Undersea cable operator Seacom has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria’s Main One and SA investment company eFive Telecoms that could result in the construction of a high-capacity cable system between SA and Nigeria.
The project, if it comes to fruition, will involve extending the Seacom cable in the east and building an extension to the 1,92Tbit/s Main One cable, which is already under construction between the UK and Nigeria. The first phase of Main One will be completed next month.
“The solution will entail extending the Main One and Seacom networks to create a system that offers redundancy and additional capacity on both the east and west routes around Africa,” the companies say in a statement.
The proposed cable system would link SA and Nigeria, with landing points in Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Namibia.
Main One CEO Funke Opeke says Main One’s plan has always been to extend the cable system to SA, though the first phase would be built only as far as Nigeria. “Phase two will connect Nigeria to SA once the right partnership with the right level of funding has been secured.”
Opeke says the proposed partnership with Seacom and eFive is “the best way forward”.
eFive Telecoms will be responsible for the project funding arrangements and plans to join forces with Nova Capital Africa to raise the US$400m necessary to manufacture and install the new cable. Nova Capital Africa is part of Nova Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based emerging markets investment banking group.
As with the Main One and Seacom cables, the solution will be privately funded and installed on an open access basis by 2012, giving it an early timing advantage when compared to other planned systems, the companies say. The actual ownership structure, construction plans and contractual details are yet to be finalised. — Staff reporter, TechCentral