Africa soon to have a glut of bandwidth

New submarine cables, scheduled for completion over the course of the next several years, could take Africa from a severe shortage of international bandwidth to a more-than-comfortable excess. In fact, the abundance of bandwidth could drive prices for data transmission into the bargain basement range, potentially prompting some companies to write off their investments.

Seacom's 1.3 Tbs, $650 million network along the east African coast is likely to be the first to come online. The cable will connect South Africa and East African countries with France and India. Privately backed, it should be operational in 2009. Some two-thirds of the 15,000 km cable already has been manufactured by companies in the U.S. and Japan, with shipboard delivery scheduled for September. Final splicing is set for April 2009 with two months of testing anticipated.

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