SEACOM to start work on Africa undersea cable
Tue 13 Nov 2007, 15:48 GMT
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A Mauritius registered private equity venture SEACOM has secured funding and will begin to build a fibre optic cable along the east African coast to link the continent to Europe and Asia, the firm said on Tuesday.
The company said in a statement it would start laying the $650 million cable stretching over 15,000 km next week, and the cable should be ready for use by June 2009. The cable will provide 1.28 terabits per second of broadband capacity.
The link will run from Mtunzini, near Durban in South Africa to Mumbai in India and Marseille in France via Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya, and Tanzania, SEACOM said.
SEACOM said investors in the venture include an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Venfin Ltd. and Herakles Telecom LLC, each with a 25 percent stake and Convergence Partners, with a 12.5 percent shareholding.
The Shanduka Group, owned by South African black business tycoon Cyril Rhamaphosa, holds the remaining 12.5 percent.
Nedbank Capital, a division of Nedbank and Investec Bank are funding the project.
South Africa’s second telephone network operator, Neotel, has secured the rights to control the cable’s use in South Africa. In August Neotel said it had agreed to commercial terms with SEACOM for the partnership of the sea cable system.
Neotel said it would operate the facilities on an open access basis to stimulate the South African international bandwidth market and make available affordable bandwidth.
South Africa has only one cable linking it to the rest of the world and this has been controlled by former monopoly Telkom, whose exclusivity was due to run out in September 2007.