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8 April, at 08 : 31 AM Print
Rwanda has awarded a $6.7 million contract to Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) to provide 1.244 gigabytes of international internet bandwidth per second for 10 years to improve the country’s current internet connectivity speed.
The additional bandwidth is expected to double Rwanda’s international bandwidth capacity which is currently estimated at 1.1 to 1.2 gigabyte per second.
The TTCL is expected to start providing part of the additional capacity mid April and progressively scale up to the full contracted capacity in less than six months.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday 3rd April after signing the contract, Patrick Nyirishema, the Head of Information and Communication Technology department at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) said that they want to make sure that there is sufficient and affordable internet capacity on the Rwandan market to make internet bandwidth is a commodity in the country.
Rwanda currently offers internet penetration at 7 per cent though government is targeting to increase it to 12 per cent this year. The cost of internet is also still relatively high with users spending on average approximately Rwf30 ($0.05) per mega byte.
As of September 2011, fixed broadband internet of the six operating Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Rwandatel was the main player with a 62 per cent market share followed by MTN Rwanda with 21 per cent market share, Altech Stream with a 13 per cent market share while the other six ISPs share the 4 per cent remaining.
TTCL emerged as a winner of the contract after beating 9 shortlisted both local and international companies including MTN Rwanda, Altech Stream Rwanda and SEACOM.
Currently, Rwanda relies on three submarine fiber optic systems for internet traffic routing including The East Africa Marine Systems (TEAMS), EASSY and SEACOM. Internet services are mainly provided through these systems by local telecommunications companies and internet service providers.