Construction of a $650 million 1.2 terabit fibre undersea fibre optic cable along the east coast of Africa that could change the telecommunications and Internet landscape of the continent is underway.
The 15 000km cable, being laid by venture capital company Seacom will by June next year link South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to India and Europe
Seacom says the construction of several base stations is now underway and the first cable will be laid soon.
“Construction has started in Maputo and installation of prefabricated cable station buildings has commenced. In Mombasa, foundations are beginning for similar prefabricated stations, which are in-country, ready for installation on site in December.
“These containerized cable station modules were shipped from New Jersey to Africa in September.
“The remaining cable stations for South Africa and Tanzania are on their way to Africa. All of Seacom`s high-performance submarine transmission equipment has been shipped from the factories and is also on its way to the cable stations.
“Nearly 90% of the SEACOM cable has been manufactured. The first load of assembled cable and repeaters is on its way to the region in Tyco Telecommunications` ship, CS Tyco Reliance. Installation is scheduled to start soon.
“Loading of the second shipload of cable will begin this month and head towards Africa early in 2009. The third and final shipload of cable and repeaters will follow shortly thereafter.
“The entire SEACOM network will connect all cable sections together off the horn of Africa in the second quarter of 2009. Testing of the system will then be completed before the commercial launch in June 2009,” Seacom says.
Seacom, which is more than three quarters African-owned, will assist communication carriers in south and east Africa through the sale of wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe. The undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting east and southern African economic growth.