Liquid Telecom subsidiary Liquid Sea has embarked on a project to build a subsea cable linking Africa to the Middle East, with onward connectivity to Europe.
The Liquid Sea cable will run 10,000km from South Africa to the Middle East, connecting to Liquid Telecom’s pan-African terrestrial network. It will be designed to provide reliable and affordable internet connectivity to landlocked and coastal countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.
Nic Rudnick, Liquid Telecom CEO, confirmed that the request for tender has been issued to international subsea cable construction cable companies.
"The Liquid Sea project reaffirms our commitment to building Africa’s digital future and removing any bottlenecks in providing the fastest and most reliable access to the internet to every single African on the continent," he said.
The cable project – which is already fully funded – is expected to deliver speeds of 20-30 Tbit/s and is due to complete in two years’ time.
"This project will provide a step-change in the way internet connectivity is regarded in Africa. We will be able to leverage the new submarine cable and our terrestrial network to improve our offerings to carriers, enterprise customers and households throughout the continent," said David Eurin, group chief strategy officer at Liquid Telecom.
"It is of utmost importance to us to create equal opportunities to people living both in coastal and landlocked countries, the latter being too often forgotten in large international projects of this kind."
Liquid Telecom is expected to launch an IPO in Europe next year, having turned down a number of offers in the last few months.
Source: Capacity Magazine
JRC ANALYSIS: As predicted by JRC, a second wave of submarine cable construction around the African continent is commencing and Liquid Telecom is a natural leader in this new movement. The company has been investing for over a decade in transcontinental terrestrial fiber networks, taking advantage of market liberalization in different African countries to challenge incumbent telcos with greenfield fiber optic networks using state-of-the-art technology and unencumbered by legacy systems.
Until now, Liquid Telecom has relied on Third Party providers for onward international connectivity but, despite the drop in the cost of international bandwidth as a result of the introduction to the African continent of new cable systems like WACS, ACE, SEACOM, EASSy, Main One, and Glo-1, Liquid Telecom clearly believes that, with growth in demand from Africa for international connectivity remaining robust, a company-owned cable which provides access to Europe and beyond is now a cost-effective investment.
With Liquid Telecom's pedigree, it is not surprising that this cable project is already fully funded and therefore looking highly likely to come to fruition. This will really upset the status quo. Representatives of the EASSy system, WIOCC, have frequently made the case that there is insufficient demand to support any more cables in Africa; SEACOM is known to have been planning extensions and maybe a new cable; this announcement may even give pause for thought to the proponents of the ACE extension from São Tomé & Principe to South Africa.
Julian Rawle, Author
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