Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Connectivity

Liquid, Project Taara beam broadband across Congo River

Article Image
Kinshasa residents should be able to access more affordable high-speed connectivity after Liquid Intelligent Technologies has found a way to build a high-capacity communications bridge across the Congo River.

Liquid said it is using Wireless Optical Communication technology (WOC) from Project Taara at X, Alphabet's moonshot factory, which will make a huge difference to the connectivity available to residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital.

In a blog post, the director of engineering for Taara, Baris Erkmen, has confirmed that working with Liquid, Taara recently helped bridge "a particularly stubborn connectivity gap" between Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo and Kinshasa in the DRC.

"Separated by the Congo River, the world's deepest and second fastest river, Brazzaville and Kinshasa are only 4.8 kilometers apart – yet connectivity is five times more expensive in Kinshasa because the fiber connection has to travel more than 400 km to route around the river," Erkmen wrote.

This is because the Congo River makes it very difficult to lay fiber across it and historically this challenge has resulted in operators directing traffic through their respective cable landing stations over 400 kms away to create high-capacity information flow between them.

A Google Maps view of Kinshasa and Brazzaville separated by the Congo river.
A Google Maps view of Kinshasa and Brazzaville separated by the Congo river.

Central African strategy

As part of a larger initiative to improve broadband access across Central Africa, Liquid has been trying to close this strategic connection over the river for over two years.

"Now, using innovative technology from Project Taara's Wireless Optical Communication links, Liquid was able to create this connection and accomplish this feat in just a few days," the company said in a statement.

"This high-capacity link is expected to bring down the cost of broadband access for millions of people, and a second optical link provides redundancy and resilience to this critical segment of Liquid's network."

In the same way, traditional fiber uses light to carry data through cables in the ground, Taara's Wireless Optical Communication links use narrow, invisible beams of light to deliver high-speed connectivity.

"Our work with Taara has allowed us to use WOC technology to provide cost-effective, high-speed connectivity to the people in the two cities. Thus, ensuring that Liquid can enable economic prosperity by creating a connected future across the African continent despite the difficult terrain," said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO of Liquid Intelligent Technologies.

Capable of transmitting up to 20Gbps each, Taara's links across the Congo River will help the 17 million people in these cities have access to much faster and more reliable connectivity.

Taara's Wireless Optical Communication tech in use.
Taara's Wireless Optical Communication tech in use.

Erkmen said that after installing Taara's links to beam connectivity over the river, the link served nearly 700TB of data - the equivalent of watching a FIFA World Cup match in HD 270,000 times - in 20 days with 99.9% availability.

"We're delighted to be helping bring more affordable and reliable internet access to people in Kinshasa. Taara's mission is to expand global access to fast, affordable internet and we're proud to be supporting Liquid in their mission to close the connectivity gap between these two cities," said Bhavesh Mistry, the head of Project Taara in Africa.


Want to know more about connectivity in Africa? Check out our dedicated Connectivity content channel here on Connecting Africa.


Liquid is on a mission to better connect Central Africa and in July also announced a partnership with Facebook to build an extensive long haul and metro fiber network in the DRC which will connect to the planned 2Africa undersea cable.

The fiber network will help connect East and West Africa by land and Liquid says it is expected to improve Internet access for more than 30 million people and help meet growing demand for regional connectivity across Central Africa.

Liquid is present in more than 20 countries in Africa and this year reached a major milestone, passing 100,000 km of fiber in Africa.

Related posts:

*Top image is a Google Maps view of Kinshasa and Brazzaville separated by the Congo river.

*Top image source: Project Taara blog post .

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 3 – Startups, funding and failing fast with Zachariah George

This week the team chats to Startupbootcamp AfriTech Co-Founder Zachariah George about venture capital and angel investing in Africa and what he is looking for in the next generation of tech startups.

Story

Orange opens Digital Centers in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon

Orange has launched two new Digital Centers, one in Côte d'Ivoire and another in Cameroon, with plans to open more in Africa this year and into 2022.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: September 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia View covers Africell's Ugandan exit and MTC's Namibian stock exchange IPO; as well as Netflix's free Kenyan offering and a new broadband service in SA from Multichoice and MTN.

Story

Omdia View: August 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about MTN's decision to exit Syria and not bid again for an Ethiopian license, as well as 5G news from Mauritius, Ghana, Mayotte and Reunion.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Upcoming webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up