MTN and Telkom are two of the five companies that have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to build a new submarine cable system, called Africa-1, which will connect Africa with the Middle East and South Central Asia, and provide onward connectivity to Europe.
The cable is expected to extend more than 12 000km along Africa’s east coast towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, with up to an additional 5 000km for branches.
The five companies in the consortium, namely, MTN Group, PCCW Global, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt (TE) and Telkom South Africa, say that the cable will be the fastest and most reliable connectivity between Africa, the Middle East, and South Central Asia.
Construction on the cable is expected to begin later in 2016 and be completed by the end of 2017. It will have a three-fibre core and use 100G technology. Open access will be provided at all cable landing points and it will also offer interconnection with other cable systems. Once complete, the cable will be equipped to accommodate several terabits of capacity.
“Africa-1 will provide more diversity for the large volume broadband traffic from SA to the rest of the world. This cable will provide the means to fulfil our role as champions of national broadband access and act as catalyst to stimulate further penetration of Internet connectivity for the entire country,” says Telkom managing executive of network engineering and build, Casper Kondo-Chihaka.