Burundi Agency of Telecommunication Regulation to improve internet services

“The rate of entry of internet is 8.2% in Burundi while the medium rate in East Africa is 30%”, said Déogratias Rurimunzu, Managing Director of Burundi Agency in charge of Telecommunication Regulation (ARCT). An improvement is needed.

Mr. Rurimunzu Déogratias “The number subscribers to internet increased with the introduction of 3G”

Mr. Rurimunzu Déogratias
“The number subscribers to internet increased with the introduction of 3G”

The rate of entry of internet shows that few people in the country have access to internet. Since 1996 when internet services reached Burundi, it has been a struggle to make it available for people.

In a workshop held by ARCT on 19 January, it was said that subscribers to internet in Burundi increased significantly from 2005 to September 2016. “In 2005, there were only 786 subscribers to internet in the whole country, but 761,061 subscribers registered up to 30 September 2016”, ARCT study shows.

According to ARCT report, the number of subscribers increased more in 2012 with the arrival of high-speed internet 3G especially in telecommunication companies and new internet service providers.

Subscribers to internet via telecommunication companies are more than 90% of all subscribers but generate less revenue than subscribers via other providers. “In telecommunication companies for example, one person is a subscriber while for other providers, an institution like an embassy is considered as one subscriber, and therefore their consumption differs.”

But still Burundi’s rate of internet entry is down given that only less than 1million out of over 11 millions of Burundian population have access to internet.

The aim of the workshop was to invite internet service providers to join together the internet exchange point Burundi X to improve internet services in Burundi and therefore increase the rate of entry.

“When you send an email to your fellows in Burundi for instance, it passes through internet services of France or US before reaching them, reason why we want to improve all services”, says Mr. Rurimunzu.

According to him, if internet service providers come together in the exchange point, the prices of internet services will be lower and the number of subscribers will increase.

Burundi X is an infrastructure created in 2014 enabling different Internet service providers to exchange internet traffic between their autonomous system networks through agreements.