Seaborn expects South Africa-to-US subsea cable to start commercial operation in 2020

The first direct subsea fibre-optic cable system that will connect South Africa to Brazil, and eventually to the US, is set for commercial launch in 2020, according to Seaborn Networks COO Andy Bax, ITWeb reported. The company, which operates the most direct subsea system between Sao Paulo and New York, announced plans in 2017 to build a route that would be Africa’s first direct connection to the US. Currently, subsea cable systems that have landed in South Africa shores do not cater for direct international connectivity.

Cable projects such as the West Africa Cable System link South Africa with the UK along the west coast of Africa. Seacom serves the east and west coasts of Africa, extending its reach into Europe and the Asia-Pacific via India. The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System runs from Mtunzini in SA to Port Sudan, connecting countries in East Africa to the rest of the world.

The subsea cable system that Seaborn Networks plans to build will provide the direct route between Northern Brazil to Cape Town, effectively connecting Cape Town and New York via Brazil, says Bax. The Seaborn Networks COO explains the project is in its development phase, which means doing a lot of work on technical specifications, physical routing and identifying potential landing sites on each of the coasts, as well as talking to all the different parties that have shown an interest in being on the cable. He says the new cable system between Northern Brazil and Cape Town will cost anything in the region of USD 120 million to USD 140 million.

Seaborn Networks already operates Seabras-1, which directly connects Sao Paulo with New York, and part of the cable includes branching units or optional drop-off points for the future and one of them is into Northern Brazil. The benefits of building this cable route, says Bax, is that it will enable a path between Cape Town and New York with just one stop, as opposed to the couple of dozen stops between Middle East, Europe and across the US.