Paratus, Telecom, Google, Equiano – internet access in southern Africa set to explode
The first day of the third quarter 2022 will go down in history as the turning point for the continent to bring the internet closer to the vast African population. On this day, on the beach at Swakopmund, the Paratus Group together with local partner, Telecom Namibia, landed the Equiano Google subsea internet cable on dry land.
The cable will provide greater internet connectivity to several southern African countries through intra-regional networks that are either already under construction, or in the planning phase. Commenting after the successful landing, Paratus said Equiano will deliver roughly 20 times more capacity than is currently available. The cable is expected to be operational by the end of this year.
Telecom Namibia Chief Executive, Dr Stanley Shanapinda said: “The Google Equiano Cable shore landing 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, as the cable incorporates new technology that enables approximately 20 times more network capacity than the current WACS cable. The cable will ensure redundancy for Telecom Namibia and offers an alternative when other routes may be impaired.
Paratus Group chairman designate, Barney Harmse, who personally lent a hand with the actual landing, said “Namibia 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. The landing of the Equiano cable will significantly increase Namibia’s international bandwidth capacity as it is four times larger than WACS. This will not only ensure better stability of connectivity in the country, but also lower latency and higher speeds in global transmission of data.”
Equiano’s arrival in Namibia is set to increase internet speeds by over 2.5 times; increase internet penetration by 7.5% in the next three years; and act as a catalyst for considerable growth, job creation and sustainability.
The Managing Director of Google sub-Sahara Africa, Nitin Gajira said they are committed to support the continent’s digital transformation.
In preparation for the landing on 01 July, a cable landing station was completed last year in September and the internal furnishings and fit in January this year.
Home at last. Paratus Group chairman designate, Barney Harmse lending a hand to bring the Equiano subsea internet cable ashore on the outskirts of Swakopmund on the Namibian coastline. (Photograph by Desert Pearl Photography)