With a number of submarine cables anchored around the coasts of Africa, various ICT officials from a variety of nations have called for guidelines to harmonise the access to these cables, and how the bandwidth should be distributed.
“In Africa, we are connected to a number of submarine cables, it would be very vital for ITU member countries to have harmonised policies towards access to sub-marine cables in terms of price fixing, regulatory policies and internet bandwidth redundancy”, said Andrew Rugege, the Director of ITU regional office for Africa at a meeting in Rwanda.
The call for harmonising was made during a meeting in Kigali, organised by ITU, African Union Commission and the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), and attracts delegates from over 35 African countries.
Dr. Raphael Koffi, Head of ICT division at ECOWAS said that bandwidth was the key to the continent. “Harmonised guidelines will help African nations, most especially the regulators and operators, to access affordable and quality international internet connections”.
Patrick Nyirishema, the head of ICT at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was in favour of a common set of guidelines, and added it can only benefit Africa. “Having the same policies promises greater international internet bandwidth, faster internet access, more reliable connectivity and a reduction in prices for communication services,” he said.
According to The New Times, Rugege “urged internet service providers and telecoms to make it an obligation of backing up each other in case one ISP is affected in an event of the submarine cable outage.”
Rwanda is connected to TEAMS, SEACOM and EASSy cables which land on the ports of Mombasa, and Dar es Salaam respectively.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor