“The winner of the Best Pan-African category is charging ahead with the task of fusing African communication channels, and it could be giving a glimpse of the connected African map in 10 years’ time… The winner is WIOCC.”
WIOCC won the Best Pan-African Initiative Award at Africa Com 2012, for building an unrivalled, high-capacity network that seamlessly integrates more than 50,000km of African terrestrial fibre with 40,000km of international submarine cable – giving carriers diversity-rich, high-speed international connectivity to and from over 400 locations in 30 African countries.
The Best Pan-African Initiative Award recognises an initiative taken to improve telecommunications services at a regional or continental level across Africa, and was presented to WIOCC CEO Chris Wood at the Africa Com 2012 awards dinner – which took place in Cape Town, South Africa on 14th November.
After receiving the award, WIOCC CEO Chris Wood commented, “This award recognises WIOCC’s unique achievement in bringing together the networks of our 14 African telco shareholders and selected partners, together with strategic investments in submarine cables including EIG, WACS and EASSy, to create an unparalleled African network footprint and capability. It clearly demonstrates the power of working together in pursuit of a common goal, resulting in something far greater than the sum of its parts.”
As well as serving Africa’s coastal regions, WIOCC’s network is increasingly enabling businesses and individuals in landlocked countries – such as Botswana, Burundi, Lesotho, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe – to benefit from reliable and affordable international connectivity.
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The chief executive of WIOCC, Africa’s self-styled “carrier’s carrier”, has ruled out any push into the retail market as the provider prepares a new two-pronged expansion drive across the continent.
Speaking exclusively to Capacity magazine, Chris Wood said: “We’ve got no aspirations or desire to move into the retail space; we’re purely in the wholesale space and aim to stay there as we are doing it extremely effectively.”
Instead, Wood will target terrestrial partnerships in the west and connectivity upgrades in the south and east. Spurred by the significant amount of capacity it owns on the recently launched West Africa Cable System (WACS), WIOCC is looking to broaden its predominantly eastern focussed grid of terrestrial fibre networks through partnerships with operators on the west coast. The group is also rolling out its own western terrestrial networks through a number of suppliers.
Elsewhere WIOCC is looking to expand connectivity from the EASSy cable, on which it owns a 30% stake, inland and is now doing business in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. The company is also working on opportunities in Swaziland, one of the few markets on Africa’s south eastern coast that has so far proven elusive for the company.
“In the next two to three years we are looking to consolidate our position as the leading African carrier’s carrier, add connectivity in west Africa and increase connectivity in eastern and southern Africa,” Wood added.
To cope with increasing bandwidth demand the EASSy cable is likely to be upgraded by as much as a terabit in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Wood. The upgrade would be the second in the cable’s recently history, with 160Gbps of capacity added in January 2012.