WACS undersea cable update

The West Africa Cable System (WACS) landed at Yzerfontein on the West Coast of South Africa on 19 April 2011, promising to bring even more competition to the SA bandwidth market.

Deployment of WACS, done by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, began in 2009 and the company announced earlier this year that the design capacity of the cable has been increased from 3.84 terrabits per second (Tbps) to 5.12Tbps.

At the time of the landing, construction of the landing station was well under way with a planned completion date of July 2011. However, Telkom’s executive for global capacity business, Johan Meyer, told MyBroadband that there have been some delays caused by adverse weather conditions.

Meyer explained that heavy rains in the Western Cape region caused some problems with the landing station construction, but the project is on track again.

Johan Meyer
Johan Meyer

Physical cable testing has already started, but commercial testing is only expected to commence in February 2012, instead of the initially envisaged September/October 2011 start date.

The launch date for commercial WACS services has also been moved. Meyer said that commercial services on WACS are unlikely to arrive before the end of Q1 2012, with a Q2 2012 launch date expected.

WACS will have an initial lit capacity of 500 Gbps, and Meyer said that he expects this capacity to grow quickly to satisfy the ever growing demand for bandwidth.

WACS Map
WACS Map

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WACS undersea cable update