Internet Solutions (IS) wants to be part of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), despite the uncertainty of the economic model, says Internet Solutions director Hillel Shrock.

The company feels strongly it should be part of the EASSy consortium as it uses more bandwidth and is probably richer than many of the national telecommunications companies that could become part of the project, says Schrock.“We have the bandwidth requirements and we have the funds to become part of the EASSSy,” he says.

IS has not been invited to be part of the EASSy consortium because it was licensed as a value-added network service under the now defunct Telecommunications Act and not as a proper telecommunications utility. However, the new licensing regime that is due to come out of the new Electronic Communications (EC) Act could enable IS to become part of the consortium.

“The whole environment will change under the EC Act, and while we don't yet know what type of licence we will finally get, we do believe it should allow us to become part of Eassy,” Shrock says.

Shrock says the size of the company's bandwidth requirements mean it should have a clear and undisputed right to access the undersea cable, and the change in the South African regulatory environment should facilitate that right. “If the [South African] government wants to send a message that Eassy should be an open access model, then all the more reason for us to be included in the consortium,” he says.

Shrock says IS has been in discussions with a number of parties, including governments and telecommunications operators, about its possible Eassy participation. The company is owned by South African IT group Dimension Data, which has former Department of Communications director-general, Andile Ngcaba, as its chairman.