The Nzadi Cable System: Connecting Angola's Underserved Regions both On- and Off-Shore
By Domingos Coelho
December 1, 2020
The Nzadi Cable System, the most recent domestic offshore submarine telecommunications cable project has been a longtime coming and timely development for both Angola’s conventional telecommunications, offshore energy sectors and the Congo Basin region countries. This new subsea system aims to end the constraints of satcom-based communications in the region’s offshore energy sector; expand much needed telecom infrastructure and services to rural communities within Angola; bring employment and professional training for local workers; provide fibre connectivity between the northernmost semi-exclave of Cabinda to mainland Angola; as well as provide much needed route diversity to and from telecommunications networks of Angola’s neighboring northern countries.
From a system design perspective, the Nzadi Cable System is a novel approach. Two previous projects failed to deliver on the promise of a completed festoon system in the country, as early as 2009 and as recently as 2017, both involving the installation of an active, repeatered subsea telecom systems consisting both of two main trunks and redundant cable segments to connect offshore energy installations and providing wired connectivity for conventional Mobile Telecom Carrier services between mainland Angola and Cabinda, respectively. The Nzadi Cable System bucks this trend by proposing a single trunk of approximately 950 km subsea cable between Angola’s capital city of Luanda and the northern city of Cabinda. It will have a branch leg to the Oil & Gas northern producing hub city of Soyo and is conceived as a passive and unrepeatered system aimed at serving both the onshore/offshore energy and traditional Telecom Carrier industries. However, the building of this new system has much farther-reaching social, economic and environmental implications.