Confusion surrounds the Seacom undersea cable, due to start offering cut-price international broadband to South Africans as early as 2009, with news that the Department of Communications may try to block it.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that the Director-General of the Department of Communications, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, is unhappy with the representation of local investors in Seacom and wishes to see more involvement from South African companies.
However, it is understood that second network operator Neotel – which this month signed an agreement to land the cable in South Africa – would have ownership in the South African leg.
At time of going to press, the Department of Communications was unable to specify exactly how much local investment it would want Seacom to have, and how far Neotel's involvement in the cable project would go towards its target.
A statement is expected this afternoon.
It is believed that Neotel would be able to offer rates about 80% cheaper than the current pricing by using the Seacom cable.
Seacom is ready to start laying cable as early as next month, connecting the eastern side of Africa, and South Africans could benefit from increased connectivity and reduced rates by 2009.