The third East Africa Submarine Cable System EASSy arrived at the Kenyan coast this Sunday says Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio.

In December, the largest investor in EASSY, West Indian Ocean Cable Company had anticipated the landing of the 1.4 terabyte per second cable to be in June 2010. Mr Poghisio said the cable system was expected to raise the bandwidth capacity although activation and utilization of the first two cables (SEACOM and TEAMS) had not been fully implemented.

The Communications minister said Kenyans were yet to fully utilize the opportunities presented by the landing of the sea cables. Read More
“ The East African Marine system called TEAMS cable and another called SEACOM are now actively serving the East African region to access international network. We must use technology to keep up and aim to prove our professional standards,” he said.

He also said the new technology brought challenges to both the East African governments as well as to the media.

“Because with this technology we are playing catch up and the media must therefore be in the forefront of training their personnel to use these technologies so that we can also catch up with development. We do not sacrifice our own economic development at the altar of expediency in reporting and business,” he said.

He also challenged Africa to rapidly enhance their uptake of the incoming capacity of broadband which would fast track ICT as one of the key pillars of development.

“I must single out the government of Rwanda for taking up the challenge very seriously and is now a global leader which is represented very well here by His Excellency,” he said.

He further added that his ministry was in the process of completing the second phase of its terrestrial national optic fiber network to cover all Kenyan districts and that it had already set the network to cover all the provinces.

During the Pan African Media Conference, Ugandan Minister for Information and National Guidance Kabakumba Labwoni challenged the media and ICT sectors to look for quality content that would fill the information vacuum created by the new technological advancements. She said the media so far lacked adequate content that would fully utilize the opportunities presented by the technologies.

“It will be very important as we move into the digital transmission because we are going to have a lot of space and getting content to fill that space may be a challenge,” she said.

The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) is an initiative to connect Eastern African and landlocked countries with the rest of the world through high bandwidth fibre optic cable system. Although it is considered a milestone in the development of information infrastructure in the region connections to the Internet stand at 8 percent in Africa with only 3 percent of the population having access to broadband.

The 10,800 kilometers long cable system is scheduled to go live in June 2010 and will run from Mtunzini in South Africa to Port Sudan in Sudan, with landing points in nine countries. It will be connected to at least 10 landlocked countries including Botswana, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. These countries will no longer have to rely on expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data services.

The project, partially funded by the World Bank, was initiated on January 2003, when a handful of companies investigated its feasibility.

Most of the nine landlocked countries have contributed to EASSy through the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) consortium, formed by 12 telecom operators from the continent to pool financial resources for EASSy’s implementation.

SEACOM and TEAM cables landed at the Kenyan coast last year.

Plentiful and readily available bandwidth will result in lower telecommunications costs and new opportunities across many sectors of the Kenyan economy including ICT industries, educational, clinical and scientific applications which rely on the real-time sharing of data around the world at lightning fast speed.

SEACOM’s enormous capacity also enables new technologies such as high definition TV, peer to peer networks, and surging Internet demand at prices significantly lower than currently possible.

Cisco has rolled out a new router that the technology behemoth says will "serve as the foundation of the next generation Internet."

This router was unveiled by cisco on tuesday, that it had said "will forever change the Internet."
The announcement centered on the growing demands of video traffic on the Web and the need for more robust networking gear.

"The role of the Internet is changing forever," Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers said in a Webcast. "It's going to be around multimedia experiences ... We think as you do this, you have to build an architecture that is very flexible."

Dubbed CRS-3 Carrier Routing System, Cisco said its new product has "more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system."

Cisco said AT&T Inc. has successfully tested the new product, in the "world's first field trial of 100-gigabit backbone network technology."

The company also said the new router "triples the capacity of its predecessor, the Cisco CRS-1" and "enables the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second; every man, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously; and every motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than four minutes."

Chambers also said the product rollout is geared to the major trend of cloud computing, in which companies access computing power through a network, instead of in-house data centers.

During the Cisco Webcast, Keith Cambron, AT&T Labs president and CEO said. "We are seeing routes where 40G is not enough. We are going to need 100G technology."

