The work to start planning for a new sub-sea fiber cable, the South Atlantic Express (SAEx), connecting North America, South America, Asia and Afrika, has begun. This was announced by SAEx International Ltd and Alcatel Submarine Networks, a subsidiary of Nokia, when they signed an agreement to commence survey activity for the new 25,000km submarine cable network.

“SAEx will support efficiency in Asian and African connectivity by adding a direct low-latency route that’s able to address the growing capacity requirements for Data Centre Interconnect globally. Additionally, it will further evolve South Africa’s positioning as a global hub, providing a direct link between the Americas & Asia, simplifying & enhancing communications between the 5 most populous countries in the world,” said Rosalind Thomas, Managing Director of SAEx.

How the SAex cable will connect the 4 continents via South Africa.

SAEx International Ltd is a Mauritian registered company with its principal office located in Mauritius, while SAEx project is South African sponsored.\

More high-speed cables for Afrika

SAEx will not be the first cable to connect Afrika to South America or Asia. Towards the end of September 2018, the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) became the first undersea cable to directly connect Afrika (Angola) with South America (Brasil). This is in addition to long standing undersea cables by SEACOM (which cover mostly the east coast of Afrika and connecting to Europe) and WACS (the cable system, as its name - West African Cable System - suggests, covers Afrika's west coast).

The number one advantage of having all these cables connecting directly to Afrika is reduction in latency. The other reason, among many other reasons, is that as we have witnessed with SEACOM in Southern and Eastern Afrika, the cable can directly affect consumer pricing positively as more Points-of-Presence (PoPs) are established inland.

From a business perspective, this opens doors up many opportunities, not only in the telecommunications sector but also from the media and content sectors.

“We are delighted to work with SAEx for this significant project, creating new and diverse routes around the globe at a time of tremendous growth in African broadband, mobile and cloud based applications that are driving service providers’ demand for more connectivity options with higher reliability. This project confirms Alcatel Submarine Networks’ turn-key expertise in helping operators address the fast growth of data-intensive services and applications,” said Philippe Piron, President & CEO of Alcatel Submarine Networks.


Cover image credit: Specialized undersea cable ship. Alcatel Submarine Networks