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International bandwidth capacity uptake exceeds forecasts

Posted on Jan 23 in News-Publicby Press OfficerPrint

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Questions have been raised as to whether South Africa is heading for an international bandwidth glut when all the planned submarine cables - including EASSy, WACS and Main One - land in the country. Well known Internet researcher Arthur Goldstuck said that the total international bandwidth capacity coming into Africa will grow more than a hundredfold by the end of 2011.

The Internet Access in South Africa 2008 study, conducted by World Wide Worx and supported by Cisco Systems, shows that international bandwidth available to sub-Saharan Africa was a mere 80 Gigabits per second at the end of 2008. This was split between the Telkom-controlled SAT3/SAFE cable and the West African Atlantis-2 cable.

But, according to the report, the capacity will rise to around 10 Terabits per second by the end of 2011, or 120 times the 2008 capacity. This growth will be the cumulative result of the existing SAT3 cable upgrade, three major new cables becoming operational and the WACS cable landing in 2011.

This significant bandwidth increase may however be just what South Africa needs, with an ever increasing demand for larger international capacity. Neotel said that the uptake of international capacity has exceeded their expectations.

“This bodes well for any new international capacity, such as that of EASSy (the Eastern African Submarine System),” says Dr Angus Hay, Executive Head - Technology at Neotel. “The demand for this international capacity has been much higher than anticipated, which proves there is a definite need for all the international cables.”

Neotel has to date provided clients with capacity from SAT-3/SAFE and SEACOM. “We have been adding capacity on SAT-3 rapidly, in addition to ongoing SEACOM sales,” says Hay. “With EASSy expected to land in July, we forecast that the additional capacity on that route will be taken up just as quickly,” he added.

“As a local company providing global access, we are the only South African telecoms company that offers connectivity through all the country’s major international submarine cable systems -SAT-3/SAFE and SEACOM, soon EASSy (East Africa), and later WACS (West Africa),” says Hay.

“This heralds a new age of bandwidth competition, access and affordability for Africa to aggressively compete on the world stage. More cables will increase the available international bandwidth, as well as the level of reliability of international links,” he concludes.

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