TELECOMS| May 11, 2012, 11:29 a.m.
The West African Cable System (WACS) cable has been officially launched in Cape Town, South Africa.
The USD650 million undersea cable runs along the West coast of Africa, starting at Yzerfontein near Cape Town, South Africa and terminating in the United Kingdom. It lands in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Portugal and the United Kingdom, and promises better bandwidth to landlocked nations through networks running inland.
The cable has been developed by a consortium of 1 telecoms carriers, including Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable and Wireless Worldwide, Cabo Verde Telecom, Congo Telecom, the MTN Group, , Portugal Telecom, SCPT (DRC), Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA, Togo Telecom, the Vodacom group and Vodafone Spain.
The 5,12 Tb/s system will bring additional bandwidth to regions already served by the SAT3, Glo1 and Main One Cable systems. It is widely hoped that the new cable will bring better bandwidth and help lower bandwidth prices, both along the coastline and inland.
MTN's Global Carrier Services' commercial relations lead for the WACS Consortium, Trevor Martins, says MTN is the largest investor in WACS, with commitments in excess of USD100 million. The company’s terrestrial component of the WACS network was completed last month. Kanaragaratnam Lambotharan, chief technology officer at MTN South Africa, notes that the MTN Group felt WACS would bring much-needed cost effective broadband capacity to the continent, bolstering Africa's efforts to achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
Vodacom said the launch marked an important milestone in its ongoing drive to unlock the power of the internet.
Noting that mobile penetration is far higher than fixed line coverage, Vodacom's Chief Technology Officer, Andries Delport said: "It's clear that mobile technology is the quickest and most practical route to spreading Internet access. With a high base of the population already covered, we only need to get two key things in place and South Africa can quite literally take a giant leap forward. The first part is obvious - cheaper smart devices that everyone can afford. The second part is to ensure that the mobile networks can support the data traffic."
"WACS is an important piece in that network puzzle. Vodacom is investing billions of Rands rolling out new base stations and connecting those base stations into our network via fibre-optic cables. That's fine when the data traffic is just buzzing around within SA, but can hit a bottleneck when it comes to getting data from international websites. WACS addresses this."
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
Vodafone Ghana provides ‘live-chat’ platform for customersVodafone Ghana says it has launched an online ‘Live Chat’ and ‘Support Centre’ to enhance its range of customer care channels that offer timely and convenient response to customers’ queries. Read More
Juwah’s tenure at NCC endsDr. Eugene Juwah’s tenure as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission has come to an end. Read More
Etisalat sues MTN over anti-competitive practicesEtisalat has instituted legal action against Nigeria’s dominant operator, MTN, over practices it says threaten its business. Read More
Orange increases interest in the Moroccan operator Méditel with the acquisition of an additional 9%Fipar-Holding (the Moroccan Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion group), FinanceCom and Orange signed the final documentation increasing Orange's interest in Méditel, the Moroccan telecommunications operator, in application of the agreements they signed in December 2010. Read More
Safaricom gives network assurance ahead of Obama visitSafaricom has assured its subscribers that minimal network disruptions shall be experienced during visit of US president Barack Obama. Read More
Airtel unveils next gen enterprise solution in GhanaAirtel Ghana says it is setting the new standard for Enterprise business solutions with the launch of its business oriented sub brand, Airtel Business. Read More
Tigo Africa Customer Operations Director visits GhanaThe Customer Operations Director for Tigo Africa, Ingeborg Nieuwenhuis, has just concluded a week-long visit to Ghana. Read More
Tigo reinforces security at cell sites due to battery theftTigo says it is determined to invest to ensure a reliable and stable network for its customers despite rampant cable cuts and increasing battery theft. Read More
MTN Ghana introduces Relationship ManagersSubscribers of MTN Ghana can now get any challenges resolved quickly and amicably, thanks to the introduction of Relationship Managers at MTN Ghana’s 82 customer service points across the country. Read More
FEATURED STORYKenyan SACCOS riding on innovation to attract customers
As confidence in mainstream banks remains low due to prohibitive interest rates, customers are embracing Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCO) as an alternative.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAs curtain falls on MDGs, what next?
Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, speaks to Biztechafrica about setting smart targets.