The UbuntuNet Alliance, an association of national research and education networks (NRENs) in Africa, has awarded a 15 year contract to SEACOM to provide point to point connectivity services to its networks in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The partnership will create a first of its kind high speed pan-African research and education network for research collaborations in the region through the AfricaConnect2 project co-funded by the European Union .
The UbuntuNet Alliance community includes 14 NRENs in East and Southern Africa. SEACOM will build a connection between Kampala (Uganda) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), and on to Amsterdam (The Netherlands), where the UbuntuNet network interconnects with the European Research and Education Network (GÉANT).
UbuntuNet's connection will extend its reach along the east coast of Africa
The link between Kampala and Dar es Salaam is expected to complete a ring of NRENs between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and the Dar es Salaam to Amsterdam link will contribute to knowledge-sharing and collaborations between researchers and education practitioners in East Africa and Europe.
The 26.6 million euro project is geared towards ensuring more research and education institutions in Eastern and Southern Africa benefit from seamless connectivity to each other and to the internet, thus speeding access to information, knowledge sharing, collaboration on projects and application of best practice with researchers from the rest of the world.
"The UbuntuNet Alliance is excited to partner with SEACOM in this project", UbuntuNet CEO Dr. Pascal Hoba said at the announcement. "Following an exhaustive competitive tendering exercise, SEACOM has been selected to provide capacity services to close the loop in the North Eastern part of the UbuntuNet, heralding the start of a long term agreement for the two organizations to work together collaboratively."
“Through this agreement, SEACOM continues to support research and educational work within Africa, with the knowledge that connectivity is a vital catalyst to spur innovation", Byron Clatterbuck, SEACOM CEO added. "The close collaboration between SEACOM and the UA will ensure Africa and its people benefit from the use of new innovative technologies and ideas.”
Eastern and Southern Africa will be the first of three regions in Africa taking part in the €26.6 million AfricaConnect2 project.
The partnership between UbuntuNet and SEACOM will see the development of high capacity internet networks for research and education across Africa by building on existing networks and extending connectivity into West and Central Africa.