KENYA Data Networks (KDN) and its Ugandan partner, Infocom, have launched an estimated 1,500km optic fibre cable linking Kampala, Nairobi and Mombasa. The laying of the sh1.5b fibre backbone from Mombasa to Kampala has increased the stakes in the regional telecoms scene as it gears up for the landing of several international undersea cables.
The project includes connecting Kigali within the next six to eight weeks and later to Bujumbura in Burundi. The submarine fibre is expected to benefit businesses, homes and the digital villages by providing faster, cheaper and efficient services including cable television, telephone and internet to the East African countries.
This in turn should enable the region to favourably compete on the global scene, KDN, Infocom and Altech Stream Rwanda top executives announced during the live simultaneous launches in Kampala, Nairobi and Mombasa.
The fibre has a capacity of 10,000 megabytes per second with a ping return time of seven milliseconds to Nairobi and 14 milliseconds to Mombasa. This means that a Ugandan is only seven milliminutes and 14 minutes away from Nairobi and Mombasa respectively.
Kai Wulff, the Altech Stream East Africa executive director, explained that KDN and Infocom were living up to their promise of being a one-stop provider of telecoms solutions through provision of low cost bandwidth that will guarantee affordable and reliable high speed links in the region and Africa as a whole.
"We are excited to be associated with a project aimed at delivering the same if not better - affordable telecommunications advances enjoyed by most countries in the developed world," observed Wulff.
"From the time we laid our first fibre optic cable in 2005 in Nairobi, we said we were looking to cover from Cape to Cairo.
"This is one step closer to our mission."
He said there will no longer be a need to go through satellite to communicate across the border as has been the case.
"Your information will no longer require to travel 72,000km to the satellite to reach Uganda. This will mean a considerable reduction in Internet consumer prices compared to VSAT (small aperture terminal)," costs," said Wulff.
"The new Infocom/KDN fibre optic cable will also connect Uganda to the undersea cables that have landed in Mombasa and provide the much-needed regional and global communication benefits for the country and the so far 'satellite-locked' region," explained Hans Haerdtle, the Infocom chief executive officer.
"Altech Stream East Africa considers investment in the undersea cable so crucial to the region's welfare and will continue to invest heavily on infrastructure as part of its vision to connect people with high quality and affordable services," Wulff added.