Africa's largest undersea Internet cable to land this month

Apr 07, 2011
Young Ivorians learn how to use computers in Abidjan. A new undersea telecommunications cable to boost Africa's Internet access will land this month, mobile service provider MTN has said, calling it the continent's largest data pipeline yet.

A new undersea telecommunications cable to boost Africa's Internet access will land this month, mobile service provider MTN said Thursday, calling it the continent's largest data pipeline yet.

The 14,000-kilometre (8,700-mile) West Africa (WACS) fibre optic line is scheduled to reach South Africa's Western Cape province on April 18, linking the continent's directly to the servers of Europe and boosting the bandwidth of the world's least-connected region.

The cable starts in London and will connect 15 points along Africa's western coast, said MTN, which has a $90-million (63-million-euro) stake in the $650-million system and is the project's single largest investor.

The new link is the latest in a series of submarine cables that hold the promise of an Internet explosion for Africa, where only 9.6 percent of people are web users, compared to 65 percent of Europeans.

The capacity of Africa's fibre connections has expanded almost 300-fold since 2009, when the continent relied mainly on excruciatingly slow satellite connections, and will expand another 23 percent with the launch of the 5,120-gigabit WACS.

"WACS will ... go a long way towards catapulting Africa into the digital age," said Karel Pienaar, managing director for MTN South Africa.

"Lack of bandwidth on the continent has arrested the development of and has constrained the continent from achieving its full potential."

MTN said it has been allocated an initial 11 percent of the cable's capacity when it goes live for commercial use in the second quarter.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

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.

Madagascar connected to EASSy fiber optic cable

Mar 20, 2010

Madagascar has been connected to EASSy, a high bandwidth fibre optic cable that connects countries on Africa's eastern coast to the rest of the world, Telecom Malagasy (Telma) said Saturday.

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.

Recommended for you

Oculus unveils new prototype VR headset

14 hours ago

Oculus has unveiled a new prototype of its virtual reality headset. However, the VR company still isn't ready to release a consumer edition.

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

21 hours ago

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Tim Cook puts personal touch on iPhone 6 launch

22 hours ago

Apple chief Tim Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in "selfies" and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company's store near his Silicon Valley home.

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

Sep 19, 2014

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

Sep 19, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

User comments : 0