NAIROBI, November 4 – The construction of SEACOM’s 15,000 km fibre optic undersea cable, linking South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to India and Europe, has begun.
Construction has started in Maputo and installation of prefabricated cable station buildings has commenced. In Mombasa, foundations are beginning for similar prefabricated stations, which are in-country, ready for installation on site in December.
According to a statement from the company the remaining cable stations for South Africa and Tanzania are on their way to Africa. In addition, the first teams of technical staff for the East African landing stations have been selected and will begin training this month. The statement further indicated that nearly 90 percent of the SEACOM cable has been manufactured.
“The first load of assembled cable and repeaters is on its way to the region and is scheduled to start soon. Loading of the second shipload of cable will begin this month and head towards Africa early in 2009,” the statement read in part.
On the other hand the third and final shipload of cable and repeaters will follow shortly thereafter. The entire SEACOM network will connect all cable sections together off the horn of Africa in the second quarter of 2009.
“The project is progressing in-line with our manufacturing and deployment schedules and we remain firmly on-track to go live in June 2009,” said SEACOM President Brian Herlihy.
“We are particularly pleased with the recent groundbreakings in Kenya and Mozambique. 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.”
“With only eight months to go before the system is ready for service, SEACOM remains set to be the first cable to connect East and Southern Africa to the rest of the world with plentiful and inexpensive bandwidth.”
SEACOM, which is privately funded and over three quarter African owned, will assist communication carriers in South and East Africa through the sale of wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe.
The undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting East and Southern African economic growth.
SEACOM will be the first cable to provide broadband to countries in East Africa which, at the moment, relies entirely on the expensive satellite connections.