Congolese telecoms watchdog the Regulatory Authority of Post and Telecommunications (Autorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecom, ARPTC) has issued a licence to Liquid Telecom for the construction of a second submarine cable landing station. The move is expected to end the Congolese Society of Post and Telecommunication’s (Societe Congolaise des Postes et Telecommunications, SCPT’s) monopoly on the sector and provide redundancy after damage to the West Africa Cable System (WACS) – the only submarine cable that currently lands in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – earlier this year caused a nationwide internet slowdown. Liquid is expected to connect the DRC to Google’s Equiano cable. Liquid Telecom currently operates an terrestrial fibre backbone network in the DRC, and announced in November 2019 that it had completed construction of the first overland fibre link connecting East and West Africa, spanning from Muanda on the west coast of the DRC to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, via Zambia.
In a related development, meanwhile, Agence Ecofin reports that the DRC’s telecoms ministry met this week with the Regional African Satellite Communication Organisation (Rascom) regarding potential measures to improve the nation’s access to international connectivity. Rascom DG Mamadou Sarr noted that the DRC currently only uses Rascom for satellite TV, adding that the organisation could offer more and ‘support it in its digital transition’.