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: Denmark is world's most connected country

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

BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

10 hours ago

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is wooing Apple customers with a cash offer for trade-ins of iPhones for its new square-screened, keyboard-equipped Passport.

HP earnings show continued struggle

11 hours ago

Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

12 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

12 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

12 hours ago

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

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.