PTA Bank has approved a $11.5 million loan to build a national fibre optic network in Burundi may 2013.
The loan would revolutionize the telecommunications sector by bringing the benefits of high speed, high bandwidth connectivity at a more affordable cost. An immediate impact of the project will be to increase Internet and mobile penetration in Burundi, making communication services available to a larger part of the population
The 13,000 kilometre fibre-optic project will cover the capital Bujumbura, 17 provinces and the country’s borders with Rwanda and Tanzanian. This will see the landlocked country connect to international fibre-optic cables for the first time, and end dependency on satellite connections.
Currently, telecom operators in Burundi pay dearly for Mbps per month for international bandwidth. Internet users in Burundi pay some of the highest rates for connectivity in Africa. It will also see Burundi’s bandwidth prices drop significantly
Burundi will however have to rely heavily on the Rwanda and Tanzania infrastructure. Rwanda has already completed laying its national backbone covering 2,300 kilometres, while Tanzania is still working on a 10,000-kilometre fibre cable infrastructure.
The East African states are jointly investing $400 million in terrestrial fibre optics for backbone cables that, when complete, will provide a vast network for Internet connectivity.
This fibre system, which will cover more than 15,600 kilometres, will link Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and will create the largest interconnected region on the continent.
The network will stretch from South Sudan to Tanzania’s border with Zambia and Malawi in the south and the DR Congo in the west.