The consortium members of the Africa-1 Submarine fiber-optic cable system including MTN Group, PCCW Global, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt (TE), and Telkom South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to proceed to the successful implementation of the project. Africa-1 is a consortium-funded submarine network system that will connect many African countries with countries in the Middle East and South Central Asia. The cable system will provide onward connectivity to Europe.
Consortium partners have a wealth of experience and expertise in deploying major cable systems, and they expect other carriers seeking to contribute and share in the success of the cable system to join in the consortium. The consortium members have access to landings at all major cable systems in the Middle East, which will facilitate efficient and effective connectivity between Africa-1 and the rest of the world.
Africa-1 is designed to have at least 3-fiber pairs and will have more than 12,000 km length along Africa’s East Coast towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan, with up to an additional 5,000 km for branches. Africa-1 will leverage the latest state-of-the-art 100G technology and will be initially equipped to accommodate several terabits of capacity. Along with comprehensive interconnection with other cable systems and fully Open Access at all cable landing points, Africa-1 will be technically and commercially be designed to be attractive, delivering easy accessibility and a unique low-latency direct express route. The Construction and Maintenance Agreement is expected to be signed by June 2016, with a target ready for service timeframe of the third quarter of 2017.
Africa is an important emerging marketplace with ever-increasing opportunities arising from the positive socio-economic developments in many African countries. As the cable system is designed to provide effective connectivity with many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe, the new cable system can become an important enabler and contributor to the economic progress of Africa in the coming years.
All consortium members are major telecommunications service providers who are committed to their customers and have strong records of success. Africa-1 is a naturally emerged extension to facilitate the increasing capacity demands of the Asia-Africa trade corridor with better levels of reliability to connect people and business in the world’s fast-growing economies. For the consortium members, the addressable market of African wholesale bandwidth customers is more promising than in many other regions. The weakness of Africa’s international bandwidth is due to the lack of new systems coming into Africa to enhance the competitiveness of the African market.
Africa-1 is a high capacity Telecommunication system funded by consortium members and is an initiative on the Eastern African seaboard that will complement existing cables now nearing their mid-life. Cable systems such as Africa-1 are necessary to ensure future resiliency and capacity requirements for the explosive digital broadband market that is required for Africa’s economy.