In fact, Cisco is not the only networker pushing 100 gigabyte routers. On Monday, Verizon announced that it successfully tested 100G technology developed by Cisco rival Juniper Networks and other vendors -- a reflection of intense competition that exists in the networking sector.

Reacting to Cisco's announcement, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement, "Fast networks will speed our digital economy. ... Ultra high-speed networks will ensure that the jobs and businesses of the future are created in America."

The government is seeking to develop a more vibrant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, by coming up with new strategies, according to reports attributed to the Minister in charge of ICT.

ICT has been identified as a critical component in the development process all over the world, and it is through continuous innovation that sustainable economic development is achieved.

Rwanda has adopted ICT as a cornerstone in the national development strategy and is moving steadily towards an ICT-led economy.

A lot has been achieved in this regard.

It is important to actively involve the private sector for Rwanda's ICT vision to be more meaningful.

The private sector entrepreneurs are playing a key role in the health, education, banking and tourism sectors, placing them strategically, to supplement the government's efforts in programmes like e-Learning and e-Health.

Rwanda has emerged as a key destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), thanks to an enabling environment that has been put in place. A more engaged ICT sector can help to further boost FDI.

For this vision to be achieved, it calls for greater cooperation and participation of all stakeholders in the development of the country.

THE 8th Digital Africa Summit kicked off last week at the Munyonyo Commonwealth resort in Kampala.

Speaking at its launch, Neemish Ladwa, co-founder of Business Excellence Global Media, the event organisers, said the gathering will build a model for prosperity through Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The summit has attracted ministers of ICT and telecoms and decision makers from 40 countries.

The Digital Africa Summit aims to assist African operators by providing information that will aid them in developing a focused, practical strategy moving forward.
From Newvision

Despite a significant drop in prices for information and communication technology (ICT) services globally, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says broadband Internet remains outside the reach of many in poor countries, particularly in Africa.

The ITU, the main source of international comparison data and statistics on ICT, reports that broadband prices have dropped worldwide by 42 percent from 2008 to 2009.

In its "Measuring the Information Society 2010" report released this week, the ITU stated that most poor countries rank at the low end in terms of access to IT because of the close relationship between ICT uptake and national income.

It said that in 2009 the ICT Price Basket -- which combines the average cost of fixed telephone, mobile cellular and Internet broadband services for 161 countries -- shows that fixed broadband services had the largest price fall, at 42 percent, compared to 25 percent and 20 percent for mobile cellular and fixed telephone services, respectively.

While high-speed Internet access is now available in almost all countries, the ITU stated that fixed broadband penetration in the developing world remains as low as 3.5 percent, compared to 23 percent in developed countries.

It surmised that countries with high income levels pay relatively little for ICT services, while countries with low income levels pay relatively more. The ICT Price Basket corresponded on average to 13 percent of gross national income per capita in 2009, ranging from 1.5 percent in developed countries to 17.5 percent in developing countries.

A regional comparison of prices for fixed broadband services highlights a striking disparity, mainly between Africa and the other regions. On average, a high-speed Internet connection represents 500 percent of average monthly GNI per capita in Africa, making fixed broadband effectively inaccessible for most people in the region.

The report features the latest ICT Development Index (IDI), which ranks 159 countries according to their ICT level and compares 2007 and 2008 scores. One of the main objectives of the IDI is to measure the development potential of ICT, or the extent to which countries can use ICT to enhance growth and development.

The index includes such indicators as households with a computer, the number of fixed broadband Internet subscribers and literacy rates, which can be used to measure ICT access, use and skills as well as help track progress over time.

With Sweden on top of global ICT ranking for the second year in a row, followed by Luxembourg and the Republic of Korea, only three African countries made it in the first 100 in the 2008 IDI. They are Seychelles (66th), Mauritius (72) and South Africa (92).

Though Sierra Leone and Liberia were not included in the 2008 IDI, Ghana, which has been touted to be the ICT hub of West Africa, was ranked 116th behind Cape Verde (102nd). Nigeria and Gambia placed 122nd and 124th, respectively.

The only African country noted as making a substantial increase in Internet usage, and fixed or mobile broadband uptake, is Nigeria.