Google has installed a fiber-optic backbone that will see a dramatic improvement of internet connectivity in Kampala. Dubbed Project Link, the new network was installed in recent months with 10 mobile carriers and Internet service providers connecting to the backbone.
Kampala residents can now experience better data rates with Project Link promising up to 2Gbps. Mobile internet users in the city will enjoy lower prices with Uganda’s economy set to be positively impacted as a result of this. The backbone patches Kampala’s cell towers to larger fiber networks including the undersea cables.
Globally, Africa lags behind in internet access. Only 16% of the continent’s population can access the internet. Major changes have to be made in order to improve Africa’s internet use, the U.N. Broadband Commission suggest a reduction of internet access to under $5 per month.
Wulff says Google has no immediate plans to wire up other cities. For now, Google is focused on proving the business model in Kampala and encouraging other infrastructure providers to follow suit.
Google and Microsoft have made significant efforts in the region to improve internet access in the region through the Mawingu Project in Kenya, Google’s trials in South Africa and Microsoft’s pilot project in Tanzania.