Last year, Liquid Telecom announced that it was going to start building its own 10,000 kilometre undersea cable, linking up Africa to the Middle East and Europe. This is one of the most ambitious projects we are yet to witness in terms of Internet service provision in Africa.
By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi
Sources close to Liquid Telecom’s operations in Kenya, Tanzania and Djibouti confirmed that operations are now underway to start executing the project which will see Africa getting a redundant Internet link to the Middle East through setting up a 10 000km fiber optic undersea cable.
The operator which currently has strongholds in Zimbabwe under Liquid Telecom Zim and recently expanded its operations into Botswana after partnering the Botswana Power Company to form Liquid Telecom Botswana. The Internet Service Provider now holds the most data hosting capacity of 40Gbps while Zimbabwe is currently using 19Gbps only leaving the operator with an excess capacity of 21Gbps.
The proposed undersea cable deal will see Liquid Telecom increasing its capacity into Terabytes giving Africa the much anticipated unlimited access to Internet to all businesses in the near future. Liquid already boast of a robust inland fiber optic ring which spans across the continent from this SADC region cutting deep into the far North and West Africa.
Submarine cables are the major Internet gateways linking continents as another alternatives from using very expensive satellite systems. These fiber optic cables are the modern telecommunication transmission mode of providing super fast internet links between continents since they are not affected by any form of weather aided by their speed capacity.
Taking a closer look into other undersea cable service providers, shareholders of The East African Marine Cable System (TEAMS) have been approached with a proposal to contribute $20 million to the construction.
TEAMS is one of the four undersea cables that lands in Kenya and is co-owned by the government and the private sector.
“We’re in discussions for the DARE cable but the parties are still consulting internally on the budget. There have been no firm commitments yet,” said TEAMS general manager Joel Tanui.
The cable will serve Kenya, Tanzania, Djibouti, Yemen and Somalia. Earlier this year, Djibouti Telecom said that it had signed agreements for the cable’s construction and maintenance with seven telecom firms, none of which were Kenyan. However, the company said that there was still a possibility to extend the connectivity to Mombasa.
DARE will have a capacity of 20 terabits, by far outstripping all other cables that link up to Kenya. Slated for completion in May 2018, the cable will act as a redundancy to the existing network of undersea cables and help meet growing demand for Internet capacity locally.
Mr Tanui noted that while TEAMS connects to international traffic through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), DARE will connect through Djibouti, providing an alternative route in case of downtime on the UAE connection.
DARE is also reflective of growing investments in international fibre optic connectivity within the region.