SEACOM makes investment in South Africa

26 July 2011 | Kavit Majithia


African subsea cable operator SEACOM has announced an additional investment in its South African operation to address the rising demand for broadband and applications.

A relatively small capital injection of approximately $15 million is expected to contribute to the purchase of physical optical fibre links from Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) and also to install the equipment required for SEACOM to successfully carry out its own operations in the region. This includes managing its network linking KwaZulu Natal’s coast to SEACOM’s PoP’s in Gauteng.

“South Africa continues to offer tremendous growth opportunities and this investment confirms SEACOM’s view that adequate infrastructure will ensure the market can absorb new capacity within record time,” said Brian Herlihy, CEO at SEACOM.

SEACOM’s attempt to deliver the fastest capacity includes lighting 100Gbps of fibre, using 10Gbps technology, on an additional 20 waves which are expected to be lit within the next year. The cable operator says this transmission will give the new link a design capacity of over 8Tbps.

“This new capacity will benefit the end-user by enabling SEACOM clients to bring new content rich products to market in a reliable and economical way,” said Suveer Ramdhani, head of product strategy at SEACOM. “The scale of the capacity we are making available on the route is yet another first in Africa.”

Content rich applications include an increasing take-up of cloud computing by enterprise customers, HD video streaming and IPTV services. SEACOM said it has also recently launched its IP platform to drive content in Africa and host other content internationally.

With so many upgrades being made to cable systems so soon after launching, Dobek Pater, senior analyst at Africa Analysis believes many of the operators have had to adopt business models to cope with the amount of demand. “On the scale that data has been taken up, operators have certainly been taken by surprise,” he said. “For people that had no access to content whatsoever, the retail decreases emerging on the market has meant a much larger take up, and operators, like SEACOM, have had to address this.”