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Kibaki Pluggs Kenyan into the Fiber-optic Internet

By Wayan Vota on June 18, 2009

What a great day for East African Internet connectivity! After years of hearing hopes, rumors, and press releases, we now have actual action on the many fiber-optic submarine cables snaking their way around Africa. From the Economist, we learn:

[I]n the Kenyan port of Mombasa, a regional communications revolution belatedly got under way when Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, plugged in the first of three fibre-optic submarine cables due to make landfall in Kenya in the next few months. They should speed up the connection of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as bits of Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, to the online world. Laying the cable cost $130m, mostly at the Kenyan government’s expense; Mr Kibaki hailed the event for bringing “digital citizenship” to his countrymen.

The East Africa Marine Systems (TEAMS) cable will link Kenya and its neighbours with UAE and the greater world, with a 120 Gb/s – 1.28 Tb/s capacity that should come on line later this year. Hopefully this will lead to an almost immediate drop in costs, increase in capacity and speeds, and underpin a flourishing of online content.

If so, we’ll surely see an increase business opportunities for the budding ICT industry across East Africa. Internet connectivity is the backbone of the modern economy, or ask Kubaki told the New Vision:

“Some have compared it to the completion of the Kenya-Uganda railway more than a century ago,” he said noting that today’s economies were largely driven by the Internet and other ICT connections.

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Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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