Neotel is to land the new Sea Cable System in South Africa, providing international links to Europe and India and linking Mocambique, Tanzania, Kenya and UAE (United Arab Emirates) along the route.
The second network operator has signed a Cable Development Agreement with Seacom to land the new cable system, which is expected to be commissioned and ready for service by early 2009.
The cable has a design capacity or 1,28Tbps to cope for demand through 2010 and beyond.
Neotel and Seacom, the developer of a private submarine fibre optic cable, have agreed to commercial terms for the partnership of landing the SEA Cable System in South Africa. In terms of the deal, Neotel will own the cable landing station and all facilities within the South African territory.
The agreement also ensures the operation of the cable will meet current and future regulations, in line with the Electronic Communications Act of 2006; and Neotel will operate the facilities on an open access basis.
The two parties believe this will stimulate the South African international bandwidth market and make affordable bandwidth available to local customers.
"The structure of the project is established to act as an international complement to the national carriers of East and South Africa," says Brian Herlihy, president of Seacom.
"Seacom believes that these markets have high pent up demand, due to the current high price of bandwidth. This cable will offer international capacity on lease and IRU basis (Indefeasible Rights of Usage) at costs that are 70% to 80% less than the current satellite pricing.
"The expected future demand for bandwidth is expected to grow exponentially, as file sharing and streaming video applications become accessible to the retail user at an affordable price.
“International submarine fibre optic cables are a necessary complement for the emerging last mile technologies such as 3G, WiMAX and fibre to the home; removing the international capacity bottleneck that exists in the region today," he says.
The Seacom and Neotel agreement requires complete open access for all carriers to co-locate their equipment directly on the cable. The companies are also in an agreement to provide a backhaul solution to Johannesburg to remove the backhaul bottleneck and permit customers to access the cable directly in a point of presence in South Africa’s major business centre.
“Neotel is committed to bringing in a new era in the telecoms industry of South Africa, and we aim to reduce the cost of doing business in the country through better value-for-money, leading edge, telecoms products," says Ajay Pandey, MD of Neotel. "A key enabler to this objective is the availability of multiple international routes connecting South Africa to the rest of the globe. The Seacom project is an initiative towards this end."