The East African Submarine System (EASSy) is a wonderful example of a successful public-private partnership, bringing together the financial backing of Developmental Finance Institutions – including the World Bank, African Development Bank and European development banks – with the expertise and stability of 26 international and African telecommunications carriers and licence holders.
The EASSy system was completed on time and within budget – representing a huge success given the complexity of the project. Permits were secured and surveys undertaken across 9 separate administrations. Over 10,000km of optical fibre – together with the subsea equipment (repeaters and branching units) that is key to its functionality – was manufactured, integrated and deployed (over nearly five months) on or under the seabed. Nine landing stations were constructed or refurbished, fitted out with leading-edge optical and power equipment and management systems, and interconnected with terrestrial fibre-optic networks and the EASSy cable. Even after the deployment itself was complete, two months of testing were undertaken to ensure the integrity and performance of the system before launch at end-July 2010. EASSy is now providing high-quality, high-performance internet, voice and data connectivity to businesses and consumers across a growing number of locations and markets throughout eastern and southern half of Africa.