By Samuel Sanya
AS Uganda becomes the 402nd point on Tata communications vast undersea fibre cable network, the country is set to benefit from competition in the ICT sector.
Tata has put ink to paper with an extendable three year deal with Roke Telkom, connecting Uganda to their 500,000km undersea cable network, the largest independently managed in the world.
Hitherto, Uganda was served by two fibre cable networks, the East African Marine System (TEAMS) and the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) covering a 17,000km distance at a cost of more than $650m (sh1.7 trillion).
The two networks provide internet gateways to Mombasa, India and Dubai, the new deal will increase Uganda’s gateways especially to business hubs in the US and the UK.
Internet penetration has stalled at 12.5% but is set to shoot up as competition rages. State investment minister, Gabriel Ajedra noted that the partnership is timely as government moves to boost internet access.
James Walker, the Tata communications Vice President, managed network services noted that the move into Uganda is part of their strategy to capitalize on growth opportunities in African markets.
“The partnership with Roke Telkom is designed to enable us to merge the best international technology delivery with the strongest local technology implementers,” he said in a statement.
Roger Sekaziga, the Roke Telkom boss noted that the new deal is similar to an international airliner offering its services to Uganda. He added that it’s now up to Ugandans to utilize the additional internet capacity.
New fibre cable to spur competition