Thursday, November 14, 2019

Liquid deploys fiber connecting East-to-West Africa via DRC

Liquid Telecom has launched a land-based fiber network connecting East to West Africa. The coast-to-coast digital corridor follows the completion of Liquid Telecom’s new high-capacity fiber link running 2,600-km across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new backbone connects the company’s network on the Atlantic coast at Muanda in the DRC, via Liquid Telecom’s international subsea cable partners. It then runs directly East to Kinshasa and through the DRC onto Lubumbashi in the South, connecting with other cities in between, including Kikwit, Kananga and Kolwezi. The link then crosses the DRC border into Zambia, integrating there with Liquid Telecom’s existing and rapidly expanding pan-African terrestrial fibre network.

Liquid Telecom notes that until recently, no direct, land-based fibre network existed between East and West Africa. Network traffic between Kinshasa in the DRC and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, for example, was routed via London.

“Liquid Telecom has connected East to West Africa with the most direct digital corridor across the southern hemisphere. We have set a new benchmark and achieved a historic milestone in our vision to create a more connected Africa,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, Liquid Telecom. “By linking the DRC to Liquid Telecom’s rapidly expanding pan-African fibre network and the rest of the world, this transformative infrastructure is creating a foundation for digital growth. Fast, reliable broadband connectivity will advance society, fuel innovation and help champion pan-Africa trade.”

“What Africa has been lacking until now was a direct east to west telecommunications backbone. Liquid Telecom has achieved what African states and organisations have been contemplating for years without success. It deployed a high-capacity fibre optic backbone connecting subsea cables on the East Coast of Africa with cables on the West Coast of Africa. By doing this, it not only considerably shortened the communications route between East and West Africa and contributed to keeping the traffic local, it also laid the groundwork for connecting millions of Africa’s citizens (especially in the DRC) to the internet and the world. This is a significant milestone in continued expansion of modern telecommunications infrastructure across the African continent, supporting governments’ policies aimed at closing the digital divide within their countries and ultimately ensuring ubiquitous connectivity.” Said Dobek Pater, Director at Africa Analysis.

Liquid Telecom to invest US$400 million in deal with Telecom Egypt

Liquid Telecom will invest 8 billion Egyptian Pounds (US$400 million) in Egypt over the next three years as part of its partnership with Telecom Egypt on network infrastructure and data centres.

Specifically, Liquid Telecom will make an initial investment of US$50 million in data centres and cloud services. Liquid Telecom plans to invest an additional US$350 million in broadband and financial inclusion initiatives, as well as high capacity data centres.

Liquid Telecom’s expanding network is almost 70,000km in length and is linked to more than 600 towns and cities in 13 countries across Africa.

The investment was announced at the Africa 2018 Forum. The historical agreement was signed by Ahmed El Beheiry, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt, and Strive Masiyiwa - Group Executive Chairman of Liquid Telecom’s parent company Econet. It was witnessed by Her Excellency Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation and His Excellency, Dr Amr Talaat, The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

According to the Group Executive Chairman of Liquid Telecom’s parent company Econet, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, the next mission is to complete a link between Cairo and Dakar Senegal through Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria, as well as the rest of West Africa. “We have already crossed Africa from East to West through Sudan and Chad. We are at the Nigerian border and we expect to reach Abuja by the end of January in time for the AU Summit. We want to reach Dakar before President El-Sisi finishes his term,” he said.

Mr Masiyiwa also acknowledged the support of President Kagame, adding: “It would have been impossible to reach this far so quickly without his support. He adopted this initiative as a key project during his tenure and has been highly supportive throughout its development. We know President El-Sisi will help us take it to the next level because he understands the vision of Africa.” Mr Masiyiwa expressed his appreciation for leadership support across the continent. He said the ‘One Africa’ model could encourage other entrepreneurs to build projects in complementary sectors, such as rail and power. “We need to push the linkage of our continental power grids, and also rail and air transportation. Now is the time for bold initiatives to build intra African trade and investment.”



Telecom Egypt + Liquid Telecom link Cairo-to-Cape Town terrestrial fiber

Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to complete the first terrestrial fibre network stretching all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt.

Under the MoU, Liquid Telecom will link its network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt’s network via a new cross border interconnection – bringing together a 60,000km network that runs from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central, and Eastern African countries, and has now reached the border between Sudan and Egypt.

As part of the strategic partnership, Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt will share network infrastructure and explore further areas of collaboration, including joint network services, a peering arrangement and a voice interconnection agreement.

The Cape to Cairo network - often referred to as “the One Africa” broadband network - has been in the making for over ten years and serves some of the largest global companies with some of the fastest network speeds on the continent.

“Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa. This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa’s digital economies,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet.

Liquid Telecom acquires South Africa's Neotel

Liquid Telecom, a unit of South Africa–based Econet Global has announced that it has completed the acquisition of South African network operator Neotel for approximately ZAR 6.55 billion (approximately $491 million), further expanding its position as a pan-African telecoms company.

Liquid Telecom acquired Neotel from India's Tata Communications and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion. Liquid Telecom joined with 30% equity partner Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), a community-based South African investment group, for the acquisition, which received regulatory approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in December 2016. South Africa's Competition Commission approved the deal in October.

Established in 2006, Neotel has invested an estimated ZAR 7 billion in its network, deploying national backbone fibre connecting the top 40 cities and towns in South Africa and to over 5,000 businesses. Neotel operates a major, MEF-certified Ethernet network, while Liquid Telecom is a leading provider of Carrier Ethernet services with MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) services certification.

Neotel also operates redundant backhaul fibre to landing stations with access to all five of the international subsea cables serving South Africa - SAT-3, SAFE, SEACOM, EASSy and WACS. It was noted that Liquid Telecom owns significant international subsea capacity, and is currently building a subsea cable linking the east coast of Africa, Liquid Sea

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