14 May 2012
The West African Cable System (WACS), the fifth submarine cable system to link South Africa to the rest of the world, was formally launched on Friday, promising further improved bandwidth connectivity down the west coast of Africa.
WACS was initiated by the South African government as a collaborative effort of African governments and leading telecommunications operators.
“Through Broadband Infraco, the South African government is proud to be a pioneering partner on the West African Cable System, a cable that will light up large areas of the west coast of Africa,” Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Ben Martins said at Friday’s launch.
“For the first time in Africa’s history, open access connectivity will liberalise African ICT markets in Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Togo,” Martins said.
South African state company Broadband Infraco’s investment in WACS entitles the company to 11.4% of the system’s total capacity, which will help the country meet its target of providing broadband connectivity to all South Africans who need it by 2020.
It will also help the company’s to further reduce the cost of telecommunications in the country.
One of the main objectives of the cable, Broadband Infraco said on Friday, was to “secure international connectivity and capacity in support of projects of key national importance … being championed by various state vehicles”.
Mandla Ngcobo, chairperson of Broadband Infraco’s board, said broadband access and speed was crucial to the government’s economic growth and job creation plans.