Erle Frayne Argonza
Building cable systems of a trans-continental extent is surely a tall order for the countries of Africa. While certain opportunities are there to proceed with the project, certain ‘barriers to entry’ are also present such as geological constraints, wars and disruptive human activities, and lack of financing.
Finally, as far as the financing is concerned, at least two (2) of the constraints will finally be addressed: circumventing geological-natural constraints, and solving financial limitations. As per latest update, the aggregates of finances are now being organized to address the constraints.
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Finances ‘almost there’ for west African super-cable
Source: Engineering News
3 June 2008 | EN
The new cable should cut prices for broadband access
The financial mechanisms for a new ‘super-cable’ — likely to be the world’s longest undersea cable — are almost in place.
The African West Coast Cable project — costing US$510 million — is headed up by South Africa’s Broadband Infraco, and will run from South Africa to the United Kingdom, with branching connections to at least ten countries along Africa’s west coast.
The launch is scheduled for sometime in the first half of 2010. The capacity of the cable will be brought on in stages, as the demand for broadband Internet infrastructure increases. At the time of launch, around 320 gigabytes a second will be available, growing to 3,840 gigabytes a second at peak performance.
This is much larger than the existing SAT-3/West Coast Submarine Cable System which currently connects South Africa to Europe at 120 gigabytes per second.
A key feature of the project is that the cable will be set-up on an open-access basis, allowing for a number of shareholders on the same system. “The idea is to foster an environment where all participants operate as though they had built and own the cable.”
Dave Smith, Infraco CEO, says such a basis “is necessary to fundamentally alter the way infrastructure is operated and priced in Africa”.