Ethiopia to Increase Internet Gateway Capacity

Innovation-Technology-Ministry-EthiopiaJanuary 23, 2019 ( - In a bid to increase the country’s internet gateway capacity, the ministry of innovative and Technology announced it was on course to replace the old WoredaNet with a new form of National Back Bone ICT set-up.

The ministry said this during a conference held on Tuesday to deliberate on issues touching on the government’s ingenuity to improve the national core network and corresponding infrastructure with the industry stakeholders.

This comes at a time when the continent is still struggling to establish a robust internet infrastructure. In Ethiopia, there are significant hurdles to the expansion of internet connectivity. The country losses millions of dollars in potential revenue and GDP due to internet shutdowns, the telecommunication market isn’t transparent and low internet coverage.

It’s against this backdrop that the ministry intends to increase internet coverage by adopting an advanced technology. This new system will help expand the network coverage hence fostering the rapid growth of small and medium businesses, create employment opportunities and speed up the development of strong ties with the global community.

When officially opening the forum, Getahun Mekuri the Minister of Innovation and Technology said Ethiopia’s internet speeds, capacity, and connectivity is at the moment low compared to its demand.

With an internet penetration rate of 15.4%, Ethiopia larks behind compared to other African countries. Efforts to expand this capacity is also hampered by the rural makeup of the country.

And even though Ethiopia intends to keep tabs with the developing countries, its internet connectivity path has always been slow until now. At this pace, the country won’t realize any tangible economic benefits any time soon.

Previous attempts:

Ethiopia has previously made attempts to increase its internet gateway capacity by laying 4,000 kilometers of fiber optic along its major highways, by making advances to the East African Submarine Cable System and connecting Addis Ababa to the existing networks in Djibouti and Sudan. However, these ventures have come with mixed successes.

The new system will replace the outdated WoredaNet that is used by the state to connect the nine regions, 950 Woredas, two city administrations, and other sites by enhancing the gateway capacity, said the minister. The goal is to provide reliable and cost-effective internet services to the people of Ethiopia.

At the moment, Ethiopia’s internet gateway capacity is 50 GB per second, but the ministry plans to increase this capacity to 10,000 GB per second in the next two years. At the same time, this new system will enhance the National Data Center’s capacity.

Why increasing internet gateway capacity is important to Ethiopia:

As one of Africa’s fastest developing economies, it’s surprising that Ethiopia is still in a crisis with regards to internet connectivity and expansion.

Ethiopia has realized that increasing its internet connectivity is important because it is a source of unbelievable economic growth and progress.

High internet connectivity is associated with improved living standards and lowering poverty. For Abiy’s administration, it’s an instrument that can be used to venture into new markets and to diversify the country’s market and supply opportunities.

Experts argue the increased broadband capacity can increase a household’s income by $800 annually. In this regard, one of the tasks facing the present regime is to create a robust internet infrastructure that can connect a large number of the population and assist them improve their economic status.

The declining cost of internet hardware like routers, switches and the significant long haul fiber cable with good coverage offers the ministry an opportunity to realize this ambitious project. The National Data Center will help in activating different services for the state while providing internet security.

Bottom line:

Increasing Ethiopia’s internet gateway capacity comes with an economic advantage. But Ethiopia should also learn from other countries as it seeks to grow the number of internet users by fostering internet penetration. As a robust infrastructure, the National Back Bone can help boost economic Ethiopia’s economy that is already growing.



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