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LION2 submarine cable goes live

By Carole Kimutai, Nairobi, Kenya

The Lower Indian Ocean Network submarine cable (LION2) operated by Telkom Kenya, a subsidiary of the France Telecom Group, has gone live. Mickhael Ghossein, Telkom Kenya Chief Executive says LION2 whose laying cost over KSh 5.7 billion (57 million Euros) is now operational and will significantly boost Kenya’s bandwidth capacity.

The submarine cable is the fourth to land in Mombasa after EASSy, TEAMS and SEACOM. It is a 2,700 km long extension of the initial Lower Indian Ocean Network that connects Madagascar to the rest of the world. It will provide alternate onward connectivity from Kenya to Asia and Europe. Besides improving Telkom services, LION 2 is expected to play a great role in addressing redundancy, especially during outages like the ones experienced in March that impacted both TEAMs and EaSSy.

LION2 extends from Mayotte, an island off the Indian Ocean Coast to Nyali in Mombasa. It links East Africa to Madagascar, Mayotte and the Reunion Island, providing an opportunity for increased international traffic through Kenya which further strengthens the country’s positioning as a regional communication hub.

LION2 uses the most advanced technology for submarine cables – wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and as it will currently offer a maximum capacity of I.28 tbps. In future, this capacity can be increased without additional submarine work.

The construction of the LION2 cable represents a total investment of around 57 million Euros, of which 38 million Euros comes from France Telecom and its subsidiaries. The laying of LION2 cable began in the fourth quarter of 2010, with key shareholders being France Telecom-Orange, Telkom Kenya, Mauritius Telecom and Orange Madagascar as well as carrier companies Emtel Ltd. and Société Réunionnaise du Radiotéléphone. 

Apart from LION2, Telkom Kenya has also invested heavily in other joint broadband infrastructure projects including TEAMS and EASSy submarine cables and terrestrial backbone and is currently expanding its high quality wireless network for both GSM and CDMA across the country.








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