Landlocked Zambia has been connected to the Seacom and Sat3 undersea cables, with a dedicated terrestrial cable that has been built from Durban in South Africa and running through Zimbabwe along the major highways.
The cable was laid by Chinese contractor Huawei Technologies on behalf of Liquid Telecom Fibre Network, a subsidiary of global telecoms operator Econet Wireless.
Liquid Telecom CEO Mr Nic Rudnick said the company has already begun to provide service to Zambian customers and that demand was extremely high. “We have quite a major backlog of customers who want service, including key government institutions. This is really exciting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Rudnick has acknowledged the extraordinary level of support from governments and authorities in the countries through which the fibre network has been built.
“We have had remarkable support in all these countries, with some of them even designating it a ‘national project’, even though it is built by a private consortium.”
He said the project had created thousands of jobs during construction, and would have the same impact as when the railway first arrived in Southern Africa.
Mr Rudnick said several other countries, such as Malawi and Mozambique, have asked the company to also extend links into their countries.
Liquid Telecom has meanwhile reached the border between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and plans to start construction in Katanga Province within a matter of weeks. The company has already developed plans to cross the world’s second largest natural forest to connect Lubumbashi to the capital Kinshasa by taking the cable on high voltage transmission lines.