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Paratus, Telecom Namibia ink Equiano cable deal

By , ITWeb
Africa , Namibia , 17 Feb 2021
Telecom Namibia CEO, Dr Stanley Shanapinda and Paratus Group CEO Barney Harmse. (Photograph: Desert Pearl Photography).
Telecom Namibia CEO, Dr Stanley Shanapinda and Paratus Group CEO Barney Harmse. (Photograph: Desert Pearl Photography).

Paratus and Telecom Namibia have signed an agreement to land the subsea cable, Equiano, in Namibia.

In 2019, Google first announced its subsea cable project, Equiano, would connect Africa with Europe, running along the west coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa.

The cable incorporates new technology that the companies say enables approximately twenty times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region, and provides flexibility to add and reallocate capacity in different locations as needed.

In July 2019 ITWeb Africa reported that according to Google the cable will have branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries. The first phase of the project connecting South Africa with Portugal is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Pan-African full-service network operator Paratus is the landing party for the Namibia branch of Equiano and has operations in six SADC countries.

The development is expected to provide Namibian networks and their customers with greater capacity, and enable more product options that can stimulate economic growth and support a competitive telecommunications sector.

Paratus Group CEO, Barney Harmse said: “This is a major milestone for Paratus. We are honoured to be co-investing with Telecom Namibia on the Equiano subsea cable project because this matches our goals of delivering unlimited connectivity and building Africa’s quality network with all the Internet capacity it needs.”

Telecom Namibia CEO, Dr Stanley Shanapinda added: “This collaboration affirms that strategic partnerships between local network providers will greatly promote economic growth and digital transformation, while accelerating Namibia’s participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are very proud to be an investor in the Namibian branch.”

The companies explained that the increased capacity from the Equiano cable will provide Namibia with the necessary redundancy as a connectivity backup, a requirement that became evident when WACS & SAT3 subsea cable outages were experienced by various operators recently and which resulted in significant internet downtime and adverse effects for those businesses in Namibia and the SADC that did not have redundant connectivity solutions.

“This is important for Namibia”, added Shanapinda. “It is part of our ongoing commitment to connecting the Namibian people with faster, more reliable Internet connections. We will experience, first-hand, the positive impact this increased capacity and redundancy will have on our country and our economy. We have numerous points of presence (PoPs) internationally and we will continue to enhance routing diversity between these PoPs to minimise loss of traffic in the event of a failure on any of the submarine cables. It is crucial to highlight that Telecom Namibia does not only carry local traffic, but we ensure Internet connectivity for various landlocked countries in the SADC region.

Harmse concluded: “There is a critical requirement to ensure that our network is strengthened with diverse routes across Africa to minimise the impact of any single upstream network dependency.”

The Namibian landing station is scheduled to be completed in the latter part of 2021, with the Equiano cable expected to land in the second half of 2022.

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