Africa: Seacom Sees Intra-African Internet Traffic Growing


Undersea cable operator Seacom is positioning itself to benefit from growth in internet traffic between African countries by partnering with local operators to provide seamless connections within the continent.

Key to the growth of this traffic are multinationals which are setting up shop in Nairobi and the region, local companies expanding regionally and collaboration between universities and other regional institutions, Seacom's regional head Julius Opio said yesterday.

"Today, the majority of internet content consumed in Africa is non-African, flowing from Europe and North America into Africa," Opio said at a Seacom media briefing last week.

"We believe that the growth of the African ICT market, including mobile penetration and the eager adoption of social networking, coupled with the development of cloud services will result in a rapid increase in content on African soil."

Seacom officially unveiled its IP network yesterday which increases the services available to its clients who buy data bandwidth wholesale and sell it onwards.

The new network, the company said, will allow African data and internet traffic to remain local rather than go through Europe before being routed back to the destination African country. "It will allow direct routing between African countries through a single seamless network," a statement by the company read.

The network which was designed in partnership with Dimension Data (owners of IS Kenya) and Cisco will allow direct connection between Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam or Nairobi to South Africa. "This should reduce the latency (time it takes for information on a network to get from one point to the other)," Opio said.

Seacom's head of sales, Martin Sanne, said companies going regional or continental would spur the growth of continental traffic. Sanne added that Seacom would partner with European cable operator Interroute so that companies setting up shop in say Nairobi would have their networks configured so that they would seem to be on the same network as back home. Seacom said growth in traffic from India and Asia had grown as the interest of those economies in Africa grows.