The U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Kenya-based Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group Limited (BCS) for a feasibility study to expand affordable broadband access to more than 200,000 people across East and Central Africa. The study will facilitate the expansion of BCS’s fiber backbone and access network, enabling local internet service providers to make new investments in affordable fixed wireless access to help bridge the digital divide across the region.
USTDA has made numerous commitments across Africa with private sector partners like BCS to catalyze economic growth for unserved and underserved communities. Projects like this also create opportunities for U.S. companies to engage in Africa’s dynamic and rapidly growing digital infrastructure market.Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director
USTDA’s study will evaluate the technical and economic viability of expanding BCS’s fiber backbone and access network in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The study will include a physical survey of the intended fiber routes to inform deployment methods, indicate physical obstacles, and identify other risks. It will also include a market analysis, infrastructure value chain mapping, demand analysis, and financing and project implementation plan, among other tasks. The study aims to facilitate BCS’s selection of the most technically and commercially optimal strategies for deploying and operating its new fiber links.
Yonas Maru, Founder and Managing Director of BCS, said: “Access to broadband internet has become increasingly crucial in today’s world, and yet there are still millions of people in East and Central Africa who lack reliable, high-speed connectivity. BCS, as a carrier neutral wholesale provider licensed in eight markets in East, Central and Southern Africa, is committed to playing a part in bridging the connectivity gap through partnership with Strategic partners like USTDA. The fiber infrastructure that will be built as a result of this feasibility study will serve Mobile Network Operators, Content Providers and ISPs in order to provide reliable connectivity to the underserved people and businesses in Eastern and Central regions. BCS appreciates the value created by this partnership, a great start of a journey towards building a more connected and inclusive region.”
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman joined USTDA in the grant signing and said: “U.S. Embassy Nairobi is pleased to work with USTDA in bridging the digital divide with this feasibility study as a launching point for the expansion of affordable broadband access across the region, including Kenya. As U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, my focus is on partnering with Kenya to increase bilateral trade and investment, promote regional peace and security, and supporting Kenya’s development goals.”
USTDA’s study advances the U.S. government’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, to deliver game-changing projects to close the infrastructure gap in developing countries, as well as the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, to expand digital access on the continent, and the Prosper Africa initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.