Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Fiber Optic Line Updates Communications in Southern and Eastern Africa

A new 10,500 mile undersea fiber optic cable has become operational in Southern and Eastern Africa. It is only the second fiber optic line to serve the region, where Internet access and communications are plagued by outdated infrastructure.

The cable, built by Seacom, a consortium 75 percent controlled by African investors, is the first of about 10 new undersea connections expected to serve Africa before the middle of next year. The expansion will cost about $2.4 billion and will help connect Africa with Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East at higher speeds and at lower cost.

Right now, Africa has only one submarine fiber-optic cable: the less efficient SAT-3 cable in Western Africa, owned primarily by Telkom, the South African telecom company, and last updated in 2002. Those with no access to that cable are forced to use expensive and slow satellite links.

New Undersea Cables to Expand Broadband in Africa
The New York Times
August 9, 2009