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Undersea cable to boost Indian Ocean islands’ economies

Fibre optic
Fibre optic

from HANSLEY NABAB in Port Louis, Mauritius
PORT LOUIS – THE Indian Ocean Area (IOA) suffers poor internet topology (the structure by which hosts, routers or autonomous systems are connected to each other) with network performance between the islands highly likely to exhibit low performance and high delay characteristics.

Experts have bemoaned this was inhibiting the growth of the economies of the respective countries.

Thanks to the laying out of a new multimillion-dollar undersea cable between South Africa and the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Mauritious and Reunion, this is set to be a thing of the past, with anticipation the resultant high-speed connectivity will drive down the cost of communication and eventually spur the three IOA countries’ growth.

The beneficiary countries have a combined population of over 29,1 million people.

Estimated to cost €40 million (44,2 million) submarine cable- known as the Melting Pot Indianoceanic Submarine System (METISS) – is expected to be completed and operational by July next year.

The subsea fibre optic cable system of designed capacity 24 terabits per second will provide Mauritius, Reunion Island and Madagascar with high-speed connectivity to the global telecommunications network, as well as low latency access and enhance business operations across multiple industries.

METISS has reached a milestone with the official inauguration of the landing station of the system in the Umbogotwini area in southern Durban, South Africa by a consortium of telecommunication companies.

The consortium includes Canal+ Télécom, CEB Fibernet, Emtel, SRR, Telma and Liquid Telecom South Africa, the latter which has provided the landing station and will host and manage the submarine cable whilst also providing fibre back-haul.

“This partnership with Liquid Telecom is an important step for connecting people and economies of the Indian Ocean islands to South Africa which is among the major internet hubs in Africa,” said Xavier Hermesse, the METISS chairman.

He added, “METISS Members would like to thank Liquid Telecom and South African Authorities for this successful collaboration.”

The pan-Africa firm, Liquid Telecom, has been investing heavily across the continent where it operates Africa’s largest independent fibre network, spanning almost 70 000km.

Dr Angus Hay, General Manager for Africa Data Centres’ Southern African region, said the METISS subsea fibre optic cable underscored the company’s commitment to provide high-speed connectivity to every African on the continent.

“Everything we do is driven by a simple yet powerful belief that everyone in Africa has the right to be connected,” Hay emphasised.

The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), the regional internet registry (RIR) for the continent, reports that although the Indian Ocean islands are physically connected to each other, there is no direct logical links between them.

Many connections would therefore follow inter-continental circuitous routes before reaching neighbour islands, and in worst case scenarios, other networks in the same country.

– CAJ News

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