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Central African Republic's €33.3m fibre network project underway

Central African Republic's €33.3m fibre network project underway

The Central African Republic's €33.3m national fibre optic network project is officially underway.

The project is being funded by the European Union (EU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which are also co-financing the Trans-Saharan Fibre-Optic Backbone to interconnect Algeria, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

CAR's minister of posts and telecoms Justin Gourna Zacko said over the past two years the quality of telecoms and ICT services in the country had improved because of the introduction of 3G services.

"But the cost of communication remains relatively high compared to the purchasing power of the population. Fixed telephony has not changed. On the contrary, it has declined, while the national coverage of mobile telephony stagnates at 40%. Broadband infrastructure is almost non-existent," he said.

Zacko said that once completed, the fibre project would improve the quantity and quality of telecoms services while lowering cost for end users.

The project, executed via a public-private partnership, will connect Bangui with Berbérati via Baoro and Carnot.

Two ramps will also connect the CAR to Cameroon from Berbérati -Gamboula. Congo Brazzaville will be connected from Berbérati-Bayanga and Bomassa.

A total of 1,100 km of fibre optic infrastructure will be laid and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

A statement from the AfDB reads: "Indeed, the connections with neighbouring countries (in particular Cameroon) will provide them with an alternative destination for international traffic transiting by undersea cables accessible in Cameroon. Thus, international connectivity costs should be reduced due to these new international outlets."

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