Although the arrival of EaSSy will provide much needed competition and improved connectivity to South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the high connectivity costs remain the main concern among users in the region.
Telecom executives interviewed on the above issue confirmed that no price reduction would be effected soon.
Executive Head of Corporate Communications for Vodacom Group, Nicolene Visser, said: “The entering into service of the EASSy cable system in the third quarter 2010 will therefore not necessarily result in cost reductions of retail services.
Vodacom is however continuously seeking opportunities to deliver improved value to its customers, as is witnessed by the recently announced 50% price reduction on the Dedicated Internet Access service, available to business customers, from Vodacom Business.”
She said Vodacom leased capacity on other existing submarine cable systems and from other operators, which would continue after EASSy enters into service.
“This represents a fixed cost to Vodacom, which will not change with the introduction of EASSy”, said Visser.
Neotel’s executive head of technology, Angus Hay, said their focus was on providing customers with varied connectivity options.
“Neotel will now have connections to four cables, meaning that consumers are unlikely to experience downtime, after the EASSy cable goes live around August this year.
“As a member of the EASSy consortium, we are investing around R80 million into this project so as to provide a wider range of connectivity options to our customers”, said Hay.
But the Neotel official indicated that the addition of EASSy would significantly boost international bandwidth capacity and redundancy and increase internet connectivity competition in South Africa as compared to the current situation.
Angus Hay underlines that the EASSy cable, now in its final rollout phase, will also accelerate ongoing price reduction for connectivity.
Telkom Managing Executive for Wholesale Services, Alphonzo Samuels, said EASSy was one of the elements of Telkom’s cable investment strategy and was a key step towards the process of establishing a Telkom fibre ring capability around Africa.
“Interconnection with other undersea international cable systems will enable traffic on EASSy to seamlessly connect to Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and Asia, thereby enhancing the east coast of Africa’s connectivity to the global telecommunications network”, said Samuels.
The project costs R1.74 billion (US$235) and is being financed by African Development Bank (ADB), European Investment Bank, Germany’s development bank KFW and the French development bank AFD, respectively.
by Savious Kwinika