34,000km BRICS cable project announced
International political organisation BRICS has unveiled plans for an ambitious submarine cable project connecting all of its member countries.
The 34,000km project will link members Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil to the US, with the governments of each nation giving their “in-principle support”. It will be a two fibre pair system, operating at a 12.8Tbps capacity.
The BRICS cable will also interconnect with the WACS cable on the west coast of Africa and the EASSy and SEACOM cables on the continent’s east coast. Its projected ready for service date is the middle to the end of 2014.
Plans for the BRICS cable have been considered since March 2011, a few months after South Africa was admitted into the economic block. They were approved following a positive response from governments and telecommunications providers. A consortium pricing model is considered the most likely to be adopted for the project.
Andrew Mthembu, chairman of i3 Africa and Imphandze Investments said: “We are willing to work with potential operators and investors to review the configuration, routing, capacity and project financing structure to take a new step in the viability of this project.”
The cable is designed to remove BRIC countries’ dependence on telecommunications hubs in Europe and the US, which has resulted in high costs and “the risk of potential interception of critical financial and security information by non-BRICS entities”.