Reuters reports South Sudan’s plans to lay next-generation optical fiber cable networks in an attempt to reduce the digital divide and deliver high-speed broadband services to its citizens in the coming two years. South Sudan’s Ministry for Telecommunications and Postal services revealed the country’s plans to deploy fiber optic cables.
South Sudan is the newest country in the African continent that gained freedom from Sudan four years before. Most of the country’s infrastructures are in building stage after an internal conflict that thwarted its growth. The landlocked country was in internal conflict with Sudan for many years before that had destroyed the basic infrastructures as well. Basic telecom infrastructures are also needed to be implemented in the country.
South Sudan has a population of more than 11.5 million. Telecom operators such as Vivacell, MTN South Sudan and Zain are offering their services in the country. The number of mobile subscribers amounts to more than 2 million. However, the country’s fixed-line telephone services are just at its primary stage having around 2000 connections. South Sudan needs to invest in terrestrial cable infrastructure to improve its communication facilities. Mobile operators also not in a position to offer high-speed quality services as the bandwidth is limited.
South Sudan’s minister for telecommunications and postal services Rebecca Joshua Okwaci said that the government will lay 1,600 kilometers of fiber optic cables across the country and link it with undersea cables via Uganda and Tanzania. The project cost is not revealed by the minister. Minister hopes the project to be finished within two years.
The ministry officials said that it planned to lay a fiber-optic cable in 2013, but the war broke out. The conflict started in 2013 would not deter the ministry from its aim of linking South Sudan to the information superhighway officials claimed. Thousands have been killed and more than a million people have fled their homes after the fighting that broke out following a dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. South Sudan is part of a single area network that brings together telecom operators in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda and has greatly reduced cross-border call charges.