Liquid Telecom

Beaming broadband across the Congo River

Innovative use of new technology is bringing faster, more reliable and cheaper internet connectivity to communities in the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Despite a distance of just 4.8km, internet is five times more expensive in Kinshasa than in Brazzaville. This is because the two capital cities are separated by the Congo River, the second fastest and deepest river in the world, and therefore difficult to lay fibre across. Historically, this has meant that internet traffic must be directed through cable-landing stations over
400km away, affecting the speed and reliability of internet connectivity in the area.

One business aiming to change this is Liquid Telecom, the largest independent fibre and cloud provider in Africa, which we’ve invested in since 2018. As part of its mission to improve broadband access across Central Africa, Liquid Telecom has been trying to establish a strategic connection across the river for over two years.

5

Internet is five times more expensive in Kinshasa than in Brazzaville.

In 2021, using state-of-the-art wireless technology provided by Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Liquid successfully established the connection between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, and has started delivering affordable, high-speed connectivity to communities in Kinshasa. In the same way traditional internet fibre uses light to carry data through cables in the ground, these wireless optical communication links use narrow, invisible beams of light to deliver high-speed connectivity.

These links across the Congo River will help the 17 million people in these cities have access to much faster and more reliable connectivity, and at a lower cost. This milestone is part of Liquid Telecom’s broader aim to make this region a more attractive destination for international business investments.

Find out more about the impact of businesses in our portfolio in our Annual Review 2021: Foundations for the future

17 mn

people will have access to faster, more reliable and cheaper internet connectivity

We are now British International Investment