The EASSy undersea fibre cable will go live tomorrow, 16 July 2010. The EASSy commercial launch follows the completion of three successful tests that have been carried out on the cable in the last few months.
EASSy (short for Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System) becomes the third undersea cable to land on the East African shores in just 2 year following the launch of SEACOM and TEAMs cables last year. With a capacity of 1.4 Terabits per second(Tbps), EASSy is the highest capacity cable to connect to Africa so far. SEACOM and TEAMs have a capacity of 1.2 Tbps each.
The EASSy cable has 9 landing points in Africa, stretching from South Africa through Mozambique, Madagascar, The Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti up to Sudan. It is expected to be extended inland to 12 landlocked countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi. See picture above.
The 10,000km fibre cable cost approximately US $265 million to construct and was 90% funded by African investors (Albeit underwritten by international Development Financial Institutions). A Special Purpose Vehicle formed to foster wide participation and ownership of the cable, WOICC, has the majority shareholding through its 29% stake in EASSy. The WOICC consortium comprises more than 10 telecommunication companies from across Africa.
Zimbabwe’s state owned fixed telecoms provider, TelOne, is part of the WOICC consortium. TelOne last month indicated that it is constructing a fibre backbone cable from Harare to the border with Mozambique in Mutare and expects to complete the project before the end of this year.
The switching on of the EASSy fibre is expect to further drive international bandwidth prices down as high capacity bandwidth provision competition heats up.