n Bites cyber café in Kimironko, a Kigali suburb.

He said the speed has led to an increase in the number of clients which has resulted into good business.

The acting CEO of BCS, Antoine Sebera, said that previously, the only way to get the internet was via satellite which, according to him, was too expensive.

He said with the national backbone, the charges per megabyte gradually reduced from $ 2, 500 before 2009 to and $125 (2012), adding that the prices will keep on going down as the number of subscribers increases.

So far, $96 million has been spent on the fibre optic project, which, he said, is to be implemented in three phases.

The first two phases, have been completed and these included connecting all of the 30 districts, eleven border posts, government buildings and some other key buildings now benefit from the cable.

The third phase according to Sebera, is to extend further the cable to ensure that beneficiaries are reached at the grassroot ,level.

This will be implemented in partnership with local internet services providers, who include; Tigo, Airtel, ALTEC-Stream, ISPA and 4G Networks.

"I am optimistic that through this collaboration, we will be able to extend this service to the masses," Sebera noted.

Sebera acknowledged Wibros are still few to fully access the internet from the Fibre Optic Cable but, he added, this will be handled in collaboration with service providers.

He urged the youth to make the fibre optic cablemore productive by developing a variety of applications in entertainment, business, health and many other areas.

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