Undersea cable to connect South Africa with the US – all the details

Angola Cables plans to launch the MONET undersea cable, linking Africa to North America, via its sister cable, the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS).

MONET will be online by mid-2017, and has Google as one of its investors.

SACS, which will link Africa to South America, was meant to be online this year, but the CEO of Angola Cables, Antonio Nunes, said the first South Atlantic cable will only launch in mid-2018.

Nunes said the delay was caused by the drop in the oil price.

He said they had the financing in place to build the cable, but after the price drop, the government decided to relook its commitment.

Since then, Angola Cables has secured funding from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Capacity, latency, and ownership

Angola Cables Systems MONET SACS
Length 10,556km 6,500km
Fibre pairs 6 4
Wavelengths per fibre pair 100 100
Capacity per wavelength 100Gbps 100Gbps
Design capacity 60Tbps 40Tbps
Supplier NEC TE SubCom
Finish date Mid-2017 Mid-2018
Ownership Angola Cables Angola Cables
Algar Telecoms
Landing points Santos (Brazil) Fortaleza (Brazil)
Fortaleza (Brazil) Sangano (Angola)
Miami (US)

The MONET cable will stretch 10,556km from Miami in the United States to Santos, near São Paulo in Brazil, landing at Fortaleza along the way.

MONET is a 6 fibre pair cable owned by Angola Cables (2 pairs), Algar Telecom from Brazil (1 pair), ANTEL from Uruguay (1 pair), and Google (2 pairs).

Each fibre pair will carry 100 wavelengths of light, and each wavelength will have 100Gbps of capacity, for a total design capacity of 60Tbps.

Angola Cables will own 100% of SACS, which will run 6,500km between Sangano, which is near Luanda in Angola, to Fortaleza in Brazil

SACS will consist of four fibre pairs, each carrying 100 wavelengths of 100Gbps each, for a total design capacity of 40Tbps.

NEC is the supplier for SACS and TE SubCom is the supplier for MONET.

Cable ships

Nunes said that good progress has been made on the MONET cable, which already lands at Santos, Fortaleza, and Miami.

They are currently in the final phase to make the final join, he said.

He explained that even though SACS and MONET will be the first subsea cables in the South Atlantic ocean, maintaining them will be easy.

They have cable ships stationed in South America and Africa, which can respond to breaks and other faults on the cables.

In the event there is a fault on the cables, Angola Cables will use the undersea cables in the North Atlantic for backup capacity.

Antonio Nunes

Prices and latency to the US will come down

The biggest benefits the two cables will offer are lower bandwidth costs and lower latency to the Americas from Africa.

Nunes said that from Angola to Brazil, the latency will be around 63 milliseconds on SACS.

Via MONET, latency from South Africa to Miami will be about 100ms.

While MONET won’t stretch all the way to South Africa, local Internet service providers will be able to connect to it via SACS by using WACS and SAT–3. Angola Cables owns a stake in WACS.

Nunes said he is convinced that the price of Internet access will come down in South Africa thanks to the route diversity its new cables will introduce.

While he was able to confirm that Angola Cables has already pre-sold some capacity on SACS and MONET, Nunes couldn’t reveal who had signed up yet.

However, he did say that no South African company has bought capacity on MONET and SACS yet.

Angola Cables cable map

Now read: All the world’s submarine fibre cables

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Undersea cable to connect South Africa with the US – all the details