More national bandwidth required in SA

WACS (West Africa Cable System) is set to go live in South Africa in the second quarter of 2012, boosting South Africa’s international bandwidth capacity with its design capacity of 5.12Tbps.

Despite the fact that WACS operates on an upgrade policy, which initially allows only a limited percentage of the total cable capacity to be made available, it is still significantly boosting the bandwidth coming into South Africa.

With the launch of Seacom, followed by EASSy and inbound WACS, there bandwidth bottleneck in SA is no longer on the international leg, but lies with national backhaul capacity.

Suveer Ramdhani, head of product strategy at Seacom, said that a major constraint for WACS is the lack of competitively priced backhaul capacity from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

“With the abundance of cables landing on African shores, we have also seen the pressure shifting to resolving the challenges around national backhaul infrastructure and pricing, as well as access,” said Ramdhani.

There are a few projects under way which may help to resolve the national bandwidth problem.

Neotel, Vodacom and MTN have partnered and are busy constructing a national fibre network.

FibreCo, a partnership between Cell C, Internet Solutions and Convergence Partners, is also developing a long-haul terrestrial fibre optic network in the country.

There is also InfraCo, who recently said that the company remains committed to fulfilling their mandate of bringing down national bandwidth prices in South Africa.

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More national bandwidth required in SA