Read time: 3 minutes

Comesa seeks to revive dormant US$30m Comtel project

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , 06 Jun 2017

Comesa seeks to revive dormant US$30m Comtel project

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has blamed a lack of cooperation between national telecommunications operators for the failure to implement its US$30 million+ Comtel regional connectivity project.

The multinational broadband project was organised to interconnect the networks of respective member states and thereby enhance affordability of communication in the broader region.

It was supposed to be operational almost 10 years ago, based on agreement between operators to coordinate pricing and network infrastructure through the project.

However, progress was halted after the equity partner, the Enderberg-Ericsson consortium, withdrew from the project in 2005. The project has been unable to secure a new equity partner.

Comesa had to then redesign the project to make it more financially viable and accommodate the fact that most member countries have since developed their own broadband infrastructures, including optic fibre networks.

Baptiste Matabazi, Comesa director of infrastructure said that despite the delays, the project is still viable and that the regional body is now reviewing its business model.

Matabazi said the project will utilise the existing and new high speed fibre backbone, mobile and fixed backhauls networks to provide a variety of Next Generation Network (NGN) services.

He added that the design of Comtel project infrastructure is based on a converged network platform architecture where multiple products and services are delivered using a common platform seamlessly, faster and more cost-effectively on any device. "The proposed Comtel business model, once operational, is expected to lower tariffs in the region, including harmonisation of interconnection charges which make cross-border communication expensive in the region."

Matabazi did not say when the project would start, only that it required proper planning and execution across multiple borders.

Daily newsletter