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Rwanda targets 92 percent high speed internet coverage in 2017

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is targeting 92 percent coverage of high-speed Fourth Generation (4G) broadband network this year, according to the ministry of youth and ICT on Sunday.

Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda minister of youth and ICT told reporters that the country wants to ensure that 4G broadband network is extended to rural areas unlike today where it’s concentrated in the Capital Kigali and a few areas outside the city.

"The wireless broadband technology will build on more than 3,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable that is rolled out across the country. We want all Rwandans to be able to access faster and reliable internet services for easy and quick business transactions, and other services that require internet," he noted.

The small central African country is among a few countries in Africa that have rolled out a high-speed internet network that delivers download speed of up to 100 Megabytes per second.

The internet speed is almost three times faster than those previously available in the country like 3G and 2G, according to broadband technology experts.

The optic cable that was laid in 2010 seeks to boost access to various broadband services, including applications such as e-governance, e-banking, e-learning and e-health, to become a key enabler of the set target to ensure Rwanda achieves middle-income status by 2020.

Since its inception in Rwanda in September 2013 and its commercial launch in November 2014, Korea Telecom (KT) entered into an agreement with Rwanda to deploy 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband network countrywide.

KT Rwanda Networks (KTRN) has since expanded 4G LTE broadband across the country, reaching 30 percent coverage.

According to Desire Ngabonziza, chief strategy officer at KTRN, in 2016, different new products were developed as well as opening offices in Northern, Western and Southern provinces to boost the network roll out.

"We are doing our best to expand these services in the countryside so that no client will need to come for our services in Kigali. 4G network coverage will be extended across the country this year, and is expected to reach coverage of 92 percent," he added.

KTRN says that it is keen to work with partners to provide services to all users under coverage and setting up regional offices to support interested retailers.

The 4G roll out in Rwanda is part of the country’s trend of leapfrogging traditional fixed broadband by adopting current-generation mobile technology that will be accessed by every Rwandan citizen.



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