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Date: 11 May 2012
Title: West African Cable System formally launched
Pretoria - The West African Cable System (WACS), which is geared towards improving bandwidth connectivity and intra-country trade, among other things, was formally launched on Friday.
WACS was initiated by the South African government as a collaborative effort of African governments and leading telecommunications operators. It forms part of government's vision to grow telecommunications locally and on the rest of the continent.
WACS is one of five submarine cable systems that link South Africa to the rest of the world.
State-owned Broadband Infraco has invested at the highest possible level in WACS, which is a Tier 1 investment, entitling the company to a 11.4% of the total capacity on the WACS system.
Public Enterprises Deputy Minister Ben Martins said: "Through Broadband Infraco, the South African government is proud to be a pioneering partner on the West African Cable System, a cable that will light up large areas of the west coast of Africa. For the first time in Africa's history, open access connectivity will liberalise African ICT markets in Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Togo.
Broadband Infraco's share of the total capacity offers the country a strategic opportunity to fulfil the vision of broadband-for-all by 2020.
It will also help realise the company's overall mandate to further reduce the cost of telecommunications in the country.
Broadband Infraco will provide connectivity to other licensed telecommunications operators, in their respective countries, the company added.
"Broadband Infraco's involvement in the development and subsequent investment in WACS was done to inject efficiencies into the international connectivity market in South Africa to reduce the high costs of international connectivity that was stifling growth in South Africa.
"One of the main objectives was to secure international connectivity and capacity in support of the projects of key national importance (that required high capacity international connectivity), being championed by various state vehicles," it said.
Chairperson of the Broadband Infraco Baord Mandla Ngcobo said Broadband access and speed was crucial to South Africa's economic future and indeed to the objectives of the New Growth Plan and National Development Plan of the government.
"Broadband Infraco is extremely proud to represent the government's share of the overall investment and to therefore navigate the government's vision, through our technical capacity and therefore a catalyst in the positioning of South Africa's future growth," he added. - BuaNews