• Munir Taha
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Eassy, Africa’s new undersea broadband cable network, has performed without any glitches since going live in July 2010 – according to the network’s owners.
The cable is currently delivering to subscribing internet service providers (ISPs) at 100% efficiency and reliability, said its owners in a statement on 2 December.
“The system’s 100% reliability record has begun to change the game in Africa. For the first time, truly reliable services are being offered in the region, allowing ISPs and telcos [telecommunications companies] the opportunity to provide world-class service for their customers,” said Chris Wood, Eassy’s co-chairperson.
Munir Taha, also a co-chairperson, said: “The system has been exceptionally successful since its launch earlier this year and has shown the importance of true network resilience to customers throughout the region.
“As a result, we now see the need to increase available capacity to cater for increased demand from African and international operators.”
Eassy is owned by a consortium comprising various African and international telecommunications groups which have invested heavily in setting it up. The investors include many ISPs, more than 25 of whom have since connected to the cable.
The 10 000km-long high-capacity cable is one of Africa’s important recent broadband projects, after Seacom. The cables have boosted the continent’s internet connectivity, which is forecast to grow further within the next 12 months as cables like WACS come on stream.
Eassy’s capacity speed was upgraded from 1.4 Tbps to 3.84 Tbps in August when the commercialisation process began in earnest.
The cable runs from South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal coast to the Sudanese shoreline, with landing stations in 10 African countries along the Indian Ocean. It also has landing stations in Madagascar and the Comores.
Eassy interlinks with several international submarine cable networks to transfer internet traffic from Africa to the world.
The cable was recognised as this year’s best cable project with an award at the Submarine Networks World 2010, a global forum held in Singapore in October.
“As the Eassy system offers customers the most resilient and lowest latency technical solution for services from Africa to Europe, it is becoming the system of choice for many African telcos and ISPs,” said Taha.
Capacity upgrade in 2011
Now the network’s capacity has to be upgraded even further to maintain high performance. Its owners announced on 2 December the capacity will be increased to 40 Gbps wavelength in 2011.
Demand since launch has outstripped initial forecasts, hence the need to upgrade. “The decision was taken to upgrade the system following a review of the rate at which we are activating capacity,” said C Seenevassen of Mauritius Telecom, one of the investors.
“By utilising 40 Gbps wavelengths, the Eassy system will be able to continue to offer the most cost-effective and reliable solution to customers in East and Southern Africa.”
A contract for the upgrade is expected to be awarded soon and a number of potential contractors have already been invited to present proposals. The consortium said it’s looking to deliver the “best technical solution at the lowest cost”.