The big bandwidth plans in Africa just keep on rolling in. Today eFive, SEACOM, and Main One, and announced their intention to cooperate on building a pan-African fiber ring. The objective is seamless connectivity and increased redundancy on both the east and west coasts of Africa.
The first phase of Main One, which is scheduled to come online in June, connects London to Nigeria via Portugal and other points along the way. This is essentially the physical manifestation of phase two of the plan, adding a 7000km cable that finishes the job linking Nigeria with South Africa. SEACOM, which was just completed last year, runs from Marseilles through the Suez Canal and all the way down the east coast of Africa to South Africa. That cable can therefore meet Main One and the two can offer each other physically diverse links back to Europe.
For its part, eFive will raise the money to build the cable, which is estimated at $400M. They will work with Nova Capital Africa, an investment banking group focusing on the region.
High hopes for a bandwidth explosion via SEACOM have thus far met with the realities of actual economics and many layers of infrastructure, the cable wasn't open a month before there were complaints that utopia had not yet arrived. There's a lot of work to be done yet, but I'm glad to see the long term plans in the region remain in play.
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