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Eassy cable set for June launch

After many delays, Africa’s Eassy cable system nears completion

Eassy cable set for June launch
The Eassy cable, which will link east Africa to the rest of the world, is due to be complete by the end of June.

One of the biggest submarine cable systems linking Africa to the rest of the world, the East African Submarine Cable System (Eassy), is set to go live by the end of June, the CEO of the project’s largest investor has confirmed.

Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, the biggest single investor in Eassy, confirmed that the project was on schedule after the cable system landed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier in the month.

“The project continues to run as planned, with nearly 90% of the cable now laid in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. We expect to start testing the system at the end of April 2010, in readiness for the 'system ready for service' date on 30th June 2010,” Wood said.

When complete, Eassy will be the largest submarine cable serving sub-Saharan Africa. The cable will interconnect nine African countries along the east coast and provide onward connectivity to Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.

In Tanzania, the cable, which will interconnect with domestic and international networks, has already been connected to a landing station at the head offices of mobile operator Zantel. 

Wood also confirmed that several organisations and companies in Africa were already in discussions with WIOCC and its partners for direct international connectivity to internet exchanges in Europe and the US.

“We can confidently assure the stakeholders that we will be able to meet such demands in Kenya and other African countries, including landlocked countries. We are happy with the progress being made on the vital construction phase of Eassy,” he said.

Eassy has been in development since about 2000, and has been delayed repeatedly owing to disagreements over ownership and the amount of control the government of Kenya has over the project, according to Lindsay McDonald, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan.

“The first cable system that was spoken about was Eassy, and that has been spoken about since about 2000 and it is only now that we are starting to see it being completed.

“There are a number of reasons for that, mainly that the Kenyan government wanted to maintain control over it, there were issues about who owned what and all those kind of things. That is now coming to fruition slowly,” she said.

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