The southern hemisphere has never really gotten its share of subsea connectivity, but activity certainly has picked up lately. Today the long proposed but unconsummated buildout of SAEx came a step closer to reality as SAEx International and Alcatel Submarine Networks announced the start of desktop study, permitting, and survey activities.
In its latest incarnation, plans for SAEx consist of two phases each offering as much as 108Tbps of capacity, with one crossing the Atlantic and the other crossing the Indian Ocean. SAEx1 would connect South Africa with Brazil and the US, with branches for West Africa, St. Helena, and other islands in the Atlantic. SAEx2 on the other hand, would connect South Africa with India and Singapore.
The news comes on the heels of Sparkle's arrival on the scene. Sparkle recently partnered with SAEx to extend its piece of Seabras-1 over to Africa and beyond. The builder of Seabras-1, Seaborn Networks, also has plans to cross the South Atlantic with the SABR cable system, which itself has an arrangement with the IOX system to India and Singapore. There's a fair bit of duplication in all this, and one wonders if these efforts are fully independent - and if they are whether they will stay that way.
The target date for SAEx is 2021, although there is plenty of time for that to get updated based on the survey and other work to be done first.