ETC and SEACOM ink undersea cable deal

19 Mar 2010

Ethiopian fixed line incumbent, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), has inked a deal with SEACOM for an international backhaul link via Djibouti, Computerworld reports. As a result of the deal ETC expects to lower the cost of bandwidth, and subsequently the cost to consumers for telecoms services. Commenting on the development, Amare Amsalu, ETC’s CEO, said: ‘SEACOM is ideally suited to provide international connectivity that will complement ETC’s extensive national initiative to link the country’s businesses and end-users with fibre broadband connectivity,’ adding, ‘The availability of high-quality broadband at lower prices will accelerate economic development and educational initiatives that will enhance lives and will also establish Ethiopia as an important commercial centre for Africa and as a regional transit point for other service providers.’

Under the terms of the deal it is understood that ETC will connect its domestic network to an undersea cable system that has been extended to the shores of the Red Sea. SEACOM has partnered with SEA-ME-WE 3, which operates a cable from South East Asia to Europe; TEAM, which has a Kenya to Dubai link; and the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), which has landing points in six countries. Currently ETC provides its voice and data services via expensive satellite connectivity, operated by Hughes International, although it does also have a low capacity bandwidth connection via Port Sudan.

The agreement complements the ongoing Next Generation Network (NGN) project being undertaken by ETC, which aims to enhance and improve the country’s existing telecoms infrastructure nationwide. The USD1.5 billion project encompasses work on both fixed line and wireless networks, as well as the national fibre-optic backbone.

Ethiopia, Ethio Telecom