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Africa’s new undersea cable goes live

The SEACOM cable, connecting South Africa and other countries along the east coast of Africa to the global Internet via a high-speed fibre optic network, goes live today. Gadget is covering the event, but we start with the official announcement.
Africa – 23 July 2009 – SEACOM today announced that its 1,28 Terabytes per second (Tb/s), 17,000 kilometres, submarine fibre optic cable system linking south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe has been completed and commissioned. Backhauls linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with the coastal landing stations have been established and SEACOM is also working with its national partners to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa shortly.
The launch of SEACOM opens up unprecedented opportunities, at a fraction of the current cost, as government, business leaders and citizens can now use the network as the platform to compete globally, drive economic growth and enhance the quality of life across the continent.

How the ship deployed by Tyco lays the cable, using a specialised
plough to dig a trench in the ocean floor and lay the cable inside the trench

Commenting on the finalisation of the Project, Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO, said: “Today is a historic day for Africa and marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world. Our tireless efforts of the past 24 months have come to fruition, and we are proud to be the first to provide affordable, high quality broadband capacity and experience to east African economies. Turning the switch ‘on’ creates a huge anticipation but ultimately, SEACOM will be judged on the changes that take place on the continent over the coming years.”
The unprecedented capacity, quality of bandwidth and connectivity brought to Africa by the SEACOM network will be demonstrated today at simultaneous events in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique where SEACOM, in conjunction with Cisco Systems, will provide media and invitees direct access to true broadband connectivity, carry out live broadcasts and interactive real-time presentations across the system.

Bouys are used to bring the cable to land

Yvon le Roux, Cisco VP for Africa, added: “Cisco and SEACOM share a common goal to enable accessible broadband across Africa while lowering the cost of communication to spur growth within urban and rural communities. We’re working with SEACOM to help transform Africa by outlining process change, building networks, and then providing the application services and expertise that support key services for citizens, such as education, healthcare, public safety, economic development, and national security. SEACOM will provide the catalyst for African consumers, business and government to realise the benefits of connectivity and collaboration across the globe.”
The demonstration has been made possible by the collaboration of SEACOM and Cisco Systems who have jointly built a voice, data and video platform, relying on the SEACOM network, to create a collaborative environment. This first-hand experience of the high-speed capabilities will take place through a one-gigabit-per-second live international connection at all locations as well as a live high-definition video feed over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to interconnect representatives and dignitaries across the five countries.
“Today is a momentous day for all associated with SEACOM. Milestones such as this one are unique to any company and even more so to any country or region. It also clearly demonstrates that provided with an enabling environment, the private sector can efficiently mobilise the resources required to deliver complex and expansive projects for the benefit of our people”, observed SEACOM’s Chairman, Mr Nizar Juma. “The SEACOM cable will change the lives of every man, woman and child in the countries connected by making previously unavailable technology accessible to everyone. We truly look forward to the positive utilisation of the cable and the realisation of infinite social and economic possibilities unleashed by our arrival”, concluded Juma. – Issued by SEACOM

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