South Africans, along with internet users in the rest of Africa, may soon experience faster broadband as a result of a Seacom network upgrade, writes DUNCAN ALFREDS.
“This new investment will allow us to offer higher-quality services to our customers, so that they, in turn, can provide high quality services to their users within and outside Africa,” said Mark Tinka, Seacom’s head of engineering, in a statement.
The company says it has upgraded its IP (Internet Protocol) and MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network. This means that Seacom can use existing hardware to deliver a scalable offering to service providers.
Seacom also said it expects service providers to have lower cost access to 1 Gigabit (gb), 10gb, and 100gb Ethernet ports, which allows the company to future-proof its technology.
“It will also offer us improved levels of operational efficiency and scalability, ease administration and provide a growth path for the future. We will easily be able to scale our IP/MPLS network up to multiple terabits of capacity and more, giving us plenty of headroom for growth,” said Tinka in a statement.
The Seacom upgrade comes as demand for data is growing in Africa.
In South Africa alone, mobile data traffic is expected to grow 11-fold from 2014 to 2019, driven by a projected 48.2 million mobile users by 2019, according to a forecast released by networking company Cisco.
Seacom was one of the first providers to offer wholesale internet access via its 17 000km submarine cable in 2009. Since then, the company has also migrated to offer end-user services in a number of African countries struggling with last mile connectivity.
A number of competing cable providers have also made landfall in Africa, including the West Africa Cable System (Wacs), the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (Eassy) and ACE (African Coast to Europe) among others.