That giant cable across the South Atlantic that eFive has been working on now has a supplier signed up. According to regional business reports, the South African firm eFive Telecoms has awarded the contract to TE SubCom.
The proposed 12.8Tbps South Atlantic Express cable would link Cape Town and other points in South Africa to the Brazilian port of Fortaleza. Since its original formulation, it has picked up a branch to the remote island of St. Helena, better known as the place they exiled Napoleon to for good. There are also options for a branch to Luanda and connectivity to West Africa as well.
eFive’s CEO, Rosalind Thomas, has said that the system will be live within two years. But the question of financing is still hanging in the balance, with the $300M+ pricetag still looking hard to justify economically. While the cable would certainly lower latency to the Americas, all the other capacity that has been added along both the eastern and western coasts of Africa makes one wonder if lower latency is enough.
On the other hand, there is a political side to all this and government money may step in if private money declines. The Chinese were said to be involved when this project was announced, and it seems to me that the folks pushing that BRICS cable idea might see SAEx as an ideal link in their chain.