Although Africa represents 14% of the world's population, it currently has less than 3% of the world's telephone lines. Africa remains the world's least developed continent in telecommunications.
International telecommunications connectivity across Eastern and Southern Africa has been almost exclusively delivered via satellites.
At present, according to African Development Bank, about 90% of intra-African voice and data traffic is routed through Europe and North America at a cost of about US$600 million per year. This is both unreliable and extremely expensive, with the result that capacity uptake within the wholesale market was severely restricted by budget constraints.
EASSy is an Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System that will act as a medium of internet connectivity carrying telecom traffic for all African operators from the Eastern and Southern African markets to connecting Cable networks in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
This will be a 10,000 km submarine cable system deployed along the east and south coast of Africa to service the voice, data, video and internet needs of the region.
With more than 10 terabytes per second of capacity, EASSy is one of the highest capacity systems serving Africa.
It links South Africa with Sudan via landing points in Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.
“The project, estimated at US$ 235 million, incorporates the latest developments in submarine fibre-optic technology, making it economical to connect the region to the high-speed global telecommunications network,” AfDB adds. The system is owned and operated by a group of 16 African (92%) and international (8%) telecommunications providers.
The EASSy project is a reflection of the AfDB’s new strategic thrust to achieve its five operational priorities and is rooted on the necessity to integrate Africa and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure.