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Rwanda internet providers given new mandatory guidelines

3 March, at 12 : 48 PM Print

Rwanda internet providers given

July 2011: Rwanda Minister for ICT Hon. Dr. Ignace Gatare (centre) makes a comment during his courtesy visit of Zantel to learn more about the EASSy fiber cable whose EASSy landing station is located at Zantel Head Office in Dar es Salaam. Seated right is his Tanzanian counterpart Hon. Prof. Makame Mbarawa and on the left is Zantel’s Chief Technical Officer Moncef Mettiji.


Following more than three weeks of embarrassing disruptions in the supply of internet by the country’s providers, government has set new rules under which the companies would be held accountable for any future breakdowns.

Since February 17, Rwandans and other eastern Africans have seen internet levels drop to snail speed after four undersea cables broke down on the eastern Africa coast. MTN Rwanda lost more than 80 percent of its internet bandwidth, leaving clients and government bitterly complaining.

The situation even attracted the attention of the Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who visited MTN headquarters, and urged the country’s largest telecom to put clients above profit. The company said it was doing everything possible to reinstate the supply.

Now, Rwanda Minister in charge of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Dr Ignace Gatare, has devised new guidelines to avoid any such situation happening again. The guidelines were issued March 02 and immediately communicated to the media on the same day at a press conference.

Government has ordered the industry regulator, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) to formulate a client compensation system where customers will have to be repaid in case service fails.

The authorities also want a new mechanism for seamless redundancy and diversity of internet bandwidth to guarantee service. This means that MTN Rwanda and the other providers will be required to have extra internet bandwidth from a variety of sources at all times such that if there is a breakdown, an automatic shift is implemented.

The guidelines will allow automatic sharing of bandwidth between operators at pre-negotiated and determined prices to avoid service interruptions in case of any breakdown, according to minister Gatare.

Internet providers in Rwanda depend on three undersea cables for internet traffic routing including The East Africa Marine Systems (TEAMS), EASSY and SEACOM. The local providers get the supply from these cables that essentially link the country to the world.

Minister Gatare said the new directives have been communicated to the telecom companies and have to be implemented immediately.




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