Work starts on building first South Atlantic subsea cable

24 April 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


The company installing the first cable linking South America with Africa has completed its marine survey and has started installing the shore-end cable on the African side.

The South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) will connect Luanda in Angola with Fortaleza in Brazil, and it will link to major subsea cables at both landing points.

Angola Cables, the carrier that will operate the cable, said that SACS will connect with the Monet system – which runs to the US – at Fortaleza and with the West Africa Cable System (WACS), which connects the UK with South Africa, at Luanda.

“We have worked closely with our partners and suppliers to ensure the highest possible value of the SACS network for our customers," said Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables. “As part of our global connectivity strategy, SACS will offer the first direct, high-capacity southern transatlantic connection.”

SACS is due to go into service in the middle of 2018. It will have four fibre pairs and a capacity of 40Tbps. The cable will cut latency between Africa and South America from 300ms to 63ms, Angola Cables said last year when it gave details of the $130 million project. Until SACS is in operation all traffic has to run through north-western Europe and the US.

Angola Cables signed a contract with NEC in early April 2017 to construct and lay the cable, which will be 6,165km long. The cable is funded by Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation with the support of Nippon Export and Investment Insurance through the Banco de Desenvolvimento de Angola.

Artur Mendes, chief commercial officer of Angola Cables, said: “These key milestones illustrate that the SACS cable is on target for completion as Angola Cables continues to build sales momentum for delivery of services on SACS by the middle of 2018. Increasingly, customers are turning to the southern transatlantic route for diversification and security. SACS, coupled with Monet and the existing WACS cable, provide unparalleled value for which we are seeing very high demand in the marketplace.”

Angola Cables is one of the shareholders in WACS, which has 12 landing points on the west coast of Africa and two in Europe.