Ethiopian Telecom Failure Forced Bank Branches Opening Delay

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Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation

Ethiopia Telecommunications Corporation’s (ETC) failure to offer efficient services, especially broadband Internet, is limiting banking services in Addis Ababa to the point where banks are postponing opening new branches in Addis, Capital has learnt. The Ethiopian banking system is heavily dependent on the state-owned ETC to perform transactions and connect branches to their main office.
One bank, who wished to remain anonymous, says it has had to wait a long time for the networks to become available. If they are not made available, it will delay its plan to open branches in the peripheral areas of the city.
The recurrent problem of system downfall has meant banks without the broadband service having to work manually, limiting services to customers.
The banks use Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) with copper cables and wireless access to network their branches to their main offices. But they say the broadband sometimes fail for what ETC describes as “base station saturated” reasons. This kind of problem usually appears on the edges of the city.
Amerga Kassa, President of Nib Bank, said this led it to try to shift to a wireless service, but this has a problem too.
“When we ask for the wireless service, the corporation gives us the reason that equipment is not available,” he said.
Though the private banks have praised some of the recent changes made by ETC, the broadband connection has not been reliable.
“This makes our customers not get their money on time,” he explained.
Amerga expressed hope that the service will improve with the new network that the corporation signed with Seacom for the procurement of international fibre optic bandwidth connectivity through a submarine fibre communication system via Djibouti at a total cost of 47 million dollars.
The bank wants the network problems to be resolved before the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) introduces a core banking system. Through this connection, NBE plans to conduct gross settlement system, national clearing and automatic check clearing system.
Las month, ETC has made a surprise announcement that it will increase the capacity of broadband Internet in Ethiopia by 445 percent.
Currently, a trial of the international broadband fibre connection through Djibouti is being conducted. The connection is owned by Seacom, a Mauritian company.
Although it had been known that negotiations between ETC and Seacom had been ongoing for over two years, it was not expected that an agreement would result in the extra capacity being delivered within such a short space of time.
At the time of the announcement, Amare Amsalu, CEO of ETC, stated confidently that a new IT chapter for Ethiopia is about to begin, as the enhancement of international connection capacity is expected to support fast, reliable and high bandwidth connectivity.

The new connection was supposed to be active on Thursday, April 8, but Capital was unable to find out from ETC the state of the new link.

Source : Capitol

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