EU backing for fibre optic networks in East and Central Africa with BCS Group

  • Bandwidth & Cloud Services Group (BCS Group) signs USD 18 million long-term financing with European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU Bank.
  • Loan to fund deployment of fibre optic networks in East and Central Africa, including Zambia and Uganda, as well as bordering towns in DRC, where broadband access is limited, enabling reliable connectivity services.

 

BCS Group signed a USD 18 million long-term loan agreement with the EIB in Nairobi today. The loan will fund the expansion of BCS Group’s fibre optic network as well as their entry into Zambia. The projects are set to benefit up to 9 million people across Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and DRC by significantly improving the accessibility, affordability and performance of mobile broadband, fixed data and voice services.

 

EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle commented: “Fibre optics will enable the deployment of digital services in a region of Africa that is hungry for such opportunities. We’re glad that our financing can play an enabling role to improve the access to services, information and communication for so many people across the region.”

 

BCS Group, which recently went through a complete management buy-out that resulted in the Group’s management team becoming the sole shareholders of the business, is set to deploy nearly 5,000 km of fibre optic cable in the region, including more than 3,850 km of terrestrial fibre cable and over 1,000 km of submarine cable within Lake Tanganyika and Lake Albert.

 

Yonas Maru, Managing Director of BCS Group added: “We are thrilled to have EIB as our partner in expanding our fibre network, which will accelerate Internet adoption and bridge the connectivity gap. Through the EIB’s support, we will be able to fulfil our mission to serve as a premier carrier-neutral wholesale provider enabling telecommunications operators to better serve highly-populated areas and underserved users on the continent.”

 

Background information:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The European Investment Bank has supported transformational investment across Africa for more than 50 years and operates in Kenya since 1976, investing more than EUR 1.36 Billion in energy, water and infrastructure projects, as well as credit lines for SMEs. Over the last decade the EIB has provided more than EUR 20 billion (Kshs 2.33 Trillion) for long-term investment across Africa.

 

Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group (BCS Group) is a wholesale telecommunications provider that offers wholesale bandwidth, fibre construction and transmission services to mobile operators and Internet service providers in East and Central Africa. The Group owns over 2,500 kilometres of terrestrial fibre in Uganda and up to 50 Gbps capacity in The East African Marine System (“TEAMS”), through its shareholding in the undersea cable system. Since 2014, BCS Group has leveraged its construction expertise in several markets to lay over 2,000 kilometres of fibre as an EPC contractor for third parties and as a co-build partner to other operators. In 2019, BCS Group will embark on projects in Zambia, marking the company’s inaugural expansion beyond East Africa and enabling connectivity in further countries in Southern Africa.

 

Press contacts:

EIB: Tim Smit, t.smit@eib.org, Tel.: +352 691 28 64 23 – Follow us on Twitter – @EIB

BCS Group: Elijah Kimani King’ang’i, elijah@bcs-ea.com, Tel.: +254 711 405 460 — https://bcs-ea.com/