by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE landing of the Equiano undersea cable is poised to drive broadband penetration, increase internet usage and ultimately create economic benefits in South Africa and beyond.
The major undersea cable, which runs from Western Europe to South Africa via the west coast of Africa, landed in Cape Town on August 8.
Openserve, South Africa’s largest network infrastructure provider, facilitated the landing in the cable station facility in Melkbosstrand.
Openserve’s cable station facility will offer terrestrial services, connecting the cable landing to South African carrier-neutral data centres.
“The landing of the Equiano undersea cable marks a significant moment for the SA telecommunications industry,” Althon Beukes, Openserve Chief Executive Officer, said.
Openserve will have access to a new submarine system offering connectivity to Europe, which will provide additional diversity for international communications.
In the initial design, Openserve will have 12 terabytes per second capacity, with current technology and 16Tbps will be possible with upgrades.
“The arrival of Equiano will also have a meaningful impact on the domestic economy through encouraging digital inclusion by making connectivity accessible to more South Africans,” Beukes said.
The Google-owned Equiano is rated the first submarine cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level as opposed to the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.
The cable has a capacity of 144 Terabytes per second, lauded as 20 times the capacity of the last cable built to serve the region.
In July, Equiano landed in Swakopmund, Namibia.
The cable stretches from the coast of Portugal with landing stations in St Helena Island, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa as the final point.
Nitin Gajria, Google Sub-Saharan Africa Managing Director, said the company is committed to supporting Africa’s digital transformation.
“We are excited by the possibilities brought about by the arrival of the Equiano subsea cable to its final destination,” Gajria said.
– CAJ News