By Kato Mivule
February 16, 2009
African countries along the Indian Ocean coast are set to get a boost with high speed broadband internet connection with the progress that SEACOM has made. SEACOM is a service provider for fiber optic bandwidth along the East Coast of Africa to Southern Africa, Europe and Asia.
According to the Company’s press release, SEACOM has successfully laid cables on ocean floors in both the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The target is to have the fiber optic cable laid right from South Africa all the away to the UK in Europe before the 2010 World Cup Games to be held in South Africa.
SEACOM has also embarked on recruiting African talent in the Telecommunication and Networking Fields. This is a plus for Africa as most investors tend to bring their own “experts” abroad to Africa, ‘curtailing’ off all opportunities in developing local talent. The Company is 77 percent owned by a consortium of African countries and other investors.
However, African countries along the Indian Ocean and Red Sea will benefit before countries like Uganda that are land locked and still have to invest in laying fiber optic cable from Kampala all the way to Mombasa seaport on the Indian Ocean in Kenya.
Countries like Kenya and Tanzania will have the competitive edge as landlocked nations like Uganda and Rwanda still have to figure out the logistics involved in getting connected to the SEACOM Grid.
However, Uganda has made significant progress with the Government funded Fiber Optic Grid being laid inland Uganda and funded by the Chinese Government. MTN a South Africa based Telecommunication company has also made inroads by laying cable from the Uganda Kenya Border to Rwanda.
Though SEACOM is a fully backed by a number of African investments, there have been disagreements between some African governments when it comes to the EASSY – East African Submarine Cable System, a main competitor to SEACOM.
EASSY has full backing from the Kenyan Government. However, the dilemma of EASSY with African Politics seems to give SEACOM a lead in bridging the digital divide in East Africa.
Uganda and Rwanda, being landlocked stand to gain from the competition; unless otherwise, SEACOM is set to make its mark in the East African Telecommunication Industry.
East Africa: Seacom’s Cable Reaches Two Ocean Floors
SEACOM’S CABLE REACHES TWO OCEAN FLOORS
NEPAD Infrastructure Projects Behind Schedule
EASSY Project Overview
Fibre-optic undersea cable construction on track