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Kigali-Kampala fibre cable coming with environmental touch

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Kigali: The much awaited cable which will link Rwanda to the Seacom fibre on the Kenyan coast will come with a unique environmental component - with new trees along its path, according to the company behind the project.

"For every metre of ground that we lay our fibre optic cables, we shall plant two indigenous trees”, said Fred Sewe, the Managing Director Green Future.

Green Future Limited was launched last week in Kampala. It is a Kenyan company that builds and provides support to optic fibre cable infrastructure development companies by offering surveillance to their networks. Green Future builds and maintains optic fibre networks but their package comes with an environmental agenda and the company plans to plant some five million trees along the route of the cable between Kampala and Kigali.

"We call ourselves environmentalists first and then technology savvy scientists second," said Mr. Sewe, as quoted by The East African Business Week.

“Our objective is to plant and nurture to maturity at least five to six million indigenous trees between Kampala and Kigali by the end of 2009.”

Meanwhile, at the same function, it was also announced that technology firm Altech Stream East Africa will invest US$9 million to expand its terrestrial fibre-optic cable from the Kampala to Kigali. Today, there is an existing fibre optic link between Kampala and Mbarara in south-western Uganda that belongs to MTN Uganda.

However, Altech Stream East Africa has just completed work on a high-powered microwave link that is on test.  It is this link that will in the meantime connect Rwanda to the Seacom submarine fibre optic cable that went live last month.

"Rwanda missed out on the launch of Seacom because then we did not have a link to the cable, but when the tests are completed, they will come online and the microwave link will be complemented by the terrestrial cable when work is completed in four months," said Mr. Hans Heardtle, the Chief Executive Infocom.

Altech Stream East Africa is made up of three companies including Kenya Data Networks (KDN), one of the leading internet service providers (ISPs) in the Kenya market, Infocom Uganda with a 30% market share in Uganda and Altech Stream Rwanda.

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