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Ethiopia Revamps Telecoms Infrastructure to Help Propel Country's Growth

New broadband network to help deliver next-generation voice and data services, based on Cisco ONS 15454 SDH Multiservice Provisioning Platform

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 30, 2004 - Cisco Systems® and Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) announced today that ETC has deployed an optical network infrastructure that will help transport high-quality voice, data and multimedia services to government departments, companies and the general population.The new Cisco® ONS 15454-based optical transport infrastructure and Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) core network will also help support the Ethiopian government's initiative to build nationwide networks that link government departments, educational and healthcare institutions, and agricultural research centres.

"Our economy is based primarily on agriculture—it contributes half the GDP and 90 per cent of our export earnings," explains Ato Asfaw Haile Mariam, the deputy general manager of information technology and data services at ETC. "However, while this is important, the government recognises that we need alternative long-term growth strategies to create a knowledge-based economy. That is why we are embracing this technology to enhance the education and agriculture sectors, and improve government's ability to deliver high-quality public services."

The Ethiopian Government, through its Ministry of Capacity Building (MoCB), enlisted ETC to build a core multiservice network. ETC awarded the tender for this infrastructure to Cisco Systems and its pan-African network and systems integrator, Business Connexion.

"In addition to providing a foundation for connecting business, there are many significant social development opportunities presented by the MoCB initiative," explains Geraint Anderson, vice-president, incumbent service provider segment, Cisco Systems Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA). "The Cisco optical and IP/MPLS core infrastructure provides ETC with a scalable and flexible infrastructure to help support these and future government projects."

The first project is 'Woredanet', a network that will link almost 600 local ('woreda') and 11 regional government offices countrywide with each other and, in turn, with the Federal government headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The second is 'Schoolnet', a nationwide network that will provide more than 450 secondary education institutions with network connectivity. It will also help them to receive broadcast TV-based educational content from media agencies. The 'Schoolnet' project is already delivering educational content on flat-panel screens in schools from the Ethiopian Media Agency using terrestrial and satellite networks. More schools are coming online at a steady pace.

A third planned project is 'Agrinet', a network that will potentially link more than 30 research and operational agricultural centres together.

A fibre-optic transmission network based on the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Provisioning Platform has been built around Addis Ababa, and it will transport both mobile and fixed-line analogue voice traffic. An IP/MPLS layer provides a single converged core infrastructure based on Cisco MGX 8000 Series switches to support existing Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and Frame Relay networks. A combination of high-speed fixed and microwave links extends this network to other parts of the country—sometimes covering distances as far as 700 kilometers to the most remote areas of the country.

For more information on Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation please visit www.telecom.net.et.

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