Rwanda’s Internet penetration on the rise – RICTA’s chat with CNBCA
Earlier this year (February 2018) our CEO Ghislain Nkeramugaba was hosted on the CNBC Africa TV channel by George Ndirangu. Among the issues discussed included the fact Rwanda has made significant strides towards Internet penetration and promotion of local content hosting with hope that the latter will in future lower the latency and loading times. Below is the excerpt.
Talk about the internet landscape and its performance
We saw a dramatic increase in terms of Internet traffic as far as the (Internet) exchange point is concerned. Now the peak on the exchange is reaching about 3 gig of traffic that we are not pulling out of Rwanda. This is traffic we are exchanging at the level of the country, which is good.
Has the introduction of 4G and the 97% penetration rate had an impact on RICTA’s business?
This is a very important component. The deployment of 4G will increase consumption, not only 4G but also the introduction of fiber-to-home products that have been introduced by one of the operators. People at home will be able to consume TV content on-line in real time and this will drive the (production and) adoption of local content.
Do you need to adopt local Internet content to boost the Made-in-Rwanda consumption?
Every content that is produced and viewed by Rwandans, as long as it is not sitting in Rwanda, it costs us money to import it back to Rwanda to the viewers. So whenever we are having a domain name registered in Rwanda we are saving money for the country. So as far as the data center is concerned, this is key and quite important. The presence of 4G and fiber-to-home is part of that ecosystem we need to develop so that consumption in Rwanda continues to grow.
AkadomoRW (.RW) picked up in 2017. Guide us to the current numbers.
We started seeing growth of domain registration in 2016/2017. This is mainly because the resellers of the domain names are present and are quite close to the businesses that are buying from them. On top of that we have increased our awareness to promote .RW. Another thing is that whenever you are looking for a long string on a .com you might not find it and your domain name ends up being long on the (.com). So that’s when the .RW comes in handy, plus the ‘Made in Rwanda’ factor that is quite uniquely.
Pricing for regular domain name
We have two types of pricing. We have a pricing for international community categorized for non-East African members (or citizens) and we have a specific pricing for East Africans (or citizens of EAC). The pricing can be from Rwf3,000 per year (for a .co.rw like say tigo.co.rw) to Rwf12,000 per year (for a domain which is directly under the .RW like say tigo.rw.
Rwanda’s Infrastructure in comparison with the western world
As far as infrastructure is concerned the western world is well fitted. In terms of energy availability and data center space, the economies of scale in that part of the world favors discounted rates. We are trying to address that but it goes with other things like hosting fee and price differentiation. Recently RURA (the regulator of utilities) issued different electricity tariffs for the data center(s). This will definitely help with what we are trying to achieve. Creation of such digital assets in Rwanda makes the terrain quite competitive.
To watch the full clip off the CNBC Africa website visit the following link https://www.cnbcafrica.com/videos/2018/02/14/rwandas-internet-penetration-on-the-rise/