New Seaborn cable to link SA and the Americas
US-based Seaborn Networks expects to spend up to $140m on the first subsea telecommunications cable to directly link SA and the Americas and is likely to complete the project in mid-2020, says chief operating officer Andy Bax.
Seaborn was "co-ordinating with all the different interested parties", including South African telecoms companies and data centre operators, Bax said.
The cable will link Cape Town and Brazil, where it will connect with another Seaborn cable that extends from Sao Paulo to New York.
It would transfer data between SA and the Americas at speeds "significantly faster" than existing cables, which linked the two regions via Europe and via multiple connection points, Bax said.
South African companies Telkom, MTN, Vodacom and Broadband Infraco are part-owners of existing subsea cables, including the West African Cable System, which connects SA to Britain — and ultimately the US — via West African nations and Portugal.
Bax said Seaborn’s new network would transfer data between Cape Town and New York within 140 milliseconds, compared with a latency of about 210 milliseconds on existing networks.
The project, which would cost between $120m and $140m, would support the roll-out of broadband in Africa and would be "an attractive economic proposition" for end users given that the cable would be more direct and modern than the ones in place.
Seaborn, an independent cable operator, is also in discussions with companies in other parts of Africa as well as India, Pakistan, other parts of Asia and the Middle East, Bax said. Some of these companies are content providers.
Seaborn has a joint provisioning agreement with IOX Cable, which is constructing a submarine cable between SA and India.
The interconnected cables will effectively link the US and India via SA and Brazil.