WIOCC, together with Somalia’s Dalkom, have announced the launch of a project to provide connectivity to and from Somalia via the EASSy cable from first quarter of 2014. The project will offer services directly from Mogadishu to the rest of the world with capacity being available from 2Mbps to 10Gbps.
Chris Wood, WIOCC CEO, said: “Until now, Somalia has been served exclusively by satellite – with high costs and limited bandwidth severely restricting the rollout and uptake of internet access and advanced services. WIOCC and Dalkom will be the first into commercial operation with international fibre-optic connectivity direct into Mogadishu. Improved access to the internet will also have a profound effect on the day-to-day lives of the people of Somalia”
The new services from the project are expected to help reduce the cost of international bandwidth and drive significant improvements in performance, thereby resulting in huge benefits for telcos and internet service providers, local and international businesses, embassies and other foreign government facilities, and the academic and research community in Somalia.
Dalkom Somalia is also building a 1,000-square metre state-of-the-art data centre to host equipment for all Mogadishu telcos and ISPs to facilitate direct connection into the international fibre network.
Mohamed Ahmed Jama, CEO of Dalkom Somalia, said: “As has been seen in other African countries over recent years, access to affordable, high-speed, international connectivity has a significant impact on economic, political and social development. To complement the new connectivity to EASSy, Dalkom Somalia is building a fibre-optic metropolitan area network that will extend connectivity to customers within Mogadishu.”
Mr Jama added that the entire initiative will greatly benefit the growing number of international organisations and local business entrepreneurs there, as well as the people of Somalia.
“I expect it to drive lower cost internet and broadband, to boost mobile penetration from its current 60 per cent and to dramatically increase the development and use of internet-based services and applications – with all the associated benefits to my country and the international companies operating there. We operate an open access policy and encourage all local operators and ISPs to take advantage of the new infrastructure we are bringing to our country,” he said.
Somalia has become one of the most competitive telecoms markets in Africa, with some of the lowest international call rates on the continent. However, access to the internet is very limited – in 2000, Somalia was one of the last countries in Africa to get connected. With speed and quality severely constrained and costs high, internet penetration rates are low, with only an estimated 1.3 per cent of the 10-million population having any access.
Dalkom delivers voice, data and international long distances gateway in Somalia and Kenya while its international gateway supports the termination of traffics into major network operators in both countries.