Broadband today is a tool being used to deliver data and foster innovation. It is also one of the main drivers to achieving Rwanda’s goal to become a knowledge-based economy.
Studies have demonstrated that investments in increasing broadband penetration generate positive returns with significant economic growth and development.
The studies show that for every 10% increase in Broadband penetration, there is a 1.38% increase in Gross Domestic Product per capita growth.
According to the last quarter’s figures from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), Rwanda’s internet penetration currently stands at 31.5%.
This is mainly shared between the three telecommunications companies- Airtel, Tigo and MTN Rwanda who offer mobile internet services to their telephone subscribers while the other firms mainly provide broadband to offices.
Investment in broadband in underserviced areas of the country by the various internet service providers (ISPs) in Rwanda is playing a significant role in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas thus creating social equity, and ensuring equal access and connectivity for all.
Probably the major milestone in broadband investment has been the joint venture between the Rwandan government and Korea Telecom’s Olleh Rwanda Networks that has seen the introduction of the Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) internet in the country.
Today, thanks to 4G LTE, Rwandans and businesses can experience faster internet speeds to facilitate them in their daily trades as well as access value added services like entertainment using internet television and enhanced security using 4G LTE CCTV Cameras.
Speaking to the press recently, the Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana said the goal is to drive internet accessibility to 95 %of the population within the next three years, if the cost of accessing broadband are lowered along with prices of handsets and computers then many people will be able to access the internet.
It is believed that access to broadband will greatly enhance the government’s capability to communicate within government institutions, and with its citizens.
In addition, it will also enable Rwandans to access services online for informational and transactional purposes which will drive down the cost of service delivery.
For the education system, internet will enable delivery of digital content for instruction in schools and colleges, irrespective of their location.
This will all lead to a knowledge-based economy as mentioned.