South Africa’s “Independent Internet” plans with BRICS

The BRICS cable system is making headlines for creating an “independent Internet system” where people in the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) will be able to communicate without their traffic passing through a Western nation.

The BRICS cable will link the BRICS economies through a cable system which stretches from Fortaleza in Brazil to Vladivostok in Russia on the Pacific coast.

The 34,000km BRICS cable system, which will offer 12.8Tbps capacity between the five developing economies, is nothing new. It has been in the planning and feasibility stages since March 2011.

However, with the increased concern surrounding the United States’ spying on other nations, the planned independent Internet system is making headlines globally.

The profile of the BRICS cable project was lifted when the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff publically announced the creation of an Internet which is independent of the US and Britain.

Department of Communications comments

South Africa’s Department of Communications (DOC) confirmed that it sees international spying on Internet traffic as a problem.

“Government takes seriously all threats that can compromise the integrity and privacy of all online communications,” the DOC said.

The DOC said that it has developed a Cybersecurity Policy Framework that seeks to address, amongst other things, spying.

“We have also established a National Cyber Security Advisory Council that will advise Minister Yunus Carrim on technical and policy matters in cybersecurity,” the DOC said.

“Furthermore, a Computer System Incidence Response Team is being established to continuously monitor cybersecurity threats to SA and advise accordingly.”

The DOC said that it supports the BRICS cable system because it gives meaning to the political agreement between these emerging countries by providing infrastructure that can be used to conduct transactions amongst these nations.

“We believe that this cable will also minimise the cost of connectivity between and within these countries,” the DOC said.

“Furthermore, the BRICS economies will create a platform for inter BRICS business-to-business exchanges which will result in improved trade relations.”

The BRICS cable’s Andrew Mthembu did not respond to questions about the development of an “independent Internet system”.

According to the BRICS cable website, the projected ready for service date is mid to second half of 2015.

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South Africa’s “Independent Internet” plans with BRICS