Bandwidth cost to fall with West Africa Cable

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 02-05-2012

The price of Internet connection is set to drop substantially in West African nations as a new US$650 million undersea fibre optic cable system goes live on 11 May and makes the prospect of online video viewing more attractive in the region.

The 14,000km West Africa Cable System (WACS) will connect Africa, Angola, Cameroun, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK with a design capacity of 5.12Tbps.

"The WACS cable is here. It landed some time in the middle of last year. The capacity is bigger than any submarine cable that has landed in Nigeria and we expect that it would provide greater bandwidth, greater redundancy and for more latency for data services," Wale Goodluck, corporate services executive, MTN Nigeria is quoted as saying in Nigeria's Leadership.

In total, 15 African nations will draw bandwidth capacity from the cable system. Landlocked Botswana's state telecommunications provider will co-locate services with the Telecom Namibia operated landing station after the two countries formed a partnership each raising $37.5 million to invest in the consortium.

"The undersea cable system will provide high speed and reliable connectivity in the 15 African countries that are part of WACS, pushing them to the level of the developed countries of the north. The economies of today are largely driven by internet and other ICT connections, which are enablers of faster global connectivity," said Amangwe Madisakwana, spokesperson for the Botswana ministry.

The system provides the first direct connection to international submarine cable networks for Namibia, Togo, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and complements the already operational SAT3, Glo1 and Main One Cable systems in West Africa.

The WACS consortium includes MTN; Angola Cables; Broadband Infraco; Cable & Wireless Worldwide; Congo Telecom; Société Congolaise des Postes et Télécommunications (SCPT); PT Communicacoes; Togo Telecom; Tata Communications; Telecom Namibia; Telkom SA; and Vodacom Group.

Alcatel-Lucent won the contract to lay the cable in April 2009, and reportedly completed the installation in February 2012.