By Oiva Angula
9 March 2015
Telecom Namibia to host first WACS upgrade meeting
The West Africa Cable System (WACS) Consortium is meeting in Windhoek to discuss the upgrade of the system’s capacity in view of the enormous bandwidth update since commissioning in May 2013.
The system upgrade process will be undertaken in two phases, with phase 1 expected to be completed by end of June 2015 while phase 2 will be ready by end of October 2015.
The current upgrade will increase the capacity of the upgrading parties from 11% to 45% of their total capacity entitlement of the WACS system design capacity. Subsequent upgrade phases will be implemented in the future depending on the future bandwidth demand until parties reach their 100% WACS design capacity entitlement.
WACS is a submarine fibre optic cable that links countries in Southern Africa, Western Africa and Europe. WACS is based on a consortium model and is a joint effort of a number of African and global telecoms operators.
The system was officially commissioned in May 2012 and since then the bandwidth uptake has been quite enormous. This has forced the WACS consortium to go out on tender to upgrade the system.
The tendering process was finalised and the supplier appointed in December 2014 in the form of Huawei Marine Networks (HMN). Global telecoms operators from South Africa, Botswana, Angola, DRC, Congo Brazaville, Cameroon, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde Islands, Spain, Portugal, UK, India and Canada are represented at this meeting.
The Swakopmund Landing Station serves as a broadband gateway to the world for Namibia’s ICT industry. The station is also currently transiting for land-locked countries like Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. This therefore reflects the importance of WACS as an asset not only to Namibia but to the SADC region, Africa and the world at large.
The 5-day WACS upgrade meeting started on 9 March.