Pioneering work completed by Liquid Telecom and its technology partner Ekinops (Euronext Paris: EKI) has been named “Best Fixed Network Innovation (TBC)” at this year’s Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation awards.
These prestigious awards, organized by the much-respected GTB magazine, celebrate the joint work of vendors and operators in innovative projects that better serve the telecom industry’s end customers.
Liquid and Ekinops picked up the award for their joint work in building Africa’s longest single span fibre links.
Liquid Telecom is the leading wholesale carrier in Africa. It has built Africa’s largest fiber network, which runs from the north of Uganda to Cape Town. In total, its award-winning Pan-African fiber network spans more than 13,000 kilometers across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho and South Africa. Liquid’s fiber network is the first to cross country borders and covers Africa’s fastest-growing economies where no fixed network has existed before.
Typical long-haul optical networks require an amplifier site every 100 kilometers in order to amplify the signal. In rural Africa, with its wide, open spaces where the distance between towns can be more than 400 kilometers, this is a major problem. The costs in building an amplifier site every 100 kilometers, including the power generator, site security, and roads to access the site are enormous.
Researchers at Liquid and Ekinops worked together to develop pioneering and innovative techniques for increasing the distance of fiber links. In December 2012 the first commercial link went live. At 310 kilometers, it is the longest fiber link in Africa and a vital part of the fiber which connects Harare to Victoria Falls via Hwange (around 585 kilometers). Since then another 10 long-distance links (more than 300 kilometers) have gone live – and more are planned.
Nic Rudnick, CEO of Liquid Telecom, said: “Congratulations to everyone who worked on this project which has set the standard for the industry. At Liquid we firmly believe that we are helping to create Africa’s digital future by investing in technology which is why, unlike others, we choose to build and own our networks wherever possible.”
Jonathan Amir, Ekinops vice president of Sales in EMEA, said: “Ekinops technology allows carriers to deploy long-haul networks with ultra-long spans and we are very proud to win the GTB award with Liquid Telecom for this project. We estimate that Liquid has so far reduced the number of amplification sites from 16 to five, which translates into major cost savings on both CAPEX and OPEX.”