Techzim this week reached out to SEACOM chief executive, Brian Herlihy, on the recent announcement of the agreement with TDM for a direct link into landlocked countries, Zimbabwe and Malawi. In our communication with the SEACOM front man, he explained how SEACOM plans to provide more than just a basic international fibre network in these countries. In addition, SEACOM will provide Internet Protocol (IP) services to Internet and Business Service Providers.
“Mozambique and Tanzania are already IP network nodes,” said Herlihy, “SEACOM will continue to expand its IP presence across the region and into more landlocked countries.” The IP platform will allow services like International Private Lines (IPL), IP VPNs, IIP Transit and others.
Explaining the IP platform and how this will drive the growth of the African Internet and impact the availability of local African content, Herlihy said:
The IP Platform project involves the design, deployment and operation of nine land-based Internet access points that will store popular web content closer to where the Internet is accessed, thereby enabling a richer and faster internet browsing experience for end users. Six of these IP network nodes are already live including Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Maputo, Marseille, Mombasa and Mtunzini.
SEACOM’s IP platform will allow direct routing between African countries through a single seamless network. As a result, customers are able to reach multiple countries using the shortest path to final destination without Internet traffic being transferred via Europe.
Currently, Herlihy says SEACOM can offer a whole suite of IP services out of their Maputo cable station.
The SEACOM cable has had outage challenges in the past. We asked Herlihy the Internet and Business Services Providers relying on the SEACOM network should expect and his response, “We’re evolving”:
SEACOM is an evolving network and our priority is service quality. To this end, the company has made a number of investments to ensure that it offers the best service possible to its customers. These include securing capacity on other east and west-coast submarine cables, a partnership with the Main One cable, the roll out of the IP network and the continuous expansion of redundant routes including the diverse routes into Zimbabwe via South Africa and now Mozambique. All these investments, and those yet to come, will continue to improve services to ISPs utilizing SEACOM capacity only.
Currently, SEACOM has a total capacity of 1.28Tbps coming into Mozambique and South Africa. Zimbabwe has connections to the SEACOM cable via the Beitbridge border with South Africa and the more recent one at Zimbabwe’s border with Mozambique in Mutare. Hirley confirmed that SEACOM has been working closely with Dandemutande, Liquid Telecom and the state owned internet provider PowerTel Communications to provide a direct international fibre route into the country.
SEACOM already has similar partnerships with telecoms providers in in other landlocked countries like Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.
On the overall expected impact on Zimbabwe’s International bandwidth Herlihy had this to say:
The increased availability of SEACOM capacity in Zimbabwe will enable consumers and businesses to experience the benefit from true broadband connectivity including an Internet characterised by much improved latency, fast download and streaming speeds at better prices.
Image credit: SEACOM
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