According to Network World, Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel) has inked a deal with Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies for the latter to provide and build a national fibre-optic backbone; the new infrastructure is intended to extend the Lusaka Metropolitan fibre-optic project. The deal will see Huawei lay cables across more than ten routes across the country, and the total cost of both projects is believed to be USD48 million. Zamtel’s public relations manager, Charles Kachikoti, said, ‘While the national fibre-optic backbone will be ready in 2009, the Lusaka Metropolitan fibre-optic project will be ready for use by corporate clients in the capital, Lusaka, by the end of this year.’
Mr Kachikoti also confirmed that cable rollout for the project had already begun in some areas, and excavation work for the project was also underway. The fibre-optic backbone will be Zambia’s first, and will link the nation’s provincial centres and towns, and is expected to increase the bandwidth available for both voice and data transmission.