Burundi has officially launched its $25 million fibre-optic cable network project to widen access to broadband Internet to its population. The country still relies on some of the slowest internet speeds on the continent . The country ranks almost 136th out of 137 countries in internet connection speeds according to CIA World Factbook.
The landlocked country of 8 million might change this as President Pierre Nkurunziza told a launch ceremony that the project is part of a plan to ensure that all Burundians have access to the Internet by 2025.
The country currently has a national fibre link spanning some 1,000km has already been laid, covering nine out of the country’s 17 provinces. Another 250 is to be laid soon. The cable will be linked to global undersea cables Mombasa Dar es Salaam ports.
The firms involved are Ucom, Econet Wireless, Africell, Cbinet and the government-owned Onatel. They expect to achieve average download speeds of 2 Gigabyte per second within five years up from 135 Mbps three years ago.
By May 2013 and according to the country’s regulator, Burundi had only about 500,000 internet users including those using it on their mobile phones. Mobile phone usage is just above 2.3 million.