Liquid Telecom raises $150 million to extend broadband in Africa

Liquid Telecom has raised US$150 million to extend its fiber networks across Africa, a sign of the growing need for broadband services on the continent.

The company, controlled by African telecom company Econet Wireless, has already invested heavily in East Africa, where it is laying thousands of kilometers of new fiber-optic cable to connect Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The company has also already completed its East Africa fiber ring, which connects Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, in order to provide high speeds and continuous uptime across the region.

Liquid will use the additional funds it raised to build fibre broadband networks in several other countries.

The company said the funds will also finance the ongoing Fibre To The Home (FTTH) builds in Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, which will provide homes and businesses with unlimited data packages and 100Mbps, the fastest broadband that would be available in Africa.

The company has built a fiber broadband network spanning 18,000 km across 15 countries in the eastern parts of Africa from South Africa to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The $150 million fund for the company has been structured, underwritten and syndicated by Standard Chartered bank to a small group of banks including Investec and Barclays.

Liquid Telecom CEO Nic Rudnick said its fibre to the home in Africa is better than in many parts of the U.K. and even London.

He said the company’s aim is to connect 100,000 homes by the end of the year with broadband that could reach speeds of 100Mbps. The U.K. average, in contrast, is about 20Mbps, he noted.

Liquid Telecom customers include other wholesale carriers, mobile networks operators, ISPs and financial institutions. It also operates retails businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Uganda.

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