IDG News Service reports that South Korean incumbent telco KT Corp has signed a USD40 million deal with Rwanda’s government to construct a national fibre-optic backbone. Under the agreement, KT will supply and install the 2,300km cable, which will link 36 main nodes in Rwanda’s 30 districts. KT will also install a 10,000-user capacity wireless broadband network in the capital Kigali.
Out of a population of ten million, fewer than 10,000 Rwandans currently have internet access. With the new infrastructure, officials expect between two and four million people to gain access to the web within two to three years. The project will also increase broadband availability to more than 700 institutions, including schools, healthcare centres and local government centres. Work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2009.
The KT deal is funded in part by a USD24 million credit line extended to the country by the World Bank as part of its USD424 million Regional Communication Infrastructure Program, designed to improve the infrastructure of Southern and Eastern Africa and increase the deployment of e-government in the area. The programme complements the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), a fibre-optic link currently being laid along Africa’s east coast and due to be finished by the second half of 2010, which will link the region to the rest of the world.