The infrastructural works on Karisimbi mast are complete, according to a top official at Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
Speaking to The New Times, Patrick Nyirishema, the head of ICT at RDB, said the works included the rehabilitation of the tower on Mount Karisimbi, extension of electric power to the summit, coupled with fibre optic cable connection.
Karisimbi is a 40-metre mast located at one of the highest mountain summits in the country. Its overall aim is to enhance electronic communications and broadcasting services in the country and the region. The mast is located in Musanze District in the Northern Province.
“The project is an ongoing process, what was completed was the construction of the infrastructure but, on the service side, there can never be an end. It’s like you are constructing the road and you say we have come to an end of using the road which is impossible, similarly, there can never be an end to the services offered by Karisimbi,” he said.
Nyirishema further announced that the national broadcaster, Orinfor, has already installed digital transmitters on the mast as part of the broadcasting phase of the mast.
“As far as the transmission network is concerned, they have already finished installing. At the central part of the mast, there are few things they are putting in place as they prepare for a proper switch-over from analogue to digital transmission,” he added.
He also stated that on air traffic management, a Communication Navigation Surveillance has significantly been scaled up to support air traffic control services.
“The civil aviation is making use of these services,” Nyirishema noted.
According to Innocent Nkurunziza, the Technical Director of Orinfor, the broadcaster has completed the installation of transmitters and what remains is to connect them to microwave digital link which will feed the transmitters’ signal.
The Karisimbi project involves the supply, installation and commissioning of broadcasting, ICT, Telecommunication, WiMAX, air navigation surveillance and radio frequency management systems.
Nyirishema added that the newest project on the service facet is climate change observatory services.
“There is a partnership between the government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to establish the climate change observatory service centre which is also progressing well. It’s going to take time to finish but preparations are being made to do the installations,” he explained.
Clarisse Iribagiza, the chief executive of Hehe Ltd, a local mobile applications development company, said the project would provide an opportunity for developing mobile or web based ICT applications at a much lower cost with greater outreach in the remotest parts of Rwanda.
“Our only challenge is to make the best out of this venture as Rwandans, because we are still limited in terms of skills to fully exploit the project,” she added.