By Oiva Angula
17 August 2015
Telecom Namibia together with other WACS consortium parties is participation in the telecommunication capacity upgrade of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) which is being done in two phases.
This is the first upgrade that the consortium has undertaken since the system’s commissioning in May 2012.
Phase 1 focused on the upgrade of Fibre Pair 1 known as the Express Fibre Pair between South Africa and Portugal. This phase was completed and provisionally accepted by the WACS consortium on 30 July 2015. This resulted in the addition of 9 x 100G wavelengths to the system between South Africa and Portugal, in addition to the existing/initial 24 x 10G wavelengths.
The exercise has increased Telecom Namibia’s WACS capacity share from 11% (Initial Allocated Capacity) to 28% (Initial Allocated Capacity plus Phase 1 Allocated Capacity).
Phase 2 implementation is well on schedule for completion by end September 2015. This will result in the adding of 8 x 100G wavelengths to the system across the three Fibre Pairs, that is, in addition to the existing/initial 32 x 10G wavelengths. This will increase the capacity of the upgrading parties from 11% to 45% of their total capacity entitlement of the WACS system design capacity.
Phase 2 focuses on the upgrade of Fibre Pair 2 (South Africa to Nigeria to Portugal), Fibre Pair 3 (South African to Angola to DRC to Ivory Coast to Portugal) and Fibre Pair 4 (All WACS Landing Stations including Swakopmund Landing Station).
With regards to the Swakopmund Landing Station, additional 4 x 100G wavelengths will be added on top of the existing/initial 8 x 10G wavelengths.
Phase 2 will further increase Telecom Namibia’s capacity share from 28% to 45% which is the total Telecom Namibia’s capacity entitlement for this current upgrade. Subsequent upgrade phases will be implemented in the future depending on the future bandwidth demand until all WACS 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).
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.