Fibre optic system testing to commence

March 7, 2009



Kenya and other Subsaharan Africa countries will start enjoying cheap broadband communication services by June this year after a submarine cable laid in the Indian Ocean is activated.  

The laying of the 15,000 kilometre fibre optic undersea cable came to an end Saturday after its arrival at the Mombasa landing station.

The cable 100 percent owned by the private sector through Sea Submarine Communication Limited (SEACOM) was pulled out of the water to landing station where it will be linked with submarine transmission equipments for distribution to mainland.

SEACOM station manager Mahmoud Noor said testing of the system will start next week after all branching units are connected in the high sea before the commercial launch in June 2009.

He said 15,000 km fibre optic undersea cable, will link South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia to India and Europe at a cost 700 million US dollars.

The cable with a capacity of 1.28 tellerbite is the first submarine cable landing to the subsaharan Africa coast.

Noor said the cable is being pulled from London to Marseille in France, coming down to Egypt, then Djibouti, to Mombasa then to Darlesalam, Maputo and finally to Mtunzini in South Africa.

The station manager said SEACOM, which is privately funded and over three quarter African owned, said the  undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting east and southern African economic growth.

He said the Mombasa landing station will also serve Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Southern Sudan and ethiopia which, at the moment, rely entirely on expensive satellite connections.