Monday, April 25, 2011

MTN promises broadband windfall

Following the landing at the weekend by the West Africa Cable System (WACS) off the west coast of South Africa, leading mobile communications provider, MTN has promised broadband across all its presence on the continent of an eventual broadband windfall.

Managing Director, MTN South Africa, Karel Pienaar, who confirmed this at the weekend said that there is a broadband windfall in the offing for millions of MTN subscribers as WACS cable successfully lands in Southern Africa country.

This, he said, would provide millions of MTN subscribers across the continent the opportunity to receive a broadband windfall following the landing of cable at Yzerfontein along the west coast of the Western Cape.

ITRealms Online recalls that MTN is the single biggest investor in WACS, with an investment of over $90 million out of the total project cost not exceeding $650 million, whereas WACS is a 14,000 kilometres long fibre optic submarine cable with a capacity of 5.12 terabits per second (Tbps).

WASC spans the west coast of Africa, and terminating in the United Kingdom, is to enable seamless connectivity between countries in Southern and West Africa, with the rest of Europe and America.

The WACS cable, Pienaar noted is expected to go commercial before the end of 2012, and has 15 established terminal stations along route and will function to reduce the cost to connect the West coast of Africa into the high-speed global telecommunications network.

MTN’s investment in WACS forms part of a myriad of submarine cables that Africa’s leading telecommunications provider has invested in as part of attempts to bring much-needed broadband capacity to the continent, strengthen Africa’s efforts to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to bridge the digital divide and provide millions of its subscribers in its footprint in Africa and the Middle East with the capacity to use smart solutions.

“Africa has until now, been a cyclist on the information superhighway. MTN’s investment in WACS will ensure that millions of our subscribers in South Africa and across the continent have the capacity and the ability to optimally utilize the data and telemetry offerings that modern telephony applications provide,” he said.

MTN, he said sincerely believes that the commercialisation of WACS and other submarine cables would set the stage for a mobile revolution that will enhance the quality of life for millions of people across the continent.

According to him, WACS has been designed to support present and future Internet, e-commerce, data, video and voice services, the system makes use of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which allows bidirectional communications over one strand of fiber, as well as the multiplication of capacity.

He explained that the initial capacity of WACS is over 500 Gbps and is upgradable at any stage of the project.

“The robustness of the design will also enable the system to accommodate the latest developments in submarine fibre-optic technology,” he said.

Additionally, he said that to complement existing high-bandwidth cable systems in the region, as well as supply first time fibre connectivity to several West African countries, WACS will provide much needed diversity for large volume broadband traffic from South Africa to Europe.

The consortium comprises of 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.

All members of the consortium signed the Construction and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) and Supply Contract since April 8, 2009.

Remmy Nweke:
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