Congo connects to Gabon with optic fibre cable

The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered from internet shutdowns in recent months, in a government attempt to quell protests against the country’s president Joseph Kabila. Over 40 people were killed in the protests and the internet shut down has hit telecoms operators and cost the economy $20 million a day in lost revenue.

China’s Huawei won the contract to construct a fibre optic network in Congo, which was signed in December, beating bids from Bouygues Energies and Service Congo, China International Communication Services, EMEC, Infracom-Maris and Cofely IneoGole-Suez. A single mode fibre will run 550 KM from Matoumbi to Mbinda at a cost of $26 million. The new cable should improve internet connections in Congo and reduce costs for users who have suffered from a slow and unreliable internet with very few Internet service providers (ISPs).

The Central African Backbone (CAB) is a World Bank initiative aiming to connect states in Central Africa with a fibre optic backbone Last year the World Bank pledged $92 million to repair and rebuild Congo’s crumbling telecoms infrastructure. In February of this year, Congo and Gabon signed a Memo of Understanding (MoU) to establish an interconnection between their optic fibre networks, CAB3 (Congo’s) and CAB4 (Gabon’s).

Earlier this year Google were reported to be considering opening offices in Congo, despite the government’s internet shutdowns. Congo ranks as one of the worst places in the world in the Ease of doing business. Congo is ranked at 184 out of 189 countries listed. China is the world’s largest foreign investor in communications projects in Africa.

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