South Korea's telecom giant, Korea Telecom (KT), yesterday officially opened its offices in Rwanda. The offices located at Telecom House in Kacyiru will be home to the Korean firm contracted by the Rwandan government to construct a national back backbone project worth US $40m.
Officiating at the launch of regional office, ICT Minister Romain Murenzi said that Government has partnered with the Korean firm to lay the fiber-optic cable that will connect the country to the undersea cable and also provide technology, equipment, relevant application materials and training and manage the cable installation process.
"Our partnership with KT is helping us to transform the country into the continental ICT hub. In order to develop, we recognise the need to develop the human capacity especially in the areas of Science and ICT to capitalise on the benefits of ICT, which has reshaped the way of doing business" Murenzi said.
The backbone is expected to provide high speed broadband internet once complete.
In 2008, KT was also contracted to install a wireless broadband network known as the Kigali Metropolitan Area Network (Kigali MAN) accessible to 10,000 people in Kigali with both projects expected to cost $70m in total, as revealed by Nkubito Bakuramutsa, the RDB Deputy CEO in charge of IT.
The firm also has the contract to establish the Kigali WiBro, a commercial wireless mobile broadband.
The national backbone once linked to the undersea cable off the cost of Mombasa, will cut costs of international connectivity as well as the cost of doing business in Rwanda.
With the new infrastructure, the government is targeting to have over 4 million Rwandans gain access to high speed internet within the next two to three years.
The project will also increase broadband availability to more than 700 Rwandan institutions, including schools, health-care centres and local government administrative centres.
The national backbone is expected to consist of a high-speed fibre-optic network that will link 36 main points in Rwanda's 30 districts, with a 2,300-kilometre cable running across the country.
Murenzi added that Government has received US$24 million from the World Bank for the Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme for Rwanda.
"We are very confident that our partnership with KT will yield great results as this will serve as a regional office. KT already has some other pending deals within the region," revealed Bakuramutsa.