SEACOM, Africa’s leading telecommunications and managed services provider, has announced it had gone live on the Equiano subsea cable following the cable’s landing in Cape Town, South Africa, in August 2022. SEACOM offers Private Line services with latency speeds of +/-110ms between South Africa and Europe, making it the fastest direct route between the continents.
SEACOM services via the cable will be available from today. This comes after SEACOM fulfilled the necessary equipment and installation requirements with the help of its technology partner, Infinera. The cable now forms part of SEACOM’s subsea cable ecosystem surrounding Africa, which is supported by a continent-wide IP-MPLS network.
“This launch results from years of project negotiations and planning, driven by a goal to be ready to offer quality service to our customers from day one. The Equiano subsea cable represents a new stage in Africa’s digital transformation, meeting Africa’s growing data requirements, enabling cross-border digital trade, and offering citizens and enterprises new opportunities,” says Prenesh Padayachee, SEACOM’s Group Chief Digital Officer.
“Infinera is delighted to partner with SEACOM to light the Equiano subsea cable with our industry-leading ICE6 800G technology,” said Nick Walden, Infinera Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales. “With the industry’s highest spectral efficiency, ICE6 enables SEACOM to maximise the number of high-speed services they can offer, providing multiple terabits of capacity on this critical subsea link.”
Initially announced in 2019 by Google, the Equiano subsea cable is one of the highest-capacity cables serving Africa. The cable stretches 15,000 kilometres from Portugal to South Africa, boasts twelve fibre pairs, and has a design capacity of 144 Tbps. In addition to its landing station in Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, the cable also has landing stations in Africa, in Rupert’s Bay, St. Helena; Lomé, Togo; Lagos, Nigeria; and Swakopmund, Namibia. From these stations, branching units will extend connectivity to other African countries.
The launch comes after SEACOM has completed extensive work to support the new connection, including upgrades to its transmission and IP network both locally and internationally.
As part of the service available to wholesale and enterprise clients from March, SEACOM will offer an express route from Cape Town to Lisbon. This means clients will enjoy high-speed connectivity without having their data rerouted to other countries during transmission.
“With the help of Infinera as our long-standing partner and equipment provider for our backhaul network in South Africa, SEACOM has positioned itself as the go-to Pan-African telecommunications provider with direct access to the European market. The Equiano subsea cable serves as an alternative route to and from the continent. This means we can accommodate even greater volumes of data traffic and ensure greater uptime availability. Clients can rest easy with the assurance that the available capacity will match their future growth plans and deliver high-performance results,” Padayachee explains.
In addition to impacting connectivity in the countries in which it lands, such as faster Internet speeds and an improved user experience, the Equiano subsea cable is also expected to have a major economic impact in these countries. According to a Regional Economic Impact Assessment by Africa Practice (https://apo-opa.info/3TmEoOH), commissioned by Google and published in 2021, the cable will increase South Africa’s GDP by $5.8 billion and create 180,000 indirect jobs by 2025.
“Internet penetration and the increased availability of digital services have been proven to directly affect economic growth and prosperity. With this in mind, it’s imperative that we work quickly and efficiently to offer the service our clients need and the quality of service they expect. SEACOM is very proud to be at the forefront of this development, and we look forward to how it will enable us to expand our operations and product offerings across Africa,” Padayachee concludes.