Submarine cable linking East Africa lands in Djibouti

24Jan 2020
The Guardian
Submarine cable linking East Africa lands in Djibouti

THE submarine cable linking the coast of East Africa has officially landed in La Siesta Beach in Djibouti and the marine installation is underway.

By Odindo Ayieko

The 5,400-kilometer cable system dubbed the Djibouti Africa Regional Express-1 (DARE1) will link Djibouti, Mogadishu, Mombasa and Bosaso, and will deliver a capacity of up to 30 terabits per second.

It is as a result of a partnership between Djibouti Telecom, Telecom Kenya, SubCom and Somtel, a telecommunication company that operates in the Horn of Africa.

The giant companies have been in negotiation over the last couple of years configuring and designing the cable routes.

In addition to the installation of the trunk, the installation of the two branch legs to the system’s four landing stations has also started.

According to contractor SubCom, the connection will offer 36Tbps of capacity to East Africa.

Upon completion, DARE will be the fifth regional submarine fibre optic system Kenya is connected to. The others include SEACOM, East African Marine System (TEAMS), Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASsy) and Lion2 systems.

The landing stations, located in Djibouti (Djibouti), Bosaso (Puntland), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Mombasa (Kenya), will help enhance connectivity in the East African region and will enable more efficient communications.

The two installation vessels are progressing on schedule and marine operations are scheduled to be completed in March 2020.

While the marine vessels and crews work to install the trunk and branches, installation is also underway on the land cable and terminal equipment that will be used for the DARE1 system.

Last year, Kenya announced plans to connect to the DARE submarine fibre optic cable system at a cost of US$59-million.

Kenya’s Communications Authority stated the investment demonstrates government’s desire to improve Kenya’s position as a regional IT hub and is in line with the country’s digital master plan launched at the 2019 Transform Africa Summit.

“It is also aimed at guaranteeing companies and individuals access to a faster, secure and reliable internet connection,” he said. “Revenues generated by the digital economy should reach US$23,000-billion by 2025, thanks to investments 6.7 times higher than those in other sectors.”

Telkom Kenya’s MD for the Carrier Services Division, Kebaso Mokogi says: “ The DARE 1 Cable System will boost Kenya’s current capacity, given that it will be the largest, it will also provide an alternative redundant international connection, more important powered by newer and more reliable technology.’’

Djibouti Telecom’s Director-General, Mohamed Assoweh Bouh, says: “We are looking forward to the cable’s operationalization later in June, this year, with competitive cross-connect and IP traffic transit costs between Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, including capacity development and skill transfer.”

He added: “We believe this cable system is crucial for the development of the East African region and we are impressed by SubCom’s level of dedication and professional project management.

“We look forward to expanding [the cable system] into other regions and connecting it with other cables to increase accessibility in Africa and across the globe.”

The cable will also connect to the global network via multiple cable systems in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

The initiative will also open room for interconnection between telecommunication players in the Somali territories and the larger East Africa.

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