Seacom International has officially launched the highyl anticipated undersea fiber-optic cable that is now expected to provide Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya Mozambique and South Africa with high-capacity internet connectivity at much lower costs than are currently being provided by the existing satellite networks.
In addition, backhauls were also established in order to provide a link between Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala and the coastal landing stations.
Following this project, Seacom and its national partners are currently working to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa.
As a result of the newly operational fiber-optic cable, which runs along the eastern seaboard of Africa and extends to Marseilles, France, where it is then connected to the Interoute network, East Africans can expect faster Internet services, the elimination of slow dial-up connections, a dramatic increases in bandwidth and a significant reduction in the cost of accessing the Internet.
“The launch of Seacom is an important milestone for African telecoms and we are delighted to be a part of it by providing the European connectivity from the cable’s landing point in Marseille,” said Interoute CEO Gareth Williams in a report by the East African, “Demand for bandwidth across Africa has been outstripping supply for some time, so the new cable is crucial for the growth of business on the continent.”
Between 2000 and 2008, the East Africa region witnessed a dramatic increase in demand for Internet connectivity, with internet users in the region increasing by approximately 1,062 percent and, according to the East African, TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service has reported that the international bandwidth demand in sub-Saharan Africa experienced a growth of 68 percent between 2007 and 2008.
“Linking our system to the Interoute network provides vital access to Europe and the rest of the world, opening up the region to important business hubs across the globe,” said Mr. Williams.
Overall, the 17,000 kilometer fiber-optic network cable is expected to provide 1.28 terabits of capacity per second and the current agreement between Interoute and Seacom allows for the opening up of new telecommunications opportunities in the region, in addition to supporting the growing demand for broadband.
“Fiber-optic cable investments in rural areas and landlocked African countries are going to multiply when Seacom’s plan to bring access to low-cost bandwidth succeeds,” said Seacom International CEO Brian Herlihy to the East African, “The cable is fundamental in unlocking the continent’s Internet potential.”
The launch of this fiber-optic cable marks the first landing of cable projects in both eastern and western Africa, with approximately USD 2.4 billion worth of new projects already scheduled to be completed by 2011, two of which, the East African Marine System (Teams) and the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), are expected to join Seacom within the next year.