DRC spends $35m on project for new fibre and upgrades

DRC spends $35m on project for new fibre and upgrades

26 July 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to spend US$35 million to develop its fibre network.

According to reports, the contract will cover 640km of fibre connecting the Uganda border town of Kasindi to Bukavu and a connection covering Beni, Bukavu, Goma, Butembo, Kasindi and Rutshuru.

The state-controlled Société congolaise des postes et télécommunications (SCPT, Congolese Post and Telecommunications Company) has outsourced the work to LMS Holding, whose CEO is named as Théo Mingashanga, based according to LinkedIn in the Washington DC area.

Three weeks ago Capacity reported that Liquid Intelligent Technologies, formerly Liquid Telecom, was partnering with Facebook in a separate project to build an extensive long-haul and metro fibre network in the DRC.

Mingashanga posted a picture of a signing ceremony with SCPT’s managing director Didier Musete on his LinkedIn account.

He said there that the project will benefit the people of the eastern DRC, “but on top of it, the financing we’re bringing will also help to upgrade and stabilise connectivity to the country’s fibre optic backbone from its landing station on the Atlantic Ocean in Moanda up through Kinshasa, laying a modernised telecom infrastructure foundation for internet connectivity to all mobile network operators and users around the country”.

The infrastructure will enable them to provide “cutting edge technology services such as streaming media, VoD, banking connectivity, online education, and healthcare systems connectivity”, he added.

The project has committed to using a solar energy micro-grid at each point of presence along the 640km of fibre to be deployed during phase one, “and has incorporated a reforestation component”, he wrote.

“It is a challenging programme but LMS Holding is confident with the involvement of the new government in DRC and the support given by President Félix A Tshisekedi Tshilombo, that we will be successful.”

Reports say that the upgrade of the WACS link from Moanda to Kinshasa will guarantee a capacity of 100Gbps.

Reports say LMS Holding has a build, operate, transfer contract for a period of ten years. The deal includes a contract to computerise SCPT and to support its marketing of the fibre capacity. LMS Holding will also “rehabilitate some post offices” that the company runs.