27 August 2013

Liquid Telecom continues with quest to be Africa's largest network

By Michuki MwangiDistinguished Technologist, Internet Growth
Aniket Pingley
Aniket PingleyGuest Author

It has been a busy year for Liquid Telecom as it continues to invest heavily in its network, cementing the company's position as one of the largest single international fibre network in Africa.

In 2013, Liquid acquired a number of companies which added to its footprint and improved its service offerings. These are; Kenya Data Networks (a data carrier and infrastructure provider in Kenya) Africa Data Networks (an operator in the DRC Stream Rwanda (a service provider in Rwanda) and InfoCom, (an ISP in Uganda)

It also acquired the assets of Rwandatel, Rwanda’s fixed line network operator and is rehabilitating Rwandatel’s core network and building out the access network in order to serve Rwanda’s people and businesses with the most reliable, high speed, and affordable telecommunications.

Liquid also extended its fibre network into Tanzania and is the first operator to connect the East African capitals of Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala and Kigali on a single fibre network.  The new 120km fibre link from Nairobi to Namanga on the border of Kenya and Tanzania is one of the improvements that will increase capacity and reduce latency for customers including ISPs, carriers, homes, government organizations and businesses of all sizes. 

In total, Liquid’s Pan-African fibre network now spans over 15,000KM across Botswana, DRC, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The company currently employs 651 staff based in 11 countries.

Liquid’s determination to keep its network open access and hence available to all license holders has altered the wholesale market in Africa. Its network was the first to cross country borders and cover some of the most challenging parts of the world where no fixed/wireless/satellite network has existed before. 

Liquid continues to set the benchmark in terms of services offered and the quality of its network. It is constantly reviewing its reach and looking to improve connectivity in both existing and future networks. 

Liquid says: “We’re investing for tomorrow, not a fast buck and are constantly looking to create opportunities in new markets, to increase access to the Internet and other digital services to even the most remote areas. We take a future-focused approach to new product development; therefore, our customers can rest assured that their services are enduringly adaptable.”

During this year’s AfPIF, Ben Roberts, Liquid’s CTO, will announce details of a new service with a working title of Liquid Telecom IX Connect. This will enable ISPs and carriers to connect to a local Liquid Telecom port which will then connect them directly to international Internet exchanges (JINX, LINX, AMSIX, DECIX etc).  Liquid will offer this as a managed service ideal for smaller ISPs and carriers to give them more control over who they connect to and how they manage their own traffic and peering thus making it much easier to connect directly into multiple exchange points.

East Africa Data Centre, a carrier neutral data centre operated by the Liquid Telecom Group, will also be a subject of interest to participants of this year’s AfPIF.  Billed as the largest and most sophisticated carrier and corporate data centre in East Africa, it is carrier-neutral with connectivity in and out of the building offered by a number of local and international carriers including Liquid Telecom.


Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.