[moneyweb] The laying of another submarine cable gets under way this weekend.
HILTON TARRANT: Trevor Martins is with MTN and joins us now from a ship. Trevor, historic occasion this weekend as the laying of the EASSy cable, the submarine cable, gets under way. What exactly is happening this weekend?
TREVOR MARTINS: Hi Hilton, it's a very historic occasion. For us very exciting. I'm here off the coast on the cable-laying ship in Durban, and the thousandth part of the EASSy cable - they are starting the cable lay at Mtunzini over the next 48 hours. This ship that I'm on is called the Ile de Batz - it's an Alcatel ship, and this ship will be moving northwards, laying the cable in deep waters, connecting with the landing in Maputo, moving on and connecting with a landing in Toliary of Madagascar, moving on to Comores, and then finally laying the cable in Dar es Salaam, where the northern part of the cable off the coast of Dar es Salaam will be joined. That northern cable, the laying of that cable, has already commenced at the end of January, and that's done by another ship called Ile de Sein, and that one was commenced off the coast of Sudan.
So we are really excited. This is a momentous occasion for all the parties that have been involved in the EASSy submarine cable system.
HILTON TARRANT: Trevor, this cable going up the east coast of Africa, what does this mean? What is this going to mean for Africans and, more specifically, South Africans?
TREVOR MARTINS: Well, historically there has been no international bandwidth connectivity other than through means of satellite. Over the last 12 months the east coast of Africa has experienced a burgeoning of submarine cable capacity, with the launch of the SEACOM submarine cable, which runs from South Africa to Mombasa in Kenya, and then goes off to India. And in October last year here was the launch of the TEAMS cable, which connected Kenya to the UAE in Fujairah.
The EASSy cable connects more countries further north, all the way to Port Sudan, and it connects all these countries to the global network of cables. And what this means is that for the first time, as international bandwidth consumers, we can now get much cheaper capacity and quality of capacity is significantly improved. The quantum is much greater than what we ever had and the quality is better because the traffic rate is about half that of satellite capacity.
HILTON TARRANT: Trevor, obviously this will make a big difference to prices as well as speed in South Africa, and in all the countries that it touches. What is the timing like - when will this cable light up?
TREVOR MARTINS: The cable will be ready for service towards the end of June, so by July we as South Africans and South African investors and other investors along the east coast of Africa will be able to experience the benefit of this improved bandwidth.
HILTON TARRANT: Trevor Martins, joining us off the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, is the MTN Group project manager for EASSy.
EASSy lands in SA: Trevor Martins - project manager, MTN Group EASSy