SAEx commissions Alcatel Submarine Networks to begin survey for cable

Plans to build a new submarine broadband cable from South Africa across the south Atlantic are gathering pace after SAEx International announced that is has contracted Nokia’s Alcatel Submarine Networks to begin a survey, TechCentral reported. The agreement is for a desktop study, permitting and survey activities for the new system, which will eventually link Asia, South Africa and the Americas.

Two weeks ago, SAEx said it had partnered with Telecom Italia’s Sparkle unit to expand the cable’s reach in the Americas on the Seabras-1 cable.  That cable connects South America to the US east coast. Sparkle bought the capacity on Seabras-1 in 2016 as part of a USD 300 million investment.

Seabras-1 is the same cable system that a rival prospective cable, SABR — to be built by Seaborn Networks between Cape Town and Fortaleza in Brazil — plans to use for onward connectivity between South America and the US.

The SAEx system will have an ultimate capacity design up to 108 Tbps and will be composed of two main phases. SAEx1 will connect South Africa to Brazil and the US, with a branch to St Helena and stub branches for future landings in West Africa and other Atlantic islands. SAEx2, to be built later, will connect South Africa to both India and Singapore.

Alcatel Submarine Networks has been commissioned to deliver network design, manufacturing, installation and commissioning

The SAEx cable has been in the works since at least 2012. The business underwent a major restructuring in 2014.