Ca­bling the In­dian Ocean

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­week.co.za

SEA­COM,, the in­ter­na­tional band­width ca­ble set to land in South Africa in June this year, is mak­ing swift progress and the first por­tions of deep­wa­ter ca­ble are now rest­ing on the seabed of the In­dian Ocean and Red Sea. The ca­ble has been laid from the edge of SA’s wa­ters to Mozam­bique, and ca­ble lay­ing is also pro­ceed­ing in the Red Sea from Egypt to­wards the coast of Ye­men.

A third ship is cur­rently be­ing loaded with the re­main­der of Sea­com’s deep­wa­ter ca­ble, which will be laid from In­dia to­wards Africa, where the three ca­ble seg­ments will be joined. (See broad­band sur­vey, page 47.)

Sea­com says that ca­ble lay­ing is tak­ing place in ac­cor­dance with en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions. In SA it re­cently trans­ferred pro­tected plant species from its ca­ble sta­tion site to the Um­lalazi Na­tional Park with the help of KwaZu­luNatal Wildlife rangers.

Says Sea­com pres­i­dent Brian Her­lihy: “We’re de­lighted to have ac­tual ca­ble in the wa­ter and the count­down to June has be­gun. We’ve made tremendous progress since our ground­break­ing in Mozam­bique last Novem­ber and we can now sense a real level of ex­cite­ment for Sea­com’s ar­rival.”

From June 2009, south­ern and east­ern Africa will fi­nally be­come truly con­nected to in­ter­na­tional broad­band net­works via Sea­com. The ef­fects are ex­pected to be felt al­most im­me­di­ately in SA, with fresh band­width driv­ing down costs.

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