Subsea cable to double S.Africa Internet capacity

Apr 19, 2011
A picture from October shows students using their mobile phones at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. A new undersea telecommunications cable has landed in South Africa, investors announced, saying the link would double the broadband capacity of the continent's largest economy.

A new undersea telecommunications cable has landed in South Africa, investors announced Tuesday, saying the link would double the broadband capacity of the continent's largest economy.

The 14,000-kilometre (8,700-mile) West Africa Cable System (WACS) fibre optic line links South Africa's Western Cape province to London, giving African Internet providers a direct connection to servers in Europe, its sponsors said.

The $650-million (460-million-euro) system will increase South Africa's broadband capacity by more than 500 per second, said South African Telkom, one of the 12 companies in the project.

That is the equivalent of more than 500 complete DVD downloads per second, a Telkom spokesman said.

The cable also has landing points in 10 other countries along Africa's western coast and promises to boost the bandwidth of the world's least-connected region, investors said.

"Africa has until now been a cyclist on the information superhighway," said Karel Pienaar, managing director for South Africa-based mobile service provider MTN, another partner in the project.

"We sincerely believe that the commercialisation of WACS and other submarine cables will set the stage for a mobile revolution that will enhance the quality of life for millions of people across the continent," Pienaar said in a statement.

WACS is the latest in a series of submarine cables that hold the promise of an Internet boom for Africa, where only 9.6 percent of people are , compared to 65 percent of Europeans.

The capacity of Africa's fibre connections has expanded dramatically since 2009, when the continent relied mainly on slower satellite connections.

But the increased capacity has often been slow to reach residents, especially in rural areas, as service providers have lagged behind in building "last mile" infrastructure -- the wires, cables and towers needed to get data to and from the end user.

Explore further: Mobile provider TracFone to pay $40M in federal settlement

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kenya gets undersea broadband fibre optic cable

Jun 12, 2009

An undersea fibre optic cable bringing broadband Internet connectivity to east Africa, reached the Kenyan coast from the United Arab Emirates on Friday, the president said.

Africa's tech explosion promises economic growth

Oct 26, 2010

Ask web entrepreneur Stefan Magdalinski why he moved from London to Cape Town two years ago, and he points to a map that illustrates the technological revolution reshaping Africa.

New cables tie West Africa closer to Internet

Aug 30, 2010

(AP) -- For a decade, West Africa's main connection to the Internet has been a single fiber-optic cable in the Atlantic, a tenuous and expensive link for one of the poorest areas of the planet.

Namibia gets undersea Internet cable

Feb 08, 2011

Namibia's undersea telecoms fibre-optic cable laid along the West African coast went live on Tuesday, allowing high bandwidth connectivity for the country and its neighbours, officials said.

Recommended for you

Google wireless service could disrupt carriers

21 hours ago

Internet users from San Jose to Kansas City have been clamoring for Google to lay down its long-awaited fiber-optic network to compete with Comcast and AT&T in speeding up Web and television access. Now the Silicon Valley ...

Google super-fast US Internet service spreads

22 hours ago

Google's super-fast Internet service—up to 100 times quicker than basic broadband—is heading for four more US metropolitan areas as the technology titan ramps up pressure on cable service giants.

Transmitting wireless data on higher frequencies

Jan 27, 2015

Everything we do that requires a wireless connection uses the radio spectrum. We're able to harness radio waves to listen to music in the car or stream Netflix from the 4G network on our smartphones. Each ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.