South Africa: No big bandwidth bang with East Africa Submarine System (Eassy)

(HornTrade) -  The East Africa Submarine System (Eassy) cable has not made the sort of splash on the SA broadband market as many had expected it to.

The 10 000km-long submarine fibre cable, which runs along Africa’s east coast, is the second new cable to arrive on SA shores in the past year. The first was Seacom, which went live in 2009.

SA also has the Sat-3 and Safe system, which is part-managed by Telkom.

Eassy, which became available commercially in July, runs along a similar but shorter route to Seacom’s cable and was expected to have a similar impact on the wholesale price of international bandwidth as Seacom had when it first arrived.

However, local Internet service providers say the cable’s landing has had little impact on the pricing of bandwidth so far.

Executive head of technology at Neotel Angus Hay says it’s still early days for the cable, and many local operators are still provisioning the capacity on their networks.

However, he says Eassy’s arrival has not had a big impact on the local pricing of international capacity. “At the moment, the pricing between the three cables — Eassy, Seacom and Sat-3 — is about equal,” he says.

Hay says Eassy is simply not big enough to make a large impact on the market. However, he says the system is being considered as a redundant link for Seacom.

Internet Solutions executive for connectivity services Sean Nourse says Eassy will not be able to bring a price drop to market until it is more than “an African solution”.

At the moment, Eassy runs from Mtunzini in SA to Djibouti in North Africa and has signed several agreements with international routing cables for onward connectivity to the rest of the world.

Nourse says Eassy will become a more popular cable once the Europe-India Gateway (EIG) system becomes fully operational because it will provide a complete system from SA through to London.

EIG is a 15 000km cable linking London in the UK and Mumbai in India. “When that goes live, we will really start to see the impact of Eassy,” he says.

Both Internet Solutions and Neotel expect the West African Cable System (Wacs) to have a bigger impact than Eassy. “There will be a sizable shift in the pricing structure when Wacs arrives,” says Hay.

Wacs will link SA to the UK and has an ultimate design capacity of 5,1Tbit/s. It is expected to go live in the second half of next year.

Source: TechCentral

Comments are closed.