First under sea cable for Africa

Iñaki Ferreras | 27-07-2010

Africa has a new communications link with Europe bringing together Portugal and the African country of Nigeria via the Spanish island of Tenerife.

Infrastructure has been built by the company Main One which has been in charge of the deployment of the under-sea fibre optic cable between Portugal and the African country. It is hope that the project bridges, literally and metaphorically, the digital divide between the African continent and Europe.

The total project consists of 7,000 km of cable and has cost about US$400 million.At the presentation of the project, the first simultaneous video conference between Africa, Europe and India took place. Previously, something like this was not possible before due to scarce capacity. The cost of communications transmission between the continents will be lower.

The system will offer 1.92 Terabytes per second of broadband which is typically equivalent to about ten times the speed the region offers currently. After the first phase of implementation, connections will be completed to Casablanca, Tenerife, Dakar, Abidjan and Bonny. In the future cable will reach down to Libreville, Boma, Luanda and Cape Town.

Tenerife will be present in Main One's project through its future connection with the NAPWACI, which is a project by Tenerife's municipal authorities searching to develop a neutral data centre to concentrate and distribute international connectivity. Also planned is base infrastructure for local information technology companies interested in competing abroad. At the same time the centre will serve international companies wanting to operate in Western Africa from an EU territory.