The installation of the South Atlantic Cable System, the first direct fibre link between Africa and South America, is nearing completion. Angola Cables said the cable will be 6,300km long and offer a capacity of 40Tbps between Brazil and Angola, with a latency of approximately 63 milliseconds. “The wet-plant installation is progressing in accordance to the plan and the cables will arrive in Brazil at the beginning of February,” said the company.
Once the installation is complete, testing will begin. Angola Cables expects to have the cable fully operational by Q3 2018. “The introduction of SACS opens a new routing.
South America will be able to reach Europe and Asia, avoiding the USA, and Africa will be able to reach the USA without linking through Europe,” said Angola Cables CEO Antonio Nunes.
Now read: Angola Cables peering at NAPAfrica
African connectivity is about to take a major leap forward, driven by a relative newcomer to the global ICT sector, from a country traditionally known for its oil resources rather than its tech prowess. When South Africa emerged as a democracy in 1994, the African continent had fewer telephone lines than New York did as a city. Fast forward to 2018, when Africa will witness the installation of its first direct subsea fibre connection to Latin America.
A project led by Angola Cables – celebrating five years of growth since it began operating as a telecoms multinational – the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) will be a symbolic shift, bypassing Europe to reach America, the largest center for digital content. In connecting to Monet – a cable system running up the East Coast of the Americas between Brazil and Florida in the US – SACS will facilitate the interconnection of three continents. It will also be an ‘Africa first’ approach to global Internet connectivity.
Part of the consortium that manages and owns the West Africa Cable System (WACS), Angola Cables will have sole ownership and management of SACS – extending about 6,500 km between Brazil and Angola – when the cable system is completed in mid-2018. One of the biggest benefits of this leap forward in African connectivity will be a significant reduction in the latency – or the time lag between a data packet being sent and received – between Angola and Brazil. With SACS, the latency of typical trafficking of Internet between Africa and the Americas will be reduced fivefold to around 63 milliseconds.
Now that’s a change to look forward to.
This article was published in partnership with Angola Cables.
Angola Cables plans to launch the MONET undersea cable, linking Africa to North America, by mid-2017. Google is among the investors in the cable. Its sister cable, the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), which will connect Angola and Brazil, was meant to be online this year.
However, the CEO of Angola Cables, Antonio Nunes, said SACS will only launch in mid-2018. Nunes said the delay was caused by the drop in the oil price. He said they had the financing in place to build the cable, but after the price drop, the government decided to relook its commitment.
Since then, Angola Cables has secured funding from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
Capacity, latency, and ownership
|Wavelengths per fibre pair||100||100|
|Capacity per wavelength||100Gbps||100Gbps|
|Ownership||Angola Cables||Angola Cables|
|Landing points||Sangano (Angola)||Sangano (Angola)|
|Santos (Brazil)||Fortaleza (Brazil)|
The MONET cable will stretch 10,556km from Sangano, which is near Luanda in Angola, to Miami in the United States. It will also land in Santos, near S?o Paulo, and Fortaleza in Brazil. MONET is a 6 fibre pair cable owned by Angola Cables (2 pairs), Algar Telecom from Brazil (1 pair), ANTEL from Uruguay (1 pair), and Google (2 pairs).
Each fibre pair will carry 100 wavelengths of light, and each wavelength will have 100Gbps of capacity, for a total design capacity of 60Tbps. Angola Cables will own 100% of SACS, which will run 6,500km between Sangano and Fortaleza. SACS will consist of four fibre pairs, each carrying 100 wavelengths of 100Gbps each, for a total design capacity of 40Tbps.
NEC is the supplier for SACS and TE SubCom is the supplier for MONET.
Nunes said that good progress has been made on the MONET cable, which already lands at Santos, Fortaleza, and Miami. They are currently in the final phase to make the final join, he said. He explained that even though SACS and MONET will be the first subsea cables in the South Atlantic ocean, maintaining them will be easy.
They have cable ships stationed in South America and Africa, which can respond to breaks and other faults on the cables. In the event there is a fault on the cables, Angola Cables will use the undersea cables in the North Atlantic for backup capacity.
Prices and latency to the US will come down
The biggest benefits the two cables will offer are lower bandwidth costs and lower latency to the Americas from Africa.
Nunes said that from Angola to Brazil, the latency will be around 63 milliseconds on SACS. Via MONET, latency from South Africa to Miami will be about 100ms. While MONET won’t stretch all the way to South Africa, local Internet service providers will be able to connect to it through cables like WACS and SAT-3.
Nunes said he is convinced that the price of Internet access will come down in South Africa thanks to the route diversity its new cables will introduce.
While he was able to confirm that Angola Cables has already pre-sold some capacity on SACS and MONET, Nunes couldn’t reveal who had signed up yet.
However, he did say that no South African company has bought capacity on MONET and SACS yet.