According to a report on African site TechCentral, there is a new transatlantic cable in the works. But this time it's in the South Atlantic, connecting Fortaleza Brazil with Angola and South Africa, destinations that one doesn't normally think about undersea cable hooking up. The project is being led by eFive Telecoms and will supposedly be built by a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU, news, filings) and the Chinese government.
Plans for the "South Atlantic Express" cable call for a huge 12.8Tbps maximum capacity, powered by 40Gbps waves over four fiber pairs. Two pairs will land in South Africa, and two will land in Angola The new cable will also provide the shortest route between South Africa and the US, for which the backers have signed a memorandum with GlobeNet. Access to the east coast of Africa and on to southern Asia will be provided via SEACOM.
The planning is at an advanced stage although not yet complete, but the target date for commercial use would be June 2013. Datawave out of the UK is supposed to present its findings on the business case later this month. The governments of Brazil, South Africa, India, Russia, and China have all given their backing. The non-US centric point of view plus that interesting list of backers will surely get some attention in Washington DC - though I'm not sure what will come of it.
Politics aside, the thought of bandwidth demand for 12.8Tbps of data between Brazil and southern Africa is staggering all by itself. Somebody's thinking ahead - way, way ahead. Unless it's all a bluff - but they named a whole lot of participating parties, so it seems likely they're serious.