|daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on one|
|Business, Economy and Infrastructure Our architecture, infrastructure, transport, economy and other related discussions|
||Thread Tools||Display Modes|
|January 19th, 2008, 01:59 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Behind you
Likes (Received): 437
African marine cable construction under way
|January 19th, 2008, 02:27 PM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Cape Town
Likes (Received): 369
Is EASSy dead in the water?
17 January, 2008
Apart from a few promises from the EASSy consortium not much seems to be happening with the submarine cable project.
The East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) has long been punted as the solution to East Africa’s international bandwidth woes – promising to bring affordable fiber connectivity to one of most bandwidth starved areas in the world.
The project last year gained support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank. The IFC further announced that various institutions signed agreements to invest in EASSy, a big boost for the project.
Total project cost is estimated at $235 million and the financing not covered by the IFC and the other institutions will be provided by 25 private telecommunications operators who will run the cable as a consortium.
According to the EASSy consortium the cable will run 10 000 kilometers from the continent’s southern tip to the African horn, connecting South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan.
A further 13 adjoining countries will also be linked to the system as terrestrial backbone networks are completed through a broader World Bank Group initiative: these include Botswana, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
EASSy has however not had an easy ride.
Since the project’s inception five years ago it has missed one deadline after the other, and has lost the support of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
And despite the support of the IFC, the project still seems to be struggling to make true progress.
The EASSy consortium said in a November 2007 press release that construction will begin in mid-December, and the cable, known as EASSy, is expected to be fully operational in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.
When EASSy was recently quizzed on whether construction has in fact started and whether there had been any progress not one of the consortium leaders wanted to comment. It is also not certain whether EASSy has already done a marine survey which is an essential part of any submarine cable system.
Another potential blow to the project is cable costs. Rumours are doing the rounds that Alcatel may have increased the cable construction costs for EASSy, something which if true can put the project’s future at risk.
Industry sentiment regarding the EASSy project is not overly positive. Some industry experts feel that the project is dead in the water – not only due to a lack of support, but also because the price of international connectivity on EASSy is expected to far exceed that of SEACOM – a competing cable system on the East Coast of Africa.
While bandwidth on EASSy itself is planned to be affordable, uncertainty remains regarding onward bandwidth to destinations like London as well as connectivity from the landing station to a suitable point of presence.
In South Africa most companies and first tier ISPs may be looking at connectivity from Johannesburg to London which means it involves three legs – from Johannesburg to the EASSy landing station, then from the landing station along the EASSy cable itself and then onward bandwidth from the cable’s last termination point to London.
Unless the total cost of this connection is less than that of SEACOM – which is set to be operational in mid 2009 – EASSy will be doomed.
Some experts have already expressed this sentiment which has been fuelled by the uncertainty about the cost of onward bandwidth and potential exclusivity agreements on providing half circuits on EASSy in their respective countries to certain operators like Telkom.
EASSy has however denied rumours about exclusivity agreements on the cable system, saying that “…albeit that Telkom provides the cable landing station for the EASSy landing, it has no relevance regarding who may / may not use the station but is simply a matter of being the supplier of the cable station facility to the EASSy Parties."
“… neither Telkom nor any other SA Operator for that matter will have an exclusive right to provide bandwidth in and out of South Africa.”
SEACOM recently announced that after a successful marine survey it has started manufacturing the physical cable, fiber optic and repeaters, and added that the project is on track to provide South Africa with more affordable international bandwidth by July 2009.
|January 20th, 2008, 08:13 PM||#3|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Long Beach, CA
Likes (Received): 58
good news, its about time the that area of the world starts to catch up.
The late great Bob Marley