Eassy goes live today
The East Africa Submarine System (Eassy), which was only expected to launch for commercial operation in the coming weeks, will be unveiled today, finalising the construction programme that began in Maputo, Mozambique, in December 2009.
This has been confirmed by the cable's largest investor, WIOCC, which has a 29% stake in the system. Telkom is also one of the top investors in Eassy and owns 9% of the cable.
Other investors include West Indian Ocean Cable Company, which has a special purchase vehicle accommodating a number of smaller African telcos, with funding provided by the World Bank. Sudan's Sudatel, MTN and Vodacom are also major investors.
The $250 million cable will be formally handed over to the WIOCC Board by Alcatel Submarine Networks - which was the subcontractor - on 21 July. This will take place during the WIOCC board meeting, in Nairobi, explains Mike Last, director of business development and international marketing at WIOCC.
The early unveiling comes after a successful three-phase testing exercise, which began on 19 April. Then too, the project was a few days ahead of schedule, when the construction of Eassy was completed and the northern and southern halves spliced together at sea. This was well within the project's timeline.
“The cable will go live in all the Eassy countries simultaneously. All the Eassy landing stations have been completed, tested and are fully operational. These are Port Sudan, Djibouti, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Moroni in Comoros Islands, Toliary in Madagascar, Maputo in Mozambique, and Mtunzini in SA,” states Last.
Eassy will deliver 1.4Tbs of capacity and will connect SA with eight other African countries, offering transit connectivity through backhaul networks into at least 12 landlocked countries.
Last explains that Eassy will also be the first east coast system to carry traffic on a direct route to Europe, making it the lowest latency east coast system for traffic to key Internet peering points in Europe and North America. Other east coast systems use a longer path to reach Europe, via connections in either India or UAE, meaning longer transit times for traffic.
“The launch of WIOCC's Eassy cable increases the range of international connectivity options available to South African telecommunications operators, increases competition for high-performance international connectivity and brings much-needed diversity to the networks of SA's telecoms operators,” concludes Last.