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New mega broadband cable planned for SA

Johannesburg – Broadband connectivity in South Africa is set for a boost after Telkom and MTN inked an agreement on Monday to build a new cable along Africa’s eastern coastline.

The two South African telecoms companies along with Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Telecom Egypt (TE) and Hong Kong based ICT firm PCCW Global have signed a memorandum of understanding to build Africa-1.

The Africa-1 submarine cable system is planned to stretch 12 000km along Africa’s eastern coastline towards Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan.

A construction and maintenance agreement is expected to be signed by June with the cable planned to go live in the third quarter of 2017, said the statement.

“In addition to complementing our existing high-bandwidth cable systems in the region, Africa-1 will provide more diversity for the large volume broadband traffic from South Africa to the rest of the world,” said Casper Kondo-Chihaka, the managing executive of network engineering and build at Telkom, in a statement.

John Unterhorst, a group executive for global carrier services and group network/IP projects at MTN Group, said: “Africa-1 will ensure future resilience and capacity requirements for the explosive digital broadband future, so vital for Africa’s economic and social development.”

The move by Telkom and MTN to get involved in the Africa-1 cable system comes after a series of cables have connected to Africa in recent years.

Since 2009, South Africa has been connected to the likes of Seacom, EASSy (The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System) and WACS (West Africa Cable System).

Last year, MTN also said it intended to connect South Africa to the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) cable, which currently connects to West African countries such as Nigeria.

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