South Sudan plans to lay its own fibre-optic cable

The East African nation of South Sudan plans to lay out fibre-optic cable to link its capital Juba with the numerous regional cables, in an attempt to lower Internet costs in the country.

According to Reuters reports, the undersecretary at the Telecommunication and Postal Services Ministry Juma Stephen said the government wants to lower the reliance on expensive satellite for Internet connection.

“We are targeting this year, within this year, that we will be connected to the submarine cable,” Stephen told Reuters. “Construction of fibre-optic cables will more than halve Internet prices and make it twice as fast.”

Internet in the country is quite expensive retailing at US$4,000 per megabit (MB), according to sources. North Africa and Angola are reported to have the cheapest internet connections.

The country, which has come out of civil strife and separation from the greater Sudan, has little infrastructure in its telecommunications sector. Last year, Zain claimed to have 570,000 subscribers, a small number compared to their East African counterparts. The country has five mobile operators: Vivacell, Gemtel, MTN, Zain and Sudani.

Despite these setbacks in infrastructure, the country is forging ahead in putting up systems to enable the country to move towards a digital state. In 2011, it was reported that the country was aiming to set up their own domain, .ss.

The country already has obtained investors interested in getting the country online. iBurst, a South African ICT company, set up base in the country last year and unveiled their three-year plan to connect the country with internet service.

IBurst has four base stations in the South Sudan capital of Juba using fourth-generation systems, which allow faster downloads.

“The stations service Juba’s population of about 250,000 and coverage will extend to the whole nation in three years,” Thami Mtshali, chief executive officer of IBurst, said.

Posted in: Internet

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