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WACS gives Infraco new shine

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The launch of the West African Cable System has enabled Broadband Infraco to offer 70% of its share of the cable system to projects of national interest, with the remainder going towards supporting other government projects requiring international network access.

The commercial launch of the West African Cable System (WACS) last week also represents the beginning of the ‚brand revitalisation and re-launch campaign‚ of Broadband Infraco.

WACS was initiated by the South African government as a collaborative effort of African governments and leading Telecommunications operators within and outside of South Africa.

Broadband Infraco has invested in WACS, which is a Tier 1 investment, thereby entitling this company to a 11.4% of the total capacity on the WACS system.

Said the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Ben Martins: ‚Through Broadband Infraco, the South African government is proud to be a pioneering partner on the West African Cable System (WACS), a cable that will light up large areas of the west coast of Africa. For the first time in Africa’s history, open access connectivity will liberalise African ICT markets in Namibia: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Togo.‚

One of the main objectives of the WACS investment was to secure international connectivity and capacity in support of the projects of key national importance (that required high capacity international connectivity), being championed by various state vehicles, chief among them being the active work of the Department of Science and Technology.

70% of the Broadband Infraco owned WACS capacity will be dedicated towards projects of

key national interest and the remainder will be dedicated towards supporting other government projects that require international capacity and including ensuring commercial availability of capacity to other telecommunications operators who require wholesale capacity.

Says the Chief Executive Officer of Broadband Infraco, Ms Puleng Sejanamane: ‚The company is in the process of rolling out an IP/MPLS core network between Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban (initially) in order to provide customers with the option of buying long distance IP/Ethernet services as an alternative (or in addition to) SDH or Ethernet/SDH‚ .

‚The benefit of this is that IP/Ethernet technology is not tied to SDH capacities and therefore allows for smaller increments of bandwidth such as 100Mbps. It also means that customers will require less expensive equipment to be connected to the Broadband Infraco network and customers can also expect future offerings which allow multiple customers to co-locate network, server and storage equipment and interconnect to its points of presence through various container hosting solutions‚ .

The WACS Structure:

Roll-out of WACS connectivity currently looks like this:

I. National Connectivity:

Broadband Infraco has served as an enabler in respect of the following:

‚ Main backhaul provider to the Second Network Operator (Neotel):

‚ Indirect Backhaul provider to Cell C and State IT Agency:

‚ Only connectivity for MTN to the EASSY undersea cable:

‚ Backhaul connectivity for a major route in the golden triangle for Vodacom:

II. Regional Connectivity

Broadband Infraco provides for 5 of the 6 bordering countries connectivity enablement and hence the enablement of regional operators likes: Liquid Telecoms, Seacom, Internet Namibia etc. Regional connectivity has been established to the following countries: Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Plans are defined to extend connectivity further to Botswana such that the entire SADC region is connected.

III. International Connectivity

International Connectivity is a function of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) marine cable implementation of which Broadband Infraco owns a 11.1% stake as a Tier 1 investor. The majority of the capacity is intended to support key project of national interest e.g. SANREN, SKA, KAT etc.

IV. Projects of National Interest

Square Kilometre Array (SKA): Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT).Broadband Infraco, in conjunction with Neotel, successfully completed the initial phase for the SKA project which is the SALT/KAT (SANReN and KAT) project, in October 2011. The capacity required by the CSIR (Meraka) is 2 x 10GE services. The route spanned over 300km i.e. from Cape Town to Laingsburg, Sutherland, Hutchinson finishing at Carnavon. Broadband Infraco commenced with deploying its network infrastructure in March 2011, using the latest DWDM equipment for this project. The project was completed successfully and handed over to the CSIR in October 2011.

V. Provinces and Municipalities

Broadband Infraco has commenced strategic engagements with both municipalities and provinces in a drive to get involved with all provinces and major municipalities.

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