A French company, Alcatel-Lucent, has won a $82m tender to lay the East Africa Marine System (TEAM) cable to link the Kenyan coast with the United Arab Emirates.
Information and communications technology permanent secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo, said the company won the contract because of the duration for completion of the project and the low cost quoted.
The East African coast has no direct links to the international fiber optic network, making connectivity costly and unreliable.
Ndemo said the project would lead to reduced communication costs.
Eastern DR Congo, southern Sudan, Ethiopia and the East African Community will benefit from the project.
Alcatel-Lucent will take a 15% stake in TEAMS while the regional countries would take 85% of which Kenya is taking a 40% stake.
Ndemo said the project has adequate funds to see it through.
Communication costs in Africa are some of the highest in the world. Africa pays about $400m annually for routing of data traffic.
Africa’s international voice and data traffic increased by 91% to 5.09GB per second in 2002 and is set to increase to 21.9GB per second next year.
Source: New Vision