Kenya on The Global Fibre Optic Map, Finally

Seacom has gone live! Finally. I was to break the champagne bottle on 27th June 2009, but July 23 is still OK. Read more from Daily Nation.

Internet broadband has become a reality in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda for the first time after one of the four awaited undersea cables was finally switched on today (Thursday).

The Seacom cable went live simultaneously in the four countries in addition to South Africa, and the Kenya portion of the cable was immediately connected to five internet service providers.

However, Seacom officials declined to name the ISPs because their customer contracts barred them from revealing such information.

Seacom, a privately-funded consortium, laid the cable at a cost of US$865m (Sh67 billion at current exchange rates). It is due to be connected to Rwanda in two weeks.

The commissioning was marked with a live telecast by Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete in Dar es Salaam with the media in Kampala, Maputo, Johannesburg, London and Marseille.

“The arrival of this cable signals the beginning of a new era in the telecommunications sector,” said Mr Kikwete.

“History has been made.”

Cisco Systems vice-president Le Roux, whose firm provided the technology for the cable, said: ” “Today is the day technology has arrived in Africa.”

Seacom announced that it would offer wholesale prices in the range of $100 (Sh7,700 ) per megabyte, with even more subsidised costs of between $10-$25 (Sh770-Sh1,925) dollars to schools, and research and health institutions.

“I can emphatically state that broadband will change the connectivity and economy of Africa,” said Seacom president Brian Herlihy in a live feed from the Tanzanian capital.

Five yet-to-be-named internet players were the first to access the 6,500 kilometre-cable following the switch and will now connect their equipment to the marine cable as they prepare to link offices and homes.

5 comments so far

  1. mikemo on

    this is good news,but do you know which isp’s have connected to seacom yet?

    • Guru on

      I am not sure of the Big 5, they are all hiding their identity…but its a no brainer….AccessKenya, Wananchi, AfricaOnline, UUNET, and KDN (even though KDN is actually a PDNO – Public Data Network Operator), probably Safaricom will want a piece of the action. Again, thats my 2-cents worth, I was not in the board room when they signed the dotted lines.

      • mikemo on

        they should have atleast sayed who bought bandwidth from them,doesnt make sense,i’m on orange/telkom and i doubt that they bought any from them,so…accesskenya it is!

  2. Kenyan on

    Am concerned about the price and the resistance of the Kenyan operators to lower the charge…but am sure after TEAMS and EASSY, competition will come to the aid of Kenyans.

    • Guru on

      As usual the big players will squeeze every shilling out of you and I, so don’t expect retail prices to tumble that fast. Even with TEAMS and EASSY landed and connected, the players are the same. They will be buying bandwidth from those cables for redundancy. The prices will probably remain the same in the interim.

      KDN is making the right noises, saying they have slashed prices by 90% and offering free Butterfly Wi-Fi access until Saturday 08/08 to “test” and “feel” true broadband. Of course the speeds will be super fast, you will download huge files, stream video etc. Whether this will be the actual customer experience when you purchase the service, is yet to be determined.

      Lets wait and see.

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