East Africa gets high-speed internet

Yesterday the 15,000 km (9,300 mi) subsea fiber-optic cable began operations, providing the East African countries of Djibouti, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique, with high speed internet connections to Europe and Asia.

Seacom Cable Map

Seacom Cable Map

The cable was officially switched on in simultaneous events held across the region, including in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

The launch was described by the Chief Executive of SEA Cable Systems as being “a historic day for Africa… [that]… marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world”.

Upon being switched on, the owners of the cable stated that it would reduce internet costs by up to 95% to wholesale customers, whilst providing a far greater speed of internet connection.

It may take a long time for the benefits to reach ordinary citizens, particularly those who live in remote rural areas.

SEACOM is a privately funded venture which built, owns, and operates a the submarine fiber-optic cable connecting communication carriers in south and east Africa.

The project’s business model is to provide affordable bandwidth via volume discounts and large bandwidth growth. It is the first to provide broadband to countries in east Africa, which currently rely entirely on expensive, slower satellite connections. South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya will be inter-connected via a protected ring structure on the continent. A second express fiber pair connects South Africa to Kenya.

These two fiber pairs have a combined capacity of 1.28 Tbit/s.

The cable landing points are:

  • Marseille, France
  • Sidi Kerir, Egypt
  • Ras Sidr, Egypt
  • Djibouti
  • Mombasa, Kenya
  • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Toliary, Madagascar
  • Maputo, Mozambique
  • Mtunzini, South Africa
  • Mumbai, India

Connectivity has been purchased by Seacom to allow onwards connection from Marseille to London, United Kingdom.

In addition, as of June, 2009 back haul solutions allow onwards connectivity from the coastal landing points to:

  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Nairobi, Kenya

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