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Contract awarded for 16Tbps SAEx undersea cable

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The long-rumoured SAEx undersea cable linking South African and Brazil took a step closer to reality this week with the award of a supply contract.

eFive Telecoms (Pty) Ltd has awarded TE SubCom with the supply contract for its proposed undersea cable system, the South Atlantic Express (SAEx).

The 9,900km cable system will comprise two-fibre pairs, at 80x100Gbs per fibre pair, for a total capacity of 16Tbps. It will link South Africa andBrazil, from where onward fast access to North America and Asia will be possible.

En route to Fortaleza in Brazil, SAEx will connect Mtunzini, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town,in South Africa: with an unrepeatered spur to St Helena Island, and a branching unit included to enable further connectivity to West Africa.

“SAEx will provide the most direct routing and lowest latency from South Africa to the Americas as well as high speed communications between East and West, placing South Africa at the hub of this network, whilst enhancing the connectivity and reliability of the global submarine cable network “” said eFive’s CEO, Dr Ros Thomas.

The SAEx system will provide a ‚””wet link‚”” between the east and west coast submarine cable systems supporting southern Africa, and ‚””restoration for domestic terrestrial networks‚””. eFive says it satisfies the need for a new route needed to safeguard traffic considered vital for the global economy thus offering a clear differentiation from existing routes, and optimises the value of existing Indian Ocean cable systems.

eFive Telecoms, is a South African-registered company founded in 2009. It says it has been issued with both the required licenses to deploy a nationwide network and to operate a landing station. The license is valid for a period of twenty years from issue and can be renewed by ICASA.

eFive said it could not yet disclose its funders. It also said it could not provide the exact cost of the project until it reaches ‚””financial close‚””, likely to be between the first quarter of 2013 and June 2013.

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