SEACOM and Interoute Bring Quality Internet into Africa

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – SEACOM, Africa’s only submarine cable connecting Africa to Europe and Asia, and Interoute, owner operator of Europe’s largest next-generation network, initiated a project that is set to bring a higher quality Internet experience to Africa. The multi-million Euro project involves the design, deployment and operation of nine land-based Internet access points that connect the SEACOM subsea cable to the broadband fibre networks of East and South Africa.

The SEACOM Internet access points are located in France, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania with expansion plans to install PoPs in Uganda and Rwanda. The SEACOM network is enabled with content caching nodes that will effectively bring the World Wide Web closer to the people and businesses in Africa. By storing web content at a point closer to where the internet is accessed, the user internet browsing experience is richer and faster.

The building of the network has already begun, with nodes in Dar Es Salaam, Johannesburg, Maputo, Mombasa, Mtunzini and Marseille already live. SEACOM will be offering managed IP services to customers from April. 

Gareth Williams, CEO at Interoute, commented: “First, SEACOM brought high capacity, low cost Internet access to the African continent via the SEACOM subsea cable. Now this new project will increase the quality of user experience that is needed to realise the full potential of the Internet as a powerful business, communication and learning tool for the people of Africa. It’s exciting to be putting the expertise and experience we developed building and managing Europe’s largest next generation network to work building a key part of Africa’s Internet.”

Since the fibre optic SEACOM subsea cable went live in 2009 and the dramatic reduction in Internet costs that followed (prices in some parts of East Africa fell from $4,000 to under $25 per megabit), broadband consumption has jumped in some cases almost 10 fold within the first year of commercial service. The availability of fast Internet speeds has already provided improved services in Africa such as to health workers who can access critical data in time to save lives, better education through the accessibility of information resources, and improved business operations by benefiting from technologies hosted in the cloud.

The new network will build resilience into the availability of advanced Internet services. Currently, all Internet traffic to East Africa is routed via Europe, leaving the region exposed to data losses if any of the land-based or submarine section of the system is damaged. The new network will provide alternative routing via Asia as well as local routing, enabling local network continuity in the event of outages in the Mediterranean or Middle East.

Brian Herlihy, CEO at SEACOM, comments: “Our aim is to provide the people of Africa with the best and most reliable Internet experience available. This new network provides high-quality managed Internet and Ethernet services enabling service continuity in the event of some cable break occurrences, ensuring that local businesses are supported, strengthening the region’s emerging telecom market.”

Local Internet Service Providers will utilise SEACOM to deliver high capacity connectivity down the ‘last mile’, using both fixed and fixed mobile technologies. Interoute’s managed business services, including connectivity, VPN services, and managed hosting will be available through SEACOM.

Interoute and SEACOM have also entered into a distribution agreement which enable services across the two networks. This means that customers will benefit from seamless services delivered across Africa and Europe.