R1.3 billion SA subsea cable update

Telecoms infrastructure provider Techteledata says it has not yet secured the required backing to build an undersea cable from Mtunzini to Cape Town.

The project was due to launch in July.

Musa Phungula, Techteledata managing director and founder, aims to build a new domestic submarine cable system and large, open access data centres in South Africa while also connecting East London and Port Elizabeth in the process.

Benefits of TTD would see a connection between East and West African countries without the need to go via Europe and Egypt.

Techteledata also aims to build 500 square metre datacentres in each of the four landing points integrated with Cable Landing Stations (CLS), with the total cost of the project estimated at R1.3 billion.

Outlining the project timeline, Phungula said that the company is currently still at contract negotiations with bidding suppliers – three of the major suppliers in undersea communications.

“We are attending the Submarine networks in Singapore (September 10-12), where we are sponsoring the Cable owners’ Jam Session,” he said.

“This will set the tone for our project launch back in South Africa at a date yet to be announced, but before the end of the year 2013,” Phungula  said.

The compnay hopes to have contract activation with a turnkey contract supplier in September/October 2013, with project implementation to commence in October/November 2013, starting with permitting.

The company lead hopes to have the cable ready for commercial services in December 2014, latest September 2015.

Additional services:

  • Its data centres bring, facilitate localisation for content creation and bandwidth usage to Africa;
  • Provides resiliency and diversity to existing networks, both marine cables and local terrestrial fibre networks;
  • Completes the fibre optic network ring around Africa for undersea cables;
  • Reduces latency and cost of bringing internet to Africa;
  •  Its model is proven commercially and technically with capacity up to 16 Tbps from 4 fibre pairs and upgradable to 40Tbps full capacity with built in redundancy.
TDD cable
TDD cable landings

“Techteledata is still on the lookout for an equity partner with a strong balance sheet in order to satisfy the last outstanding requirement for funding. This can be a major telecommunications company in or outside South Africa or purely a venture capital company,” Phungula said.

In an interview with BusinessTech in March, Seacom CEO, Mark Simpson said: “One of the things we’ve also been looking at it whether we do a build around Cape Town to Umtunzini. We are fairly well progressed,” he said of the project.

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R1.3 billion SA subsea cable update