Seacom holds talks with Google for capacity on Equiano cable
19 July 2019
Seacom is interested in acquiring capacity on Google's Equiano cable along the west coast to Europe, TechCentral reported. CEO Byron Clatterbuck said Seacom is also paying close attention to plans by Facebook to build a subsea system called Simba that may encircle Africa. Facebook is said to be planning to build Simba in two stages called Simba West and Simba East, and is in talks with telecommunications carriers to invest in the project, according to reports.
Google said in June that it had contracted Alcatel Submarine Networks to build a new submarine cable to connect Cape Town in South Africa with Lisbon in Portugal in a first phase. Equiano is expected to be ready for service by 2021 and will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level rather than traditional wavelength-level switching.
Equiano may use as many as twelve fibre pairs to deliver a design capacity of as much as 120 Tbps, in excess of anything that has been built around Africa to date. Google said in June that the Equiano system will have 20 times the capacity of the most recent cable laid long the route, which is already served by the Sat-3, Wacs and ACE systems.
Clatterbuck said the Seacom cable continues to expand its throughput. Today, it has lit 1.5 Tbps of capacity, but the company expects to double that by the end of 2019. He said Seacom has not signed an agreement with Google yet, but is engaged in discussions with it about the possibility of acquiring capacity on the Equiano cable.
The company already has access to cables such as WACS on the west coast and Eassy and Teams on the east coast, providing redundancy if the Seacom system is interrupted, which has happened in the past when ships' anchors have severed the cable.