Investors have expressed keen interest in a undersea broadband cable that would link Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS countries) to each other and the US, a promoter of the project said on Thursday.
“There have been many parties showing interest in the BRICS cable project. To date, a total of ten non-disclosure agreements have been signed by global and South African telecommunication operators,” i3 Africa chairman Andrew Mthembu told Sapa.
“The process… is ongoing and more parties are expected to join the project. At this stage, we prefer not to disclose the names of the interested parties.”
The 34,000km fibre-optic cable, with 12.8 terabits per second capacity, was expected to be online by 2014.
It would connect with the West Africa Cable System, the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System and Seacom, opening up access between BRICS and 21 African countries.
The cable route spanned from Miami in the US, to Fortaleza in Brazil, Cape Town, Mauritius, Chennai in India, Singapore, Shantou in China and Vladivostok in Russia.
The project cost was estimated at between US1.2 billion and US1.5 billion (between about R9.96 billion and R12.45 billion).
Mthembu said that besides local operators, interest had been shown by the United Kingdom, the US, China, India, Brazil and Mauritius.
He said the project would be an enabler of local and continental growth.
“It will enable closer inter-working among the BRICS countries and stimulate trade and investment. The new routes… will lead to improvements in the connectivity to the rest of the world and in the resiliency of communication.
“For the man in the street this will translate into better quality of communication and reductions in the cost of communications.”
The cable would likely be landed at, or close to, one of two existing cable landings in Cape Town, at Melkbosstrand or Yzerfontein.