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Africa to acquire substantially more high speed broadband

Along with the landing of the brand new West African Cable System on South African soil on 19 April 2011, shortly following the implementation of the East African Submarine System (Eassy) and Seacom, Africans may very well be forgiven for believing it could not get any better.

Having said that there is certainly a lot more to look forward to when it comes to improved broadband capacity.

The most recent program obtained the blessing of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – at their latest summit organised earlier in April. The five nations are going to support the development of a completely new undersea cable intended to link South Africa, Angola and Brazil – even though they won’t fund it directly.

Initial assessments place the cost at R3-billion (US$445-million).

Referred to as the South Atlantic Express (SAEx), the cable is going to at the outset provide a speed of 12.8Tbit/s. It will eventually link Nigeria and Angola to Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, leave the continent to land at Fortaleza on Brazil’s northeast coastline, and after that supply onward connectivity to the US via the GlobeNet system.

Mtunzini has already been a centre of local connectivity, due to the fact it’s the South African landing point for both the Seacom and Eassy cables.

SAEx is going to be the first cable to cross the south Atlantic, nevertheless it will supply additional capacity in the other direction too, to India via Seacom and after that making use of numerous cable systems to connect Africa to Asian countries, including China.

When it comes to Africans, this implies a shorter electronic route to the US, considered as the global internet capital as well as the location of several of the world’s biggest servers. The shorter travelling distance for data is going to reduce latency – also know as the dreaded lag. The vast majority of local internet traffic at present arrives in the US through the much longer Europe-north Atlantic route.

SAEx is going to be run by local black-owned technology investment company eFive Telecoms. EFive also has contracted Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent to build the cable via its subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell Co, the global corporation’s flagship company in China.

High African growth rate

CEO of eFive Lawrence Mulaudzi stated his company is convinced that Africa’s high rate of growth necessitates the development of such projects.

“The planned submarine network will in addition make available cable route diversity to South America, creating quite possibly the most economical and operational sense with the current economic landscape,” he was quoted saying.

Early reports hint at Chinese financing for the project, in colaboration with South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation. The Bank of China could quite possibly provide as much as 60% of the funds.

With planning presently well advanced, eFive anticipates that SAEx will probably be operational by June 2013. In the event that all goes well, said Mulaudzi, it could possibly go live in the first quarter of the year.

Numerous South African service providers and technology companies are presently involved in improving terrestrial communications infrastructure, which will be able to take complete advantage of the souped-up submarine capacity.

Most notably are local fixed-line operator Telkom, state-owned Broadband Infraco, and two consortiums made up of big-name players in local telecoms, including service providers Internet Solution, Neotel, and Vodacom.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com, technimb.us, telecoms.com, itnewsafrica.com