Africa carrier WIOCC, in conjunction with local shareholder Dalkom Somalia, is set to launch fibre connectivity to and from Somalia via the EASSy cable in the first quarter of 2014.
The connection will offer services directly from Mogadishu to the rest of the world in addition to improving access to the internet with capacity between 2Mbps and 10Gbps.
HumanIPO reported on Tuesday Liquid Telecom had launched the first fibre optic cable into Somalia, connecting the country to the undersea cables by fibre for the first time, as well as to neighbours Kenya.
Dalkom Somalia is currently building a 1,000sqm data centre to host equipment for all Mogadishu operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to facilitate direct connection into the international fibre network.
Chris Wood, WIOCC chief executive officer (CEO), said: “Until now, Somalia has been served exclusively by satellite – with high costs and limited bandwidth severely restricting the rollout and uptake of internet access and advanced services. WIOCC and Dalkom will be the first into commercial operation with international fibre-optic connectivity direct into Mogadishu.”
Wood said he expected it to drive lower cost internet and broadband, to boost mobile penetration from its current 60 per cent and to dramatically increase the development and use of internet-based services and applications.
“We operate an open access policy and encourage all local operators and ISPs to take advantage of the new infrastructure we are bringing to our country,” said Wood.
Mohamed Ahmed Jama, CEO of Dalkom Somalia, said just as with other African countries over recent years, access to affordable, high-speed, international connectivity has a significant impact on economic, political and social development.
“To complement the new connectivity to EASSy, Dalkom Somalia is building a fibre-optic metropolitan area network that will extend connectivity to customers within Mogadishu,” said Jama.
“This entire initiative will greatly benefit the growing number of international organisations and local business entrepreneurs there, as well as the people of Somalia.”
Somalia has become one of the most competitive telecoms markets in Africa, with some of the lowest international call rates on the continent.
However, access to the internet is very limited – in 2000, Somalia was one of the last countries in Africa to get connected.
With speed and quality severely constrained and costs high, internet penetration rates are low, with only an estimated 1.3 per cent of the 10 million population having any access.