12 September 2013

eFive Telecoms confident that South Atlantic Express cable will make it into the water


Route of South Atlantic Express cable © Wikicommons
Doubts have arisen about the future of the planned South Atlantic Express (SAex) fibre optic cable after eFive Telecoms, the South African company behind the project, failed to reach its expected financial closure by the end of June.

In an email to A Human Right, Dr. Rosalind Thomas, CEO of eFive Telecoms, said that despite delays caused by the difficult economic environment and a longer than anticipated technical review, her company was still pursuing its due diligence process. Dr. Thomas expressed confidence that the cable worth $280 million would make it into the water, adding that the proposed cable spur to St. Helena was still part of the company's plans.

The planned spur to St. Helena — which requires £10 million in funding — would provide two links from the remote island to the outside world: one to South Africa and one to Brazil, with each providing 100 GBit/s of bandwidth. Either one of the new links would be 5000 times faster than St. Helena’s current 20 MBit/s satellite link.

 
High-speed broadband would be huge for education. Not only could we make better use of online materials, but with affordable broadband teachers could develop their practice from home.
I'm an IT engineer and I would love to return to my island to start an IT business, but because of the slow, expensive and unreliable internet connection this is simply impossible.
I had to leave St Helena to study. Being 5000 miles away from my family and friends is hard. Not being able to skype with them due to the slow and expensive internet on St Helena is even harder.
Socioeconomic status is now heavily reliant on broadband penetration. With the ever-growing importance of the internet, St Helena with its limited access is in danger of being left behind.