Facebook in partnership to build Uganda fibre network

Optical fibre
Neal Romanek
March 10th 2017 at 11:30AM : By Neal Romanek

The network cover 770km and support services for up to three million people.

Facebook is partnering with Airtel and BCS (Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group) to build a fibre network in northwest Uganda. The fibre network will be a build of 770km and support 3G and 4G services for up to three million people.

"Upon completion, the new capacity created will be used to provide backhaul to mobile operators' base stations and other points of presence, reducing their costs and increasing capacity," explained Ibrahima Ba, Facebook's head of MENA, infra product partnerships, explained in a post. "This will help improve support upgrades to 3G and 4G in areas wehre operators are bandwidth constrained."

Facebook hopes to use the Ugandan project as a trial for engaging with other operators in Africa, with the ultimate goal of boosting the network coverage of local operators. 

“As part of our mission to connect the world," said Ba, "Facebook is always exploring new ways to collaborate with operators and other partners. One of the ways we’re doing this is by applying learnings from scaling our global infrastructure to our work in connectivity. We believe one of the most effective ways to scale efforts in infrastructure, such as fiber, is to first engage with operators to understand their priorities. Many operators have told us they need more capacity when it comes to shared backhaul infrastructure."

BCS is a wholesale bandwidth provider of backhaul and data and cloud services to East Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Airtel Uganda is part of Airtel Africa, a provider of mobile communications and information technology and subsidiary of Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel.