Uganda: Phase 2 Fibre Optic roll-out finalized

Uganda, on Friday 7 October launched the second phase of it’s Internet backbone measuring 1,380 kilometers (855 miles), bringing the total length of fiber optics laid in the country so far to 1,548 km.

Uganda rolls out phase 2 Internet backbone infrastructure (image source: file photo)

According to Uganda’s online news service, NewVision, the second phase of the project comes more than four years after the first phase of the US$106 million National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and the Electronic Government Infrastructure (EGI) initiative.

The Chinese government sourced and recommended Huawei Technologies to carry out the project. The Uganda NBI is part of an East Africa-wide terrestrial fiber-optic cable, which will, when complete, cover 15,600 km linking the five countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

In the final phase, which begins work in January, 307 km of fiber will be laid from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to the Rwanda border to complete a link from the Kenyan port town of Mombasa.

The second phase has linked Uganda to neighbors Kenya in the east and South Sudan to the north.

Phase one, which was dogged by technical as well as financial problems, linked all government departments and agencies.

James Saka, the executive director of the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), the IT regulator, said the project will help lower the cost of Internet bandwidth for the government and target user groups such as schools, universities, hospitals and research institutions.

Saka said the 24-core, 2.5GB cable, with potential for upgrade to 10GB, will provide high-speed Internet bandwidth to support IT-enabled services such as
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). It will also enhance efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery to the citizens of Uganda through electronic transactions such as e-taxation, e- health and e-learning.

Saka said the NBI would improve collaboration within government through services such as unified messaging, and support the digital migration process by providing
auxiliary infrastructure for the transmission and delivery of digital television signals.

The entire project is funded by a concessional loan from the export/import bank (EXIM) of China. Uganda has to pay back the loan over a period of 20 years.

Staff Writer