Altech, Seacom in East Africa bandwidth deal - TechCentral

Altech, Seacom in East Africa bandwidth deal

Craig Venter

Telecommunications group Altech has acquired 5Gbit/s of capacity in the Seacom undersea cable system to provide bandwidth to the markets in which it operates in East Africa. At the same time, Seacom has acquired capacity in Altech’s fibre infrastructure in the region.

Altech has bought two STM-16s — a technical term for a quantity of bandwidth — with the option to double this capacity to an STM-64 within three years. Seacom will in turn purchase six STM-64s on the 6 000km terrestrial backbone network owned by Altech’s Kenya Data Networks (KDN) business.

KDN operates the largest fibre network in East Africa, with infrastructure in the ground in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and plans to expand this fibre into Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the group recently received a licence to operate in the DRC. Altech CEO Craig Venter, pictured, says Altech is laying 10km of new fibre a day in the region.

“We are going to cover five countries in East Africa emphatically with fibre and plug them into the Seacom undersea cable.”

Venter says the East African region is outperforming SA in terms of investment in and liberalisation of telecoms. He says there are significant investments being made by telecoms operators in East Africa.

“It is refreshing to do business in East African region where the market has liberalised a lot quicker,” Venter says. “Those countries are becoming a lot more advanced than SA in terms of data infrastructure.”

Altech hopes that its investment in Seacom, coupled with its equity investment in Kenya’s East African Marine System (Teams) and its investment in terrestrial fibre, will see it selling additional backhaul telecoms capacity to mobile network operators in East Africa. The group already has contracts with mobile operators such as Safaricom and Zain.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

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