Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group based in Mauritius, has extended its fibre network to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), IT New Africa reports. Announcing the development at the AfricaCom 2012 conference, the company said that its infrastructure connects to Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC, giving it its first international fibre link. The news comes at a pivotal time for the DRC’s telecoms sector, with the long-delayed West Africa Cable System (WACS) expected to arrive in Kinshasa imminently. IT News Africa adds that at least one of the country’s established mobile operators is already using Liquid’s fibre network to backhaul international traffic from Lubumbashi, ‘eliminating satellite double-hops in its network’. Nic Rudnick, CEO of Liquid Telecom, commented: ‘Our expansion into DRC is a major milestone both for us and the people of the DRC. Our fibre network is already the most extensive in southern Africa. It is increasing the prosperity of ordinary Africans and the businesses which serve and employ them’.
Liquid, which was established in 2003, claims to preside over the ‘largest fibre network in southern Africa’, which provides backhaul between most urban areas and last mile connectivity in the main cities of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa. Further, the company claims that its network is the first to cross country borders and covers some of the most challenging parts of the world where no fixed network has existed before; many of these areas are not covered by wireless or satellite either.