West Africa: Bandwidth Cost to Drop As Undersea Cable Goes Live

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The cost of internet and data services is set drop drastically as the West Africa Cable System, a $650 million undersea cable goes live on May 11 in Nigeria and several African countries where it has landing points.

WACS brought to Nigeria by MTN Nigeria spans the entire West African coast and terminating in the United Kingdom will complement SAT3, Glo1 and Main One Cable systems that are already commercial in West Africa.

WACS is a 14, 000 kilometres fibre optic submarine cable with a capacity of 5.12 terabits per second (tbps), which berthed in the country last year. The WACS consortium include MTN, Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco; Cable&Wireless Worldwide; Congo Telecom.; Société Congolaise des Postes et Télécommunications (“SCPT”); PT Communicacoes; Togo Telecom; Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia; Telkom SA Ltd; and Vodacom Group Ltd.

Mr. Wale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria said “The WACS cable is here. It landed some time in the middle of last year. The landing station is ready and we expect that it should be carrying live traffic by the end of April. The capacity is bigger than any submarine cable that has landed in Nigeria and we expect that it would provide greater bandwidth, greater redundancy and for more latency for data services.”

The Africa-Europe undersea system will be the first direct connection to international submarine cable networks for Namibia, Togo, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new fibre-optic route will also link South Africa, Angola, Cameroun, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK with a design capacity of 5.12Tbps. Other countries are able to access bandwidth on the system, including landlocked Botswana, which partnered Namibia in each raising USD37.5 million to invest in a 9.2 per cent stake in the cable consortium. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) will co-locate services within the landing station operated by Telecom Namibia, under the WACS open access policy.