Network operator Liquid Telecom has announced it has extended its fibre network to the city of Lumumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reducing the country’s dependence on satellite and increasing capacity and availability.
It is the first international fibre link to Lumumbashi, the second largest city in the DRC. With the West Africa Cable System (WACS) unlikely to arrive in the capital Kinshasa until at least March 2013, it will provide the DRC with its first connection to the system through Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Mobile penetration in the DRC is estimated by analysts BuddeComm at 25 percent, with Internet penetration just 1.5 percent of 67 million people. One of the DRC’s four network operators has already starting using the new fibre network, eliminating satellite double-hops in its network.
“Our expansion into DRC is a major milestone both for us and the people of the DRC,” said Nic Rudnick, CEO of Liquid Telecom. “Our fibre network is already the most extensive in Southern Africa. It is increasing the prosperity of ordinary Africans and the businesses which serve and employ them.”
Liquid Telecom’s fibre network – the largest in Southern Africa – provides backhaul between urban areas and last mile connectivity in the major cities in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa. It provides connectivity onto the four submarine fibre cable systems landing in Africa: WACS, EASSY, Seacom and SAT3.
The DRC’s planned connection to WACS has been long-delayed, but is expected to resume shortly. It was expected to be connected in May, but was put on hold after it emerged that the cable’s landing station had not been built to the correct technical standards.