Murray Steyn
Murray Steyn Executive Head: Wholesale

IS can guarantee you a dependable service, thanks to the extensive infrastructure investments we have made across Africa for more than 20 years.

The subsea network cables that connect Africa to the world

In total, we have 520Gbps of bandwidth capacity over the East and West African intercontinental network cable systems for wholesalers to leverage. It’s precisely because of this type of investment that Africa’s Industry 4.0 is being realised. Here’s a closer look at the redundant infrastructure that links Africa to the rest of the world.

Main One

The Main One Cable system currently stretches from Portugal to Nigeria with a landing point in Ghana. This is Phase 1 of the system, which was activated in 2010. Phase 2 will add landing points in Morocco, the Canary Islands, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, DRC, Angola, South Africa and Namibia. Main One provides connectivity to burgeoning areas at rates lower than 20% of international bandwidth prices in the region available through the SAT3 system or satellite, according to the project’s organisers.

SAT-3/WASC

The SAT-3/WASC (or South Atlantic 3/West African Submarine Cable) links Spain and Portugal to South Africa with numerous landing points along the way in the West African nations of Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Angola and South Africa. At the cable’s endpoint, in Melkbosstrand near Cape Town, it connects directly to the SAFE system.

The South Atlantic cable has a long history and was the original undersea cable that linked South Africa to Portugal. SAT-1 was first installed more than 50 years ago in 1968 and received an upgrade in the early 1990s with the installation of SAT-2. It was upgraded again with the SAT-3 line when it began to reach capacity in 2001.

WACS

The West African Cable System (WACS) links South Africa to the UK with 14 landing points along the way, 12 on the west coast of Africa (including Cape Verde and the Canary Islands) and two in Europe, namely Portugal and England. Yzerfontein in the Western Cape was chosen as a landing point instead of Melkbosstrand to reduce the risk of a complete loss of connectivity in the event of an earthquake or a ship dragging its anchor.

Seacom

Seacom is a network of submarine and terrestrial high-speed fibre-optic cables that serves  the east and west coasts of Africa, connecting the continent to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region via landing points in France, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and India, and partner network landing points in Namibia, Angola, DRC, Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal. Since it was activated in 2009, Seacom has dramatically increased the availability of international bandwidth in many underserved countries.

EASSy

The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) undersea fibre-optic cable system connects Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal to Port Sudan in Sudan, with landing points in nine countries in between. The project was initiated in 2003 and partially funded by the World Bank.

TEAMS

The East African Marine System (TEAMS) was initiated by the Kenyan government to serve as an alternative to EASSy. It connects Mombasa in Kenya to Fujairah in the UAE and was activated in 2009.

SAFE

The South Africa Far East (SAFE) cable system runs from Melkbosstrand near Cape Town to Penang in  Malaysia. It was laid down in 2002 and provides redundancy for other cables linking Africa to the Middle East and the Far East. Along the way, it has landing points in Réunion, Mauritius and India.

Africa’s connectivity has become more capable and reliable with the increase of redundancy over the years, and that trend will continue. IS will continue to invest in that growth, fostering the continent’s Industry 4.0. There are many wholesale connectivity opportunities in Africa. Learn more about how you can benefit from leveraging our wholesale capabilities around the world.

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