Ethiopia lengthening fiber-optic line to 10,000 kms

With the aim of expanding telephone and internet services, Ethiopian government is working to extend the current 7,000 kms of fiber-optics line to 10,000 kms in the coming three months. 

This is indicated by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Sufian Ahmed, while presenting five year performance report of the ministry to the Parliament. Access to telecom services of Ethiopia in five kilometers range has now reached 50 percent from it was at 13 percent last year, according to Sufian.

He also noted that in the coming three months the total number of mobile phone users in the country will also increase to 6 million from 4 million.

It was at the end of 2010 that the government telecom monopoly, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation has signed a contract agreement with SEACOM Telecom Company for the procurement of international fiber optic bandwidth connectivity.

According to this 634.5 million birr (47 million USD) deal, Ethiopia will be connected to the rest of the world through submarine fiber communication system via Djibouti and will get high-speed internet connection and better telecom services.

The deal makes Ethiopia the eighth country in Africa to be connected to the SEACOM system following South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Djibouti.

The information obtained from its official website indicated that SEACOM is offering one, seamless product to end users spanning 11 sovereign nations. It will be the first cable to provide broadband to countries in east Africa which, at the moment, rely entirely on expensive satellite connections.

The project is well underway with final construction and the cable landing stations have been completed almost entirely and the three cable segments are currently underway, the company says.

“One is making its way from the edge of South African waters north to Mozambique while another is motoring to the coast of Yemen from the Red Sea coast of Egypt. The third ship is loaded with SEACOM’s deep water cable that will go from India towards Africa,” it says.

The company also noted that there will be six weeks of testing once the 17,000 kilometers submarine fibre optic cables linking south and east Africa to global network is completed.