Africa-Europe fiber optic cable laid

MOMBASA, Kenya — East Africa took a big step toward joining the wired world Thursday with the launch of the first undersea fiber optic cable linking Europe to one of the world’s poorest regions.

Telecoms companies SEACOM and Cisco Systems ( CSCO – news – people ) said in a statement that Thursday’s start of broadband services will make fast Internet cheaper and more accessible in places like Kenya.

Yahoo! BuzzSEACOM’s Brian Herhily says the launch marks the “dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world.”

The 17,000-kilometer (10,625-mile) cable allows information to be sent at speeds of 1.28 terabytes per second, fast enough to stream high-definition video. It connects Djibouti, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania to India and Europe.

Southern and Western Africa already have broadband services.

As the West has grown used to taking streaming video and Internet phone calls for granted, Africa has remained far behind. The Indian Ocean’s east African seabed is the only one in the world without a submarine fiber-optic cable, forcing the region to rely heavily on limited and expensive satellite links.

Source: AP

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