In a major strategic decision that will change the communication routes between South America and Africa, Angola’s state-owned telecom service provider iAngola Cables is preparing for the deployment of a multi-million dollar worth submarine fiber optic cable that will link Angola and Brazil. This submarine fiber optic link will connect South America to Africa, which will have onward connectivity to the Asian countries. The cost of the undersea project is estimated to be around US$260 million. The intercontinental cable system
It is estimated that approximately 6,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables are required to connect the continents by submarine fiber cables. Angola’s capital, Luanda and the Northeastern city of Fortaleza in Brazil will be the end-points. If everything including funding and project execution, goes as per the planning iAngola estimates that the project will be completed and the fibers would be active for operation by the end of 2015. Though the time is short, iAngola hopes the deployment team would be competitive to finish the project in time.
The undersea fiber optic transmission is designed to have a data transmission capacity of 40 Tbps (terabits per second). The cable system will utilize Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) that will tap the potential of optical fibers to the maximum extent possible with the limitation of currently available optoelectronic equipment. DWDM is useful when there is a need to transmit high capacity data for long distances. It reduces the dependency on higher fiber count cables.
Fortaleza, which in English can be translated as Fortress is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. Fortaleza’s population is around 2.55 million (metropolitan region over 3.6 million) and the city is the 5th largest city in Brazil. The Atlantic Ocean is in the north of the city from where the submarine cable will start its journey to Africa. Fortaleza city is neighbored by Pacatuba, Eusebio, Maracanau and Itaitinga in the south, the municipality of Aquiraz and the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the municipality of Caucacia in the west. Fortaleza is one of the three leading cities in the Northeast region together with Recife and Salvador. The city was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Fortaleza was one of the host cities of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. The landing point of the submarine fiber optic cable will be located at a convenient location at the north or east side of the city where the access to the Atlantic Ocean is shorter and easier.
iAngola Cables has received the necessary bank guarantee to start the project from two Angolan banks. The fiber optic cable system connecting Angola and Brazil will get connected to another submarine cable called American Cable system that will start from Brazil to the United States. This will connect Angola with the United States. Angola hosts landing points for the West Africa Cable System that connects South Africa and Europe. South Africa is already a hub for many submarine fiber optic cables that connect the east African countries, Middle East Asian and South East Asian countries. The whole network will enable a global network of submarine fiber optic routes to ensure high bit rate transmission.
Angola government has started liberalizing telecom market and has been investing to develop telecom infrastructures. Access to the information and communication technologies (ICTs) has improved dramatically after the end of the Angolan Civil War. In 2001, the Angola government began adopting regulations to liberalize the telecom industry, which enabled private investments to revitalize the country’s ICT infrastructure that had been severely damaged by the decades-long conflict. Today, Angola has one of the largest mobile telecom markets in sub-Saharan Africa and internet access is growing steadily.
The government hopes to convert Angola a hub in the future by connecting South America to Angola by fiber optic cables. This hub for telecommunication services between Latin American and Asian countries can further extend to Asian countries. Fiber optic networks have the potential to stimulate growth and change the economy of a country. While it creates jobs directly, investment in fiber optic infrastructures enables the whole population with modern tools and applications for creating new businesses and entrepreneurship Investing in fiber optic network is investing in building future smart generations.
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