SEACOM to upgrade capacity to meet demand

September 22, 2011

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22- Undersea cable provider SEACOM says it will upgrade the capacity on its cable as demand grows, having received a 60 percent subscription to the current 1.28 terabytes per second capacity.

SEACOM Chief Executive Officer Mark Simpson said that with the focus by mobile operators fast shifting to data, the firm will need to scale up its capacity to meet the demand.

“Technology is changing a lot and we have already began to plan for our next upgrade which will be in the next 12- 15 months and therefore we will have plenty capacity to serve our customers,” Simpson said.

SEACOM, the first undersea cable to land in Kenya, sells Internet capacity on its cable to mobile operators and Internet services provider for resale to retail Internet users in the country and the region.

The company is still working out the financial details of the proposed upgrade that will determine the actual capacity to add on the cable.

The upgrade involved installation of nine land-based Internet access points that will store web content closer to where the ISP is accessed from.

Simpson said that SEACOM also has plans to start selling premium services to its clients to tap into the growing provision of content in Africa.

Premium services that the firm plans to start selling will include multiprotocol label switching (a data carrying mechanism that allows a simple relay of information over a network).

“We also need to further build resilience into the network using west coast capacity as well as having highly reliable network,” he said.

The CEO expects Internet costs to start coming down as cable companies recoup their initial investments.

“The combination of the economics we offer on the sub-sea and the benefits we see from the terrestrial networks will continue to deliver quite a reduction in price but with quality being our focus,” Simpson said.

Stretching some 17,000 kilometres along the eastern and southern African coastlines and onwards to India and Europe, the SEACOM system has already connected a number of countries within the regions.

“As we look at the growth of different markets, we are happy with what is happening in Kenya and like Tanzania where the fibre cables are built through consortiums and private public partnerships led by governments; we continue having discussions with them,” he said on future growth of the company.

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