News Release

Seacom Goes Live

Undersea fibre optic network ready to deliver unprecedented capacity and connectivity to Africa
Jul 23, 2009

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – July 23, 2009 – SEACOM today announced that its 1,28 Terabytes per second (Tb/s), 17,000 kilometres, submarine fibre optic cable system linking south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe has been completed and commissioned. Backhauls linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with the coastal landing stations have been established and SEACOM is also working with its national partners to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa shortly.

The launch of SEACOM opens up unprecedented opportunities, at a fraction of the current cost, as government, business leaders and citizens can now use the network as the platform to compete globally, drive economic growth and enhance the quality of life across the continent.

Highlights/ Key Facts:

  • The unprecedented capacity, quality of bandwidth and connectivity brought to Africa by the SEACOM network will be demonstrated today at simultaneous events in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.
  • SEACOM, in conjunction with Cisco Systems, will provide media and invitees direct access to true broadband connectivity, carry out live broadcasts and interactive real-time presentations across the system.
  • The demonstration has been made possible by the collaboration of SEACOM and Cisco Systems who have jointly built a voice, data and video platform, relying on the SEACOM network, to create a collaborative environment.
  • This first-hand experience of the high-speed capabilities will take place through a one-gigabit-per-second live international connection at all locations as well as a live high-definition video feed over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to interconnect representatives and dignitaries across the five countries.

Supporting Quotes:

  • Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO:
  • "Today is a historic day for Africa and marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world. Our tireless efforts of the past 24 months have come to fruition, and we are proud to be the first to provide affordable, high quality broadband capacity and experience to east African economies. Turning the switch 'on' creates a huge anticipation but ultimately, SEACOM will be judged on the changes that take place on the continent over the coming years."

  • Yvon le Roux, Cisco VP for Africa:
  • "Cisco and SEACOM share a common goal to enable accessible broadband across Africa while lowering the cost of communication to spur growth within urban and rural communities. We're working with SEACOM to help transform Africa by outlining process change, building networks, and then providing the application services and expertise that support key services for citizens, such as education, healthcare, public safety, economic development, and national security. SEACOM will provide the catalyst for African consumers, business and government to realise the benefits of connectivity and collaboration across the globe."

  • Mr. Nizar Juma, SEACOM Chairman:
  • "Today is a momentous day for all associated with SEACOM. Milestones such as this one are unique to any company and even more so to any country or region. It also clearly demonstrates that provided with an enabling environment, the private sector can efficiently mobilise the resources required to deliver complex and expansive projects for the benefit of our people.  The SEACOM cable will change the lives of every man, woman and child in the countries connected by making previously unavailable technology accessible to everyone. We truly look forward to the positive utilisation of the cable and the realisation of infinite social and economic possibilities unleashed by our arrival".

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SEACOM, which is privately funded and over three quarter African owned, will assist communication carriers in south and east Africa through the sale of wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe. The undersea fibre optic cable system will provide African retail carriers with equal and open access to inexpensive bandwidth, removing the international infrastructure bottleneck and supporting east and southern African economic growth.

SEACOM will be the first cable to provide broadband to countries in east Africa which, at the moment, rely entirely on expensive satellite connections. Within Africa, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya are inter-connected via a protected ring structure. Additionally, a second express fibre pair is provided from South Africa to Kenya. These two fibre pairs have a combined capacity of 1.28Tbs. Express fibre pairs are also provided from Kenya to France into a PoP in Marseilles, and from Tanzania to India into the PoP in Mumbai. SEACOM has procured fibre capacity from Marseilles to London as part of the SEACOM network.

SEACOM's enormous capacity will enable high definition TV, peer to peer networks, IPTV, and surging Internet demand. Pricing will be significantly lower than current satellite or fibre pricing.

SEACOM will be ready to serve southern and east African markets from July 2009, well in time to meet the bandwidth needs of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, and the growing requirements of the economies in the countries it will serve.

SEACOM is 76.25% African owned by:

  • Industrial Promotion Services (26.56%), an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development
  • Venfin Limited (25%)
  • Convergence Partners (12.5%)
  • Shanduka Group (12.5%)

The remaining 23.44% is held by Herakles Telecom LLC.