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06.02.2009 Technology

$200m Fibre Optic Cable Project Underway


Work has begun on a 200-million dollar undersea fibre optic cable, which aims to provide reliable internet and telecommunication services to industry stakeholders across Ghana and Nigeria.

The project being undertaken by Main One Cable Company will help to minimize the difficulties of switching traffic between African countries and eliminate the inconveniences and added cost of first routing traffic to Europe.

It is in line with the continent's quest to participate fully in the Information and Communication Technology through digital connection with the rest of the world.

The company has already begun laying the cables, which will run from Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria to enhance efforts to digitally connect Africa with the rest of the world.

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra to officially announce the commencement of work, Ms Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of the company said the first phase of the project is expected to be completed in May 2010.

The first phase spans 6,900 kilometres extending from Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria with an additional 6,000 Kilometres extension to South Africa and Angola in the second phase.

The development, she said, represented a major landmark for the continent, as this was the first time ever that a private sector driven undersea cable network received landing licences.

The company secured the licenses from Ghana's National Communications Authority and the Nigerian Communications Commission respectively, granting it the right to land its intercontinental undersea fibre optic cable in the two countries.

Ms. Opeke said funding for the project was sought within the African continent adding that; “it shows how committed we are in using the continent's resources to build this solid infrastructure for Africa.”

“The unique promise of the Main One undersea cable to boost Internet access across the African continent lies in the huge improvement in bandwidth which we will be driving even while reducing costs phenomenally”.

Main One, she said, is deploying the very latest technology in undersea fibre optic cabling.

“In employing the combination of Dense Wave Multiplexing Technology of 1.28 Terabits per second and two fibre pairs Main One will deliver far more capacity to the region than any existing or proposed undersea projects even while bringing costs down to about twenty percent of what is currently obtainable from SAT 3 or satellite service operators,” Opeke stated.

In addition to providing a major boost to Internet access on the continent, Main One, she said would help to considerably minimize the difficulties of switching traffic between African countries and eliminate the inconveniences

and added costs of first routing traffic to Europe.

“We will also enhance job creation and local content development through skills transfer in ICT and particularly networking technologies,” she said.

Beyond these direct benefits, however, said Opeke, the granting of the pioneer landing licenses to Main One Cable Company, represents a major milestone for the continuing growth of telecommunications regulatory capacity on the continent.

“Intercontinental undersea cabling, especially as driven by private sector operatives is a relatively new phenomenon in Africa and it is remarkable that regulators are fast amassing the critical expertise with which to drive rapid growth and development in this unique area for the benefit of the continent,” she said.

Mr. Thomas Schaefer Jr. Shore End Installation Engineer, Tyco Telecommunication Company partners in the project said test conducted at the beach of Teshie where the cable would pass revealed that the soil is good for the exercise.

“We don't foresee any difficulty with our work with regards to the soil in Ghana,” he said.