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Subsea cable landings link Africa to cloud prosperity

Dan Kwach, managing director of Africa Data Centres East Africa Region.
Dan Kwach, managing director of Africa Data Centres East Africa Region.

The landing of the 2Africa PEARLS cable and the Google cable Equiano cable in Africa is likely to attract major cloud vendors to the continent, which will be a boost for enterprises.

Dan Kwach, MD of Africa Data Centres, East Africa, the continent stands to benefit from the landings and the new technology they offer.

Kwach told ITWeb Africa, “Capacity will be available in PEARLS landings at carrier-neutral facilities as well as open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and bolstering the development of a robust and healthy internet ecosystem, which will support the growing digital economy.”

He added, “Interestingly, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will deploy the new system employing new and innovative technologies including spacial division multiplexing or SDM that enables the deployment of up to 16 fibre pairs, double that which older technologies offer, and which enables better, and less expensive capacity.”

Equiano will be the first subsea cable to incorporate optical switching at the fibre-pair level, rather than the traditional approach of wavelength-level switching.

According to Submarine Cable Networks, “Equiano cable is state-of-the-art infrastructure based on SDM technology, with 12 fibre pairs and design capacity of 144Tbps, approximately 20 times more network capacity than the last cable built to serve this region.”

Kwach said that international investors are keeping a close eye on Africa’scloud computing market, as the ubiquity of smartphones, adoption of business software and general economic growth prospects have driven up demand for datacentres on the continent.

In addition, a young mobile population is fueling end-user demand for cloud and will drive a massive uptake in cloud technologies.

“While Africa currently accounts for less than 1% of the global public cloud services revenue, its capacity has doubled in recent years, and is only set to grow further,” he said.

According to the Africa Data Center Market Report 2022 global cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are expanding their presence with new cloud regions.

There is an opportunity for vendors to grow in suburban areas and increase the demand for hyperscale datacentres in Africa.

In April this year AWS announced that it will launch an availability zone in Nairobi.

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