Fiber Optic Network Links Mozambique and South Africa

The small gap in the fiber optic link between South Africa and Mozambique has now been closed. Fiber optic cables crossing Mozambique and South Africa border has been installed and commissioned. People are looking to see whether Telkom SA (South Africa) offers rates that are sufficiently cheap to be competitive with satellite, something it has not offered Lesotho and Namibia’s incumbent telecom operators. The border between Mozambique and South Africa is divided into two segments, separated by the kingdom of Swaziland. The northern segment, which is 410 kilometers long, runs north-south along the Lebombo Mountains from Zimbabwe to Swaziland. The southern segment, which is 81 kilometers long, runs east-west across Maputaland from Swaziland to the Indian Ocean.

At the opening on Friday Mozambique Minister of Transport and Communications, Antonio Mungwambe, said Mozambique regards telecommunications as a key factor in development and in the fight against poverty, which is why the government has prioritized interconnecting the whole country through broadband infrastructure, declared the He was speaking at the border town of Ressano Garcia, at the inauguration of a fiber-optic communications.

Mungwambe said that the national telecommunications program, managed by the public telecoms company, TDM, was now in its second phase. By the time it was concluded, in late 2007 the country would have “modern technological platforms”, that would “expand the capacity and improve the quality of fixed and mobile phone communications between the main urban centers in the south, center, and north of the country”.

This broadband infrastructure would also carry radio and television signals across the entire country, improve communications with neighboring countries and facilitate access to the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The Chairman of the TDM Board of Directors, Joaquim de Carvalho, said that the fiber-optic link meant that communications between Mozambique and South Africa will now be quicker and more reliable, regardless of climatic conditions. “Mozambique and South Africa now have a broadband telecommunications infrastructure that not only allows direct access between the two countries but also assists in the regional integration of the countries of SADC (Southern African Development Community)”, he said.

The new link, he said, was part of TDM’s overall investment strategy, which is centered on completing the backbone of the National Transmission Network by extending fiber-optic connections to all provincial capitals.

The new connection will existing satellite connections if competitive rates are offered by Telkom SA. Installing it cost around US$1.2 million. The fiber-optic link is taking a lift from the gas pipeline between the gas treatment plant at Timane in the southern province of Inhambane and the South African town of Secunda. That pipeline has a branch carrying gas to Matola, the city that is contiguous with Maputo.

“Naturally it made good sense to take advantage of the building of the pipeline to extend the fiber optic cable from Maputo to the border with South Africa, and that is what happened”, said Carvalho. “This undertaking”, he added, “is an example of a successful partnership, where synergies were used to rationalize resources. African operators are continuing to build new back-haul routes to submarine cable landing points to increase diversity and resilience, and are expanding national backbones to delivering greater bandwidth to cities and towns inland from the coast.


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