East Africans can look forward to more reliable Internet with fewer down periods thanks to a new fibre optic "internet ring" installed across Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
Liquid Telecom, a South Africa-based firm, recently completed laying the 17,000-kilometre fibre optic cable which will automatically re-route Internet traffic if another cable breaks down.
"Customers will immediately start to feel the benefits from our $20 million investment in the region," said Nic Rudnick, CEO of Liquid Telecom, in a statement.
"The completion of the East Africa Fibre ring is a step towards building Africa's digital future and giving better value for everyone using our network."
The new cable is the largest single fibre network and the first of its kind in Africa. Previously, Internet connections had to be routed through Europe in order to be delivered to African customers, leading to frequent outages and slow connections.
"In case of a fibre cut, internet traffic is automatically re-routed around the ring, giving consistently high speeds and continuous uptime for businesses and their customers," Rudnick said.
Sam Nkusi, who runs a local franchise of Liquid Telecom in Rwanda, said the Liquid Telecom fibre optic network will help Rwanda realise its dream of offering universal internet access and 4G mobile services.
"Because we are connected both ways, from Mombasa (in Kenya) through Uganda, there is higher network availability," Nkusi said.
He said ideally a network has 100 per cent up-time and now, with the new Liquid Telecom network running through Rwanda, there will be "99.99" per cent up-time.
Liquid Telecom last year acquired the former state owned telecommunication company Rwandatel following a series of problems between Libyan company LAP Green, which managed it, and the regulators, which had resulted into the revocation of its mobile phone operational license.
Currently, the company only distributes Internet and fixed telecommunication lines.
Liquid Telecom is a privately owned provider of data, voice and Internet services in Africa. It has franchises in Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe.