FirstNet leverages WIOCC 2Africa cable for unprecedented connectivity

Johannesburg, 18 Jun 2024
WIOCC and FirstNet empower businesses.
WIOCC and FirstNet empower businesses.

WIOCC, Africa’s digital backbone, is pleased to announce it has connected FirstNet Technology Services, a First Technology Group company, to the 2Africa cable system between Durban and Cape Town.

FirstNet, a leading cloud, connectivity, voice and security solutions provider in South Africa, is the first client, both locally and internationally, to be connected to this segment of the 2Africa cable.

This landmark collaboration marks a significant leap forward in enhancing South African connectivity and redefining the landscape of internet service provision. It does this by moving away from the traditional terrestrial link between Durban and Cape Town, mitigating vandalism, fibre cuts and power losses.

At the vanguard of collaboration in Africa

WIOCC, a consortium member and fibre pair owner on the 2Africa cable, says 2Africa is at the vanguard of technological ingenuity and collaborative spirit in Africa. It is a game-changing sub-sea cable project spanning over 45 000 kilometres, and with 46 landings in 33 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan and India. With its advanced design and strategic routing, 2Africa promises enhanced resilience, ultra-low latency and unparalleled bandwidth capable of meeting the escalating demands of the digital age.

According to Ryan Sher, Group Chief Operating Officer at WIOCC, Africa is experiencing a digital revolution, with a hunger for connectivity and technology sweeping across the continent. “Recognising this need, we are playing a pivotal role in shaping the continent’s digital future. Through involvement in initiatives like 2Africa, WIOCC is helping Africa to deliver its digital dreams.”

This ambitious undertaking is set to revolutionise internet access in Africa, explains Sher, enabling faster speeds, greater reliability and expanded coverage, unleashing immense opportunities for economic growth, education, healthcare and social development across the continent. “WIOCC's commitment to bridging the digital divide is not only transforming connectivity, but also empowering millions of Africans to harness the transformative power of the digital age.”

Ryan Sher, Group Chief Operating Officer at WIOCC.
Ryan Sher, Group Chief Operating Officer at WIOCC.

Pioneers in the industry

Sean Van Niekerk, General Manager at FirstNet Technology Services, adds: “At FirstNet, we refuse to become just another cog in the internet service provision machine. Our aim is to go beyond and carve a niche for ourselves as pioneers in the industry. Our commitment extends far beyond simply offering fibre to the business and home; it's about delivering an unparalleled experience to our customers. We are proud to offer a robust, resilient and low-latency network, courtesy of our partnership with WIOCC. Our network performance enables seamless collaboration and content sharing with uninterrupted access to business applications, content streaming and cloud-based platforms," Van Niekerk explains.

He goes on to say: “For many years, we have been building and expanding our enterprise network to cater for the demand of our customers in all sectors of business, but with a specific focus on retail and maritime, where the line of business applications demand always-on, low latency connectivity. Having established points of presence in multiple countries and internet exchanges, we noticed that the demand on the network would taper off significantly in the evenings, which raised the question, why not create a fibre to the home offering and allow home users to benefit from the infrastructure we have deployed?”

Sean Van Niekerk, General Manager at FirstNet Technology Services.
Sean Van Niekerk, General Manager at FirstNet Technology Services.

He cites the example of UrbanXConnect, another First Technology Group company and one of South Africa’s first dedicated gaming ISPs. UrbanXConnect, in partnership with FirstNet, is able to leverage the FirstNet core network infrastructure to offer high-speed and stable fibre connections across multiple fibre network operators for a superior online experience.

Kerry-Ann Smit, Product Manager at UrbanXConnect, underscores the pivotal role of optimal network performance: "In the gaming world, every millisecond counts. Low latency, stable connections and ample bandwidth are not just desirable, they're indispensable for delivering the kind of immersive experiences that gamers crave. At UrbanXConnect, we're committed to ensuring that our gamers have the competitive edge they need. Through strategic peering agreements with major gaming studios, meticulous prioritisation of routing and subscriptions to innovative technologies like ExitLag, we're dedicated to minimising lag, maximising responsiveness and ultimately enhancing the overall gaming experience for our users."

A new era for Africa

“The collaboration between FirstNet and WIOCC, brought about through joint interest in the 2Africa cable, marks a new era of connectivity and innovation,” says Sher. “We are reshaping the digital landscape and empowering communities with unparalleled access to the internet. As we embark on this transformative journey, we remain firm in our commitment to pushing the boundaries of possibility and delivering excellence in every endeavour.”

In conclusion, Sher says through this partnership, users across South Africa can anticipate a seamless and robust digital experience, empowered by the unparalleled connectivity offered by the 2Africa cable. “This is just the beginning. As we continue to expand our partnerships, networks and collaborations in Africa, we reaffirm our commitment to delivering reliable and innovative solutions that drive the region's digital transformation. Together, we are laying the foundation for a future where connectivity knows no bounds, enriching lives and businesses alike.”



WIOCC is the leading player in the deployment of carrier-scale, future-proofed network infrastructure into Africa. We have the flexibility and scale to meet the ever-growing demand for reliable, high-speed capacity throughout Africa, driven by end consumers, enterprise users and the ecosystem that supports them.

Our policy of continual investment in our network to create Africa’s first, truly hyperscale network infrastructure means ongoing investment for growth, ensuring our readiness to meet the future data volume demands of end users throughout Africa.

Operating exclusively as a wholesaler, we have revolutionised the delivery of high-capacity connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world. Widely recognised as Africa’s carriers’ carrier, we offer carriers, content providers, cloud operators, ISPs and mobile operators reliable, seamless, high-capacity connectivity between more than 30 African countries and key global financial and commercial centres.

Our focus on building and maintaining strong, long-term relationships with each client enables us to develop bespoke solutions that meet their current requirements and have the capability to match future demands for growth, extra resilience and geographical expansion.

FirstNet Technologies

Established in 2006 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the First Technology Group (FTG), FirstNet has grown into one of the largest Cloud, Connectivity, Voice and Security solutions provider in South Africa. We are an affordable, experienced, and innovative technology services provider that delivers the expertise you need to complete projects efficiently and effectively.

Our business model is to focus on 4 core solutions where we strive to be experts in these areas. We are a fully B-BBEE accredited provider that caters for entities across all sectors. We offer our customers and partners cloud solutions for round-the-clock access to important data and information, premier connectivity capabilities for uninterrupted online operations, modern voice solutions for improved business communication, and high-end business security services for holistic data and information protection.

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UrbanXConnect (Pty) Ltd

UrbanX is one of South Africa’s first dedicated gaming ISP’s, offering lightning-fast and stable fibre connections for a superior online experience.

We have entered into direct peering agreements and partnerships with popular games to give you the best ping possible.

All of our fibre packages are month-to-month and can be easily cancelled (T’s & C’s apply).