Togolese govt looks to spearhead fibre optic deployment with €300m investment
The Togolese government wants to borrow €300-million to drive deployment of fibre optic infrastructure and expand broadband coverage. This comes a week after the country connected to Google’s Equiano submarine cable, which is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year.
Telecommunications infrastructure company CSquared Woezon, already in position to manage the Equiano landing station in Togo, has been selected by the country’s government to deploy fibre optic infrastructure on the high voltage power lines in the country and those linking Togo to neighbouring countries including Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Togo’s Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation Cina Lawson said the country has 1.2 million households and that once the project is fully deployed, at least 500 000 households and 50 000 enterprises will be connected to fibre optic networks.
The Minister added that Google’s cable, projected to offer 20 times more bandwidth than any other cable in West Africa, will address the need for enhanced connectivity in the country.
Lawson said the government wants to control development of its last mile infrastructure and wanted to finance the project in order to keep internet prices low.
She said if the project is led entirely by the private sector, it would require ROI and that may lead to higher prices.
Lawson was quoted by business journal Quartz Africa as saying,” Our cost-effective strategy is to deploy fibre infrastructure on power lines. One of the costs of deploying fibre is digging the ground and burying the cables deep. Instead of doing that, we will deploy the cables on poles that host electricity lines. Imagine when you are telling a resident that you are giving them high-speed internet with their electricity at affordable prices.”
A recent study commissioned by Google as part of the Equiano project titled: Africa Practice and Genesis estimated that with the new cable, retail internet access prices could drop by 14%.
According to the Digital 2021 report, Togo had 1.99 million internet users as of January, 2021 while internet penetration stood at 23.8% during the same period.