Liquid Telecom invests 2bn in the extension of Pan African fibre cable

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Liquid telecom will invest 2 bn in its Ugandan Subsidiary Infocom to see through the extension of Pan African fibre cable infrastructure across Kampala’s Central Business District and to multiple rural towns across Uganda, including Mukono, Jinja, Masaka, and Mbarara.

The move is in a bid to offer a world class service within Kampala’s CBD in line with the country’s vision of fueling the country’s accelerated economic growth by achieving better service delivery and improving the country’s internet penetration which stands at 133rd position globally, with 16.2 per cent of Ugandans currently accessing the internet.

The demand for data services is growing in Uganda at a time when data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) shows the country as leading the East African region in attracting FDI in 2013.

According to World Bank’s study ‘Building broadband: Strategies and policies for the developing world’, low-income and middle-income countries experienced about a 1.38 percentage point increase in GDP for each 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration. The World Bank further found that the development impact of broadband on emerging economies is greater than for high-income countries.

On this basis, Liquid Telecom has increased the number of Points of Presence (PoPs) for its top performance business-focused internet from 11, a year ago, to now 30, and upgraded all its existing PoPs. It is the only Internet Service Provider to have built a regional fibre ring –The East Africa Fibre Ring – and back up international links – that connects all of East Africa to each other and the rest of the world. This, along with its connections to all five undersea fibre cables, has positioned it with a far higher and more reliable Internet capacity than any other supplier in the region.

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All of Liquid Telecom’s POPs in Uganda now have a capacity ranging from 1 to 10 Gigabytes per second. This speed is 10 times faster than the average Ugandan Internet speed, which stands at 5.09 mbps according to Internet World Stats (IWS).

Liquid telecom will also set up setting up Metro towns in order to give these towns a network connection that will see their businesses access the kind of speed, reliability and affordability of internet that users are getting in the capital Kampala. E-business and governance is meant to incorporate the whole population into this frontier in order to realize balanced development.

The Metro towns will additionally help mitigate unemployment in Uganda as Internet connectivity directly and indirectly spurs job creation. Uganda is one of the sub-Saharan Africa’s countries with the highest rates of youth unemployment, according to a 2012 study by ActionAid International Uganda (AAIU), an NGO. The study sampled both rural and urban youth and found the unemployment rate at 61.6 per cent.

The telecoms fibre connection is linked through the Malaba border from Bungoma, where Liquid Telecom in Kenya has a Point of Presence. This main fibre cable links to the international Internet gateway in Kampala, from where it heads westwards into Rwanda across the Katuna border.

Liquid’s fibre ring is connected to all five submarine cable systems. In case there is a problem with one of the Seacom, Teams, Wacs, Eassy and Sat3 cables, the other four are on standby and act as a backup. Other local data providers have only one marine cable connection meaning a single fault along that one cable can stop completely their flow of data and Internet.

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