Seacom’s 1TB Fibre Link Between Joburg, Cape Town Goes Live

Pan-African undersea cable operator Seacom has lit up a 1TB fibre line connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town.By Admire Moyo, ITWeb
September 30, 2019

Pan-African undersea cable operator Seacom has lit up a 1TB fibre line connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town.

This was revealed by Byron Clatterbuck, CEO of Seacom, in an exclusive interview with ITWeb on Friday. The fibre link was lit up last week.

Although Clatterbuck was cagey about exactly how much the company invested in the fibre, he hinted it pumped about R100 million into the facility.

The new development comes as Seacom is busy lighting up the fibre assets of FibreCo, a company it acquired in November last year.

“When we bought FibreCo, it was a company that was good at building fibre and selling fibre to other companies. We bought FibreCo and we are lighting it up,” said Clatterbuck.

“We are happy to announce that we have lit from Johannesburg to Cape Town at one terabyte. We are very good at lighting fibre and managing people’s networks,” he added.

Clatterbuck noted Seacom previously only had capacity from Durban up to Johannesburg.

Next destination

Following the lighting up of the Johannesburg to Cape Town facility, the next destination for Seacom will be East London, said Clatterbuck.

“This gives us the ability to offer our customers more services. It also enables us to connect all the smaller towns along the way.”

However, he noted the fibre connection linking the two cities is not something unique to Seacom as other players also have networks there. The difference is the 100GB technology Seacom uses.

“We always design our networks using fibre because that’s the most economical way to transmit light and data, and then we put equipment on it that can scale. So for us, we put equipment like a chassis that sends light beams down to that fibre, starting at 100GB for each beam.

“So, in this case, we put 10 light beams to get a terabyte. If we need another terabyte, it takes us only three weeks to add it.”

The fibre push is part of Seacom’s business strategy of diversifying from the over-reliance on its subsea cable business.

Although Seacom recently said it is upgrading its subsea cable systems’ lit capacity from 1.5TB to 3TB this year, the company is expecting more competition in the submarine cable business with new players set to enter the fray.

Equiano and Simba cables

Google is set to launch its Equiano cable that will connect Africa with Europe. Once complete, Equiano will start in Western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and SA, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.

Social media giant Facebook is also set to encircle Africa with its own cable system, dubbed Simba.

“In the future, we see there are new cable systems that are coming and we believe this is a good thing for African consumers and businesses,” Clatterbuck said.

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