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Liquid Telecom links East and West Africa with fibre

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Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom Group CEO.
Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom Group CEO.

Liquid Telecom has launched what it claims to be the fastest direct land-based fibre link connecting East to West Africa.

This coast-to-coast digital corridor follows the completion of Liquid Telecom’s new high-capacity fibre link running 2 600 km across the DRC.

Speaking at AfricaCom 2019 in Cape Town, the company’s CEO Nic Rudnick said until recently, no direct, land-based fibre network existed between East and West Africa.

As a result, network traffic between Kinshasa in the DRC and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, for example, was routed via London.

Rudnick said DRC is a priority market.

“We see significant numbers of unconnected people… we’re building fibre through cities where satellite remains the only way to get connectivity. By linking the DRC to Liquid Telecom’s rapidly expanding pan-African fibre network and the rest of the world, this transformative infrastructure is creating a foundation for digital growth. Fast, reliable broadband connectivity will advance society, fuel innovation and help champion pan-Africa trade.”

The new extension connects the DRC to neighbouring Tanzania and Zambia with onward connectivity to Liquid Telecom’s ‘One Africa’ broadband network. It is central to the company’s vision to create a single fibre network spanning the entire African continent – North to South and East to West.

Dobek Pater, director at Africa Analysis, said, “This is a significant milestone in continued expansion of modern telecommunications infrastructure across the African continent, supporting governments’ policies aimed at closing the digital divide within their countries and ultimately ensuring ubiquitous connectivity.”

Rudnick also said Liquid Telecom has laid fibre in South Sudan’s capital Juba, the first time this connectivity infrastructure is available in the country.

The first phase of the project (due for completion end 2019) includes a 200km fibre backbone, connecting the border of Uganda through Nimule to Juba.

Datacentre collaboration

The company also underlined its ongoing partnership with Microsoft to launch new enterprise cloud services.

“We have expanded collaboration with Microsoft,” said Rudnick. “We have a strong relationship as a tier-one and -two cloud service provider for Microsoft and the launch partner in Africa for new Azure Peering Service.”

Countries along Liquid’s fibre route can peer on Azure and achieve low latency access to cloud services, he added.

“It is now available and can be paid for at lower costs … it represents a change in the digital ecosystem equivalent to arrival of the mobile phone in Africa,” said Rudnick.

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