The landlocked southern African nation of Zambia has become the latest African country to connect to the high speed undersea cables which began to arrive on the African coast about a year ago.
Zambia, which has no access to the sea, has had to wait patiently whilst a cable was laid connecting the country through South Africa.
The 8000km cable, whose final destination is Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is being built with Chinese government supported funding by Huawei, a Chinese information and communications technology solutions provider.
Huawei won the contract from a consortium of regional and international operators, led by Liquid Telecom, itself a subsidiary of pan-African telecoms group Econet Wireless.
The fibre optic cable, which began in Durban, South Africa, runs all the way along the highway to Johannesburg, then to Beitbridge on the Zimbabwe-South African border.
It then passes through Zimbabwe to Botswana, Malawi and Zambia.
The Zambian part of the network has already reached the Copperbelt and is expected to reach Lubumbashi in Southern DRC by December 2011. Crossing of the world’s second largest natural forest to reach Kinshasa, will be done using existing high voltage transmission towers.
For Zambia, it means the country will finally join its neighbours in enjoying cheap high speed Internet access, creating significant opportunities for its people.
A source within Liquid Telecoms group confirmed that the fibre had already reached the Copperbelt.
“We have already completed the civil works between Chirundu and Lusaka, and also between Lusaka and the Copperbelt.
We are now blowing fibre, and we shall light it up before the end of October. Zambia will then have access to the sea just like Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa,” said the source.