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Seacom now live on Google's Equiano subsea cable

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Telecommunications services provider Seacom has announced that it is live on Google's Equiano cable.

The company going live follows the subsea cable's landing in the South African city of Cape Town in August 2022.

The Pan-African telecom service provider said its services will be available via the cable from March 15, 2023, after it fulfilled the necessary equipment and installation requirements with the help of its technology partner, Infinera.

Seacom explained that it offers private line services with latency speeds of +/-110ms between South Africa and Europe, making it the fastest direct route between the continents.

Google's Equiano now forms part of Seacom's subsea cable ecosystem that surrounds Africa and is supported by a continent-wide IP-MPLS network.

"This launch results from years of project negotiations and planning, driven by a goal to be ready to offer quality service to our customers from day one," said Seacom's group chief digital officer, Prenesh Padayachee.

"The Equiano subsea cable represents a new stage in Africa's digital transformation, meeting Africa's growing data requirements, enabling cross-border digital trade, and offering citizens and enterprises new opportunities," Padayachee added.

"Infinera is delighted to partner with Seacom to light the Equiano subsea cable with our industry-leading ICE6 800G technology," said Infinera's senior VP for worldwide sales, Nick Walden.

Google's Equiano now forms part of Seacom's subsea cable system around Africa.   (Source: Google).
Google's Equiano now forms part of Seacom's subsea cable system around Africa.
(Source: Google).

"With the industry's highest spectral efficiency, ICE6 enables Seacom provider to maximize the number of high-speed services they can offer, providing multiple terabits of capacity on this critical subsea link," Walden continued.

The Google-backed subsea cable's $14 billion journey began in Lisbon, Portugal in 2019 and had several stops along the western coast of Africa.

In addition to the cable landing in Melkbosstrand in South Africa, the cable has landing stations in Swakopmund, Namibia, Togo, Nigeria and St Helena to connect Africa with Europe.

From these stations, branching units will extend connectivity to other African countries, Seacom added.

Seacom's impact on African connectivity

Seacom said that the launch was made possible after the completion of extensive work to support the new connection, including upgrades to its transmission and IP network both locally and internationally.

It noted that as part of the service available to wholesale and enterprise clients from March, it will offer an express route from Cape Town to Lisbon.

This means clients will enjoy high-speed connectivity without having their data rerouted to other countries during transmission.

"With the help of Infinera as our long-standing partner and equipment provider for our backhaul network in South Africa, Seacom has positioned itself as the go-to pan-African telecommunications provider with direct access to the European market," Padayachee explained.

He added that the Equiano subsea cable serves as an alternative route to and from the continent, meaning Seacom can accommodate even greater volumes of data traffic and ensure greater uptime availability.

Seacom's African expansion plans

Padayachee in December told Connecting Africa that Seacom had plans to expand its footprint into West Africa and wants to set up a hub in either Nigeria or Ghana towards the end of 2023.

Furthermore, the company also has a strategic alliance with Meta's 2Africa – another subsea cable system coming to the continent.

Seacom launched Africa's first privately owned broadband submarine cable system along the continent's eastern and southern coasts in 2009.

2Africa was announced by Facebook (Meta) back in 2020 and comes with a list of high-profile backers including Vodafone, Orange, Telecom Egypt, Saudi Telecom (STC), China Mobile International, West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) and MTN's wholesale operation, MTN GlobalConnect.

The 2Africa system is expected to go live in 2023/2024, connecting Europe and the Middle East to Africa via 46 landings in 33 countries. 2Africa will be the world's largest submarine cable system, and it touched down in South Africa in December 2022 and landed in Mahajanga in Madagascar in February 2023, as it works its way up Africa's East Coast.

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*Top image is of Seacom Chief Digital Officer Prenesh Padayachee. (Source: Seacom)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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