The long-awaited 1,28Tbps Seacom submarine fibre optic cable has been completed and commissioned, with backhauls to Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala all established. The first demonstration of the cable in action is set to take place this afternoon at Neotel's Midrand data centre.
Seacom is also working with its national partners to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa.
Brian Herlihy, Seacom CEO, says: “Today is a historic day for Africa and marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world.
"Our efforts of the past 24 months have come to fruition, and we are proud to be the first to provide affordable, high quality broadband capacity and experience to east African economies. Turning the switch ‘on’ creates a huge anticipation but ultimately, Seacom will be judged on the changes that take place on the continent over the coming years.”
This afternoon, simultaneous events in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique, hosted by Seacom and Cisco, will provide media direct access to true broadband connectivity, carrying out live broadcasts and interactive realtime presentations across the system.
Yvon le Roux, Cisco vice-president for Africa, adds: “Cisco and Seacom share a common goal to enable accessible broadband across Africa while lowering the cost of communication to spur growth within urban and rural communities.
"We’re working with Seacom to help transform Africa by outlining process change, building networks, and then providing the application services and expertise that support key services for citizens, such as education, healthcare, public safety, economic development, and national security.
"Seacom will provide the catalyst for African consumers, business and government to realise the benefits of connectivity and collaboration across the globe.”
The Seacom's joins the SAT-3 undersea cable, up until now South Africa's only link with the outside world, and will effectively double the available capacity.
Seacom and the soon-to-be announced Nepad cable connect South Africa to East Africa and then Europe and Asia. The WACS (West African Cable System), which is also underway, will connect the country to Europe via West Africa.
This afternoon's demonstration by Seacom and Cisco will feature a voice, data and video platform, relying on the Seacom network, to create a collaborative environment. The experience of the high-speed capabilities will take place through a one-gigabit-per-second live international connection at all locations as well as a live high-definition video feed over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to interconnect representatives and dignitaries across the five countries.
“Today is a momentous day for all associated with Seacom," says Seacom chairman Nizar Juma. "Milestones such as this one are unique to any company and even more so to any country or region. It also clearly demonstrates that provided with an enabling environment, the private sector can efficiently mobilise the resources required to deliver complex and expansive projects for the benefit of our people.
"The Seacom cable will change the lives of every man, woman and child in the countries connected by making previously unavailable technology accessible to everyone. We truly look forward to the positive utilisation of the cable and the realisation of infinite social and economic possibilities unleashed by our arrival."