- 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.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.