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Telkom begins survey for high speed sub-marine fiber cable



Telkom Kenya has commenced the survey for the 30 Terabyte Fiber cable that runs for approximately 4,000 kilometers, interconnecting Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya.

The consortium led by Djibouti Telecoms, Somtel and Telkom Kenya, kicked off the preparation for DARE 1 (Djibouti African Regional Express) – soon to be Kenya’s largest Fiber Optic cable that is expected to land in 2019.

Kebaso Mokogi, the Managing Director of Telkom’s Carrier Services Division, says: “Telkom will provide the landing point in Mombasa with the opportunity to invest as a shareholder. The new cable has the biggest capacity yet, delivered on newer technology, which puts us ahead in the region. The arrival of the cable couldn’t be at a better time seeing as the life capacity of any cable ranges between 15 – 20 years, which the current ones are closing towards. This investment offers diversity in the routing of traffic and also provides for Fiber continuity considering the risk at the high seas”

The Cable survey is a geographical mapping exercise that involves under-sea navigation to where the cable will be buried, guided by factors like water and wave patterns to ensure the least disruption to the cable when laid. The process also looks into marine life, the movement of ships and other vessels, ensuring that there is no disruption.

Bruno Fedelli, the Consortium Representative on Board, says: “The exercise is weather dependent, since the sea has to be as calm as possible. We however anticipate to take between 50-60 days after which we’ll review the reports to guide the cost and plan of laying the cable. The survey also helps determine the cable specifications for manufacture.”

Kenya is currently served by four cables; serving the larger East African region. The arrival of the DARE1 cable from Djibouti, which is currently served by other 7 cables, grants Kenya access to multiple gateways to Europe, the East and other parts of the world.

 Mokogi adds: “We have the end of lifeline in sight for our main cables and as a business we’re planning ahead for continuity with new cables which offer better capacity and newer technology. This will enable us stay in tandem with the growth of data, whose demand has been growing driven by the adoption of e-services in the market requiring extra capacity and resilient routes in case of a downtime.”

Djibouti is the gateway to Africa and remains the most strategic cable route to Europe and Asia. Political stability and arising economic opportunities in the respective countries have largely inspired the regional initiative to interconnect and is expected to ease the movement and exchange of Internet traffic.

The development of regional backbones such as the DARE 1 will increase access to data in the region, with eventual gains being realised on cost for the end consumers. Coupled with growing demand for data for business and personal use, the availability of high-speed broadband is expected to deliver faster speeds that will eventually generate more revenue and services, attracting content providers and Content Development Networks looking to foray into the region, which the parties are engaging for consideration.

The investment is anchored on the competitive and economic importance of new applications being adopted by the various markets, in need of next-generation infrastructure.

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