MTN completes coastal long-distance cable project

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MTN has completed its part in the long-awaited Coastal National Long-Distance (NLD) cable project, known in the industry as NLD 5 and NLD 6, which it says will help close connectivity gaps in SA.

The operator says the NLD will serve as a major enabler of closing gaps in network coverage, while providing current and future required capacity.

The cable project commenced over three years ago, constructed by Liquid Telecoms (Liquid Intelligent Technologies), with MTN as the key anchor investor, and the telco announced today that the 1 822km fibre cable is ready.

The fibre route starts in Cape Town, and runs along the N2, moves through Gqeberha and East London, and then on to Durban, and is expected to offer an alternative to existing fibre networks and older, slower options.

The high-capacity transport network interconnects the east and west coast undersea cable systems, located In Mtunzini (EASSY), Dynefontein (ACE) and Yzerfontein (WACS), which the company says enables seamless connectivity to the MTN network.

“The project gives MTN an opportunity to provide additional and significant capacity between coastal cities and the rest of SA, ensuring the digital world is brought one step closer for many more people,” says Giovanni Chiarelli, chief technology and information officer at MTN SA.

“NLD 5/6 will enable us to deploy fibre-related connectivity to a wider SA population, particularly to previously disadvantaged rural and township communities. This is an addition to the ACE and WACS cable projects that MTN Group is already driving as a key partner.

“The broad reach of this network means a user in an area like Mthatha now has much-needed reliable high-speed connectivity. It will have a huge impact on their lives, notably for those entrepreneurs and businesses looking to harness the benefits of new services enabled through cloud-based technologies, which were previously beyond their reach,” explains Chiarelli.

MTN says apart from the benefits of fast, secure and stable connectivity, more capacity and high speeds, the NLD also forms part of the broader initiative by MTN to modernise its entire network in SA to ensure it is future-ready and geared for a fourth industrial revolution and 5G future.

It says as it continues to innovate and close the digital access gap in SA, MTN will spend R50 billion in network capex spend.

Chiarelli says: “The work does not stop now, with future network requirements including new technologies such as Segment Routing for efficient routing and network computational resource usage. At MTN, we are committed to improving the network experience of our customers. We look forward to welcoming many more users to the cutting-edge digital world now on our doorstep.”

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