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Equiano subsea cable brings faster internet

2022-07-04  Eveline de Klerk

Equiano subsea cable brings faster internet

SWAKOPMUND – The Google Equiano subsea internet cable that is expected to increase internet speed by over 2.5 times its current speed and increase internet penetration over the next three years was finally brought ashore on Friday morning in Swakopmund.

The landing was made possible by Telecom Namibia and Paratus Group who invested N$300 million along with Google.

Once Equiano becomes fully operational in the last quarter of the year, it is expected to deliver up to 20 times more capacity than was previously available in Namibia. 

It took over three years and three months for the cable to arrive in Namibia since it departed Portugal in 2019.  

Paratus Group CEO Barney Harmse on Friday said it is indeed a historic moment for ICT in Namibia in general. 

“We are increasing bandwidth capacity tremendously. That means every consumer in Namibia will have a new experience when they log on to the internet as soon as we connect the cable to the landing station. We will be distributing massive internet capacity in Namibia and Southern Africa,” he explained.

According to him, Namibia currently has higher internet connection levels - at 40.5% compared with an average of 29% for sub-Saharan African countries, but has relied upon the West Africa Cable System (WACS) for its international connectivity until now. However, the landing of the Equiano cable will significantly increase Namibia’s international bandwidth capacity, as it is four times greater than the WACS cable that is currently congested.  

“This will not only ensure better stability of connectivity in the country, but also lower latency and higher speeds in global transmission of data.  This is a landmark event and a great day for Namibia’s digital transformation. We are very proud to be the Google landing partner, and infrastructure partner with Telecom Namibia, to deliver better connectivity to everyone in Namibia,” he said.

This marks an important milestone for Namibia and Africa as a continent as it will provide communications diversity due to its increased capacity. This will also have a direct positive impact on connectivity by guaranteeing faster internet, more flexibility in the market and an improved user experience for consumers in Namibia and beyond.   

The Equiano cable system is the third private international cable owned by Google and the 14th subsea cable invested in by Google. Equiano connects Portugal, South Africa and Namibia running along the West Coast of Africa. It has branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries.

Telecom Namibia CEO, Stanley Shanapinda also said the cable is a major step in the development of our national telecommunications infrastructure.  “This cable will become a critical element in meeting Namibia’s current and future international connectivity demands. It incorporates new technology that enables approximately 20 times more network capacity than the current WACS cable. The volume of information moving around the world has grown exponentially, particularly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and thus, the cable will further strengthen and enhance the backbone of modern communications in Namibia,” he said.

According to him, improved connectivity will accelerate job creation, as Equiano is expected to indirectly create 21 000 jobs in Namibia between 2022 and 2025, driven by the expansion of the digital economy and associated business sectors. 

2022-07-04  Eveline de Klerk

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