See also:
» 10.12.2009 - Inter-state rail link to get finances
» 22.09.2009 - ECP invests $25 million East African telecom
» 25.08.2009 - Uganda Telecom and Rwandatel purchase SEACOM capacity
» 14.08.2009 - Uganda well-positioned to steer East Africa, Zoellick
» 20.07.2009 - East Africa telecoms competition has fastest growth
» 03.04.2009 - UN agency funds loans for housing the poor
» 22.10.2008 - SADC groundwater and drought management website launched
» 10.10.2007 - Hydro-energy sustains Africa’s economic growth’

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East Africa | Southern Africa
Technology | Economy - Development

Groundbreaking of optic cable in Kenya, Mozambique

afrol News, 4 November - The 15,000 kilometre "Seacom" fibre optic undersea cable is well underway, developers today stated, with its landing station sites now completed in Kenya and Mozambique. The cable is to link South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to India and Europe.

The construction of Seacom's fibre optic undersea cable "remains firmly on schedule to become the first cable to link east Africa to the rest of the world," the company spokesperson Nandile Ngubentombi today informed. "Over the past three months, a number of major milestones were reached including the groundbreaking at the cable station landing sites in Mozambique and Kenya," she added.

Construction had started in Maputo, Mozambique, where the installation of prefabricated cable station buildings had now commenced. In Mombasa, Kenya, foundations were beginning for similar prefabricated stations, which are in-country, "ready for installation on site in December," the company informs. These containerised cable station modules had been shipped from New Jersey, US, to Africa in September. "The remaining cable stations for South Africa and Tanzania are on their way to Africa," Seacom reported.

Also, nearly 90 percent of the Seacom cable had already been manufactured. The first load of assembled cable and repeaters is on its way to the region by ship, and installations were 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," according to Seacom.

The company foresees that the entire Seacom network is to connect all cable sections together off the Horn of Africa in the second quarter of 2009. Testing of the system would then be completed before the commercial launch in June 2009, the company foresees. According to Seacom President Brian Herlihy, the project and deployment therefore "remains firmly on-track to go live in June 2009."

"We are particularly pleased with the recent groundbreakings in Kenya and Mozambique," Mr Herlihy said. "This important milestone gave Seacom an actual land-based footprint that will allow Tyco Telecommunications, our turnkey project contractor, to install the high-speed optical transmission equipment at these sites soon," he added.

Seacom aims at being the first cable ever to connect East and Southern Africa to the rest of the world "with plentiful and inexpensive bandwidth," according to Mr Herlihy. The project is privately funded and over three quarter African owned. The undersea cable system is to provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing a bottleneck in regional telecommunication growth. Especially in East Africa, the cable will be key to offer broadband, as the region still relies entirely on expensive satellite connections.

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