East Africa to get fibre optic connection

East Africa to get fibre optic cables by 2010
East Africa to get fibre optic cables by 2010

It is the largest populated coastline in the world without a fibre optic connection, but East Africa will finally be hooked up properly by this October.

The 9,300 miles long cable will cost around £322 million to install and will connect to the international grid in France and India. Most of the money comes from African investors.

This new cable will significantly change the communications network across East Africa, a region that otherwise relies on expensive satellite connections. This has made the continent one of the most expensive for internet access and phone calls.

Cutting costs

Currently, it costs around a whopping £75 a month to run an internet and phone connection in Kenya. This new fibre optic cable will significantly reduce these costs.

Speaking to the Guardian about the significance of the cable to Africa, Nicholas Nesbitt, CEO of African start-up company, Kencall, said: "For a country to be without fibre-optic links today is like being without a harbour in the past – you are landlocked."

Although the cable is being laid in October, the system won't be up and running till 2010 – just in time for the football World Cup that South Africa will be hosting. This should take some of the strain away from South Africa's single undersea cable connection.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.