South Sudan plans connection to east Africa’s subsea cables

South Sudan plans connection to east Africa’s subsea cables

South Sudan is reportedly planning to lay terrestrial fibre-optic cable this year to link its capital, Juba, with east Africa’s submarine cables.

Juma Stephen, undersecretary at the country’s Telecommunications and Postal Ministry, told Reuters that the government is looking to reduce South Sudan’s dependence on expensive satellite bandwidth in order to cut high internet costs.

"We are targeting this year, within this year, that we will be connected to the submarine cable," Stephen told Reuters. "Construction of fibre-optic cables will more than halve internet prices and make it twice as fast.”

Having only gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 after decades of civil war, South Sudan’s infrastructure is among the poorest in the world.

Wireless penetration in the country stood at 21.1% in September 2012 with 0% household broadband penetration and almost non-existent landline infrastructure.

South Sudan is also among the most expensive countries in Africa for internet use with the average retail price of approximately $4,000 per megabit, a source told the newswire.

All of South Sudan’s ISPs rely on satellite-based V-Sat, Wifi and WiMAX technology to provide services.

A feasibility study is now underway to decide whether to connect with subsea cables in Djibouti or Mombasa, Kenya.

Djibouti boasts connections to the Aden Djibouti, EASSy, EIG, SEACOM and SeaMeWe-3 cables. Kenya also lands EASSy and SEACOM as well as the TEAMS system.

South Sudan is also hoping to launch an internet domain .SS this year, to allow the government to set up its own email system.

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