8 February 2011
The much awaited West Africa Cable System (WACS) makes a historic landing in Front Beach at Swakopmund, Namibia, today. The landing is expected to mark the beginning of cheap bandwidth which in itself would translate into many possibilities in the Information and Communications sector of the Namibian economy.
The project jointly executed by Telecom Namibia and its Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks partner may give Namibia the lead in the magical broadband revolution in Africa, as well as in tele-education, telemedicine, e-commerce and e-government among other practices that transform economies.
The shore-end landing works begins at 06h00 this morning. The cable ship and the tugs will take up their positions offshore and clearing and preparation of the channel for cable alignment will begin. Divers and other personnel will be active closer to shore, making preparations to lay and pull the cable into the beach manhole. The work area will be secured for safety but the general public can witness the activities from the Mole head and at the beach manhole point (Swimming Pool).
Telecom Namibia`s Managing Director, Mr. Frans Ndoroma, said the landing of the WACS submarine cable is a significant milestone in Namibia`s ICT development and a proud moment for our country. "The landing is of historic proportions since the economies of today are largely driven by internet and other ICT connections which are great enablers of faster global connectivity in order to stimulate economic for growth, and development of our country," Mr Ndoroma added.
The 14000-km WACS cable will bring direct connectivity between Namibia, West Africa, the UK and the rest of the world, with a design capacity of at least 5.12 Tbit. This will translate into much faster and more robust connectivity for voice, data and video. It has landing points in South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, CÃ´te d`Ivoire, Cape Verde as well as the Canary Islands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
WACS is being constructed at a cost of US$ 600 million. Namibia`s investment in the design and construction of the cable amounts to some US$75 million, which has been co-invested with Botswana on a 50/50 basis. Upon completion, WACS will enable current services and future, next-generation services at the highest industry standards and at a competitive cost. It will dramatically improve telecommunications delivery and the delivery of communications services generally and thereby place the enormous potential of ICT within the grasp of every Namibian.
"Telecom Namibia is therefore proud to be the Landing Party in Namibia and looks forward to the project`s completion by mid-2011 when the WACS cable will become operational," Ndoroma said.
"This project represents a major milestone in our company`s operational development as well as reason for all Namibia to celebrate. We look forward to working collaboratively with Government, the private sector, the regulatory agencies and indeed all stakeholders to exploit fully the opportunities that the WACS cable will provide," he added.