NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 12 – The East African Marine System fibre optic cable, TEAMS, finally landed in Mombasa on Friday after a long wait.
Speaking during the launch of the cable at Fort Jesus on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa, President Mwai Kibaki said the arrival of the cable demonstrated the important role played by the private sector in developing the country.
“The East African Marine System project is an innovative public-private partnership between the Government and corporate stakeholders. The project has connected our country with the rest of the world and harnessed the power of Information Communication Technologies,” President Kibaki said.
At the same time President Kibaki said it was necessary to train the youth on the benefits of the fibre optic cable and how it could help them improve their lives.
“I am directing the Ministry of Information and Communication to come up with programmes for the training and development of youth nationwide, to catch the first generation of truly digital Kenyans,” he stressed.
Similarly, the President also challenged government ministries to make use of the benefits occasioned of having higher connectivity to the internet.
“I direct all the Ministries to speedily adopt I.C.T. in their strategic plans in order to realise the full benefits of technology, for the good of our country.”
President Kibaki noted that affordable telecommunications technologies and infrastructure were critical to the nation’s development.
“With the launch of this project Kenya is now equipped with one of the most advanced and cost effective, nation-building tools.”
Initiated in 2006 the TEAMS project was sought as an alternative to the East African Submarine Cable System which the government felt was being dominated by South Africa. Alcatel–lucent was then awarded the $82 million contract to lay the cable.
The 4500 kilometre cable will connect Kenya as well as the East African region to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates and has a capacity of 40 gigabytes per second (Gb/s) with an upgrade capability of 640Gb/s should the initial capacity become insufficient.
The arrival of the cable will also see the country shift from expensive satellite communication which will result in a drop in the cost of telecommunications in the country.