Undersea cable is set to reach SA’s shores

2010-02-12 12:02

The East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) is expected to

reach land at Mtunzini on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal tomorrow.

EASSy is a 10 000km undersea cable system being constructed along

the coast of East Africa.

Telkom said in a statement that it was the “landing partner” of

EASSy in South Africa and was host to one of the nine undersea

telecommunications cables that will connect various parts of Sub-Saharan Africa

to the rest of the world by 2011.

The other landing partners are Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya,

Tanzania, Comoros, Madagascar and Mozambique.

Telkom said shore landings had already been completed in Mozambique

and Sudan.

Alphonzo Samuels, Telkom’s managing executive for wholesale

services, said EASSy was one of the elements of Telkom’s cable investment

strategy and a key step towards Telkom establishing fibre-ring capability around


Interconnection with various other international undersea cable

systems will enable traffic on EASSy to connect seamlessly with Europe, North

and South America, the Middle East and Asia, thereby enhancing the east coast of

Africa’s global telecommunications connectivity.

“EASSy is routed from South Africa to Sudan, linking the coastal

countries of East Africa,” Samuels said. “An extensive backhaul system linking

landlocked countries to the coastal countries has been developed and is at

various stages of completion.”

EASSy was scheduled to be ready for commercial service from August

this year.

Samuels noted that submarine cables held many benefits, such as

superior transmission quality, considerably fewer delays than satellite, high

transmission capacity, access to the global optical-fibre network, lower unit

costs (compared to satellite), no electromagnetic interference and higher

resistance to adverse weather conditions.

“However, activities such as fishing and anchoring, ocean drilling,

fish bites and earthquakes constitute some of the commonly known submarine cable

hazards,” he said.

Various initiatives had nevertheless been undertaken to protect

submarine cables.

“These included conducting ocean bed surveys to select the safest

undersea routes; burying cable in sand where possible, especially at the shallow

end; avoiding heavy shipping lanes when approaching landing points; selecting

safe beaches, bearing in mind that later beach erosion could expose cables;

designing the shortest land cable route for maximum security; and manufacturing

cables to exceed the 25-year design life of the cable system.”

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