Posts Tagged ‘east african submarine cable system’

WIOCC at Capacity Africa in Dar es Salaam

August 26, 2015

WIOCC, Africa’s Carrier’s Carrier will be attending and participating at Capacity Africa 2015 taking place in Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Tuesday 8th – Wednesday 9th September, 2015.  Delegates attending this year’s conference will meet with over 400+ senior executives from 130+ major players and regional start-ups from 65+ countries representing the entire African wholesale industry from across the continent and beyond.

WIOCC will be represented at the event by Ryan Sher – Chief Operations Officer, James Wekesa – Chief Commercial Officer, Hitesh Desai – Director, Sales Southern Africa, Darren Bedford – Director, Africa Business Development and Martin Mutiiria – Director, Africa-Sales.

Ryan Sher will also be an expert panelist in a discussion session about “A Pan-African, inclusive vision for enabling connectivity throughout the continent” on the first day (8th September, 2015) at 10.10 am.

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

The discussion is expected to focus on:

  • The economics of expanding networks into rural and landlocked Africa
  • Current network developments (4G-LTE) and trends in consumer uptake
  • Examples of successful case studies of connectivity at affordable prices vs. where improvements are most needed
  • Is Africa on the brink of a fibre revolution? Spotlight on terrestrial fibre network roll outs and FTTH
  • Analysis of alternative forms of connectivity and multi-layered approaches
  • Which government and non-government initiatives (NGOs and USFs) are helping to resolve connectivity deprivation?

The WIOCC event team is lining up a full set of meetings with existing and prospective customers to discuss how WIOCC can support them in Africa.

To arrange a meeting with WIOCC please contact

Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade EASSy submarine cable system along Africa’s eastern and southern coast

January 27, 2014

Upgrade to 10,000km subsea system linking South Africa to Sudan will further boost ultra-broadband capacity and strengthen onward connectivity between eastern & southern Africa and Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Paris, January 22, 2014 — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is to upgrade the EASSy submarine cable system, one of the largest and most modern systems serving Africa, with the deployment of the latest 100 gigabit-per-second (Gbit/s) technology.

Alcatel-Lucent‘s 100G technology will enable the system to ultimately carry capacity in excess of 10Tbit/s, further complementing its ability to carry high volumes of data capacity on the EASSy system, which runs 10,000km from South Africa to Sudan, in support of the continued explosion of data traffic in Africa. Alcatel-Lucent will leverage its unmatched experience of deployments around Africa to provide this upgrade within EASSy’s requested timeframe.

EASSy is owned and operated by a group of 17 African and international shareholders – all telecommunications operators and service providers. The system is implemented in a protected ring configuration linking eight countries from Sudan to South Africa, via Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Comores and Mozambique. Landings are located in Port Sudan, Djibouti (Djibouti), Mombasa (Kenya), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Moroni (Comores), Toliary (Madagascar), Maputo (Mozambique) and Mtunzini (South Africa). The system also addresses a wide range of international destinations through interconnection with multiple international submarine cable networks for diverse, seamless onward connectivity to Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.

Chris Wood, Chairman of the EASSy Management Committee said: “Since EASSy entered service in 2010, we have seen enormous growth in demand for capacity on the system, reflecting the service quality and reliability that we have been able to offer. This upgrade will add an additional 400Gbps of capacity throughout the system, using Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced coherent 100Gbit/s technology, and enables us to take a further step in offering our customers the ultra-broadband capacity needed for innovative services and applications.”

Philippe Dumont, President of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks, said: “We are pleased to continue our cooperation with EASSy owners following the initial deployment and subsequent upgrades to higher speeds. With staged upgrades until now, this latest upgrade using our 100Gbit/s technology confirms Alcatel-Lucent as the leading innovation partner to address evolving connectivity needs over time whilst meeting the low-latency and the resilience requirements that our customers demand.”

WIOCC CEO Chris Wood among 100 most powerful people in global telecommunications and nominated for AfricaCom Awards 2013

October 23, 2013

Chris Wood, WIOCC CEOChris Wood, CEO of award-winning Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, has again been named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry.

In the 6th annual GTB Power 100 listing, Chris ascended 14 places in the rankings to 65. He is one of only four executives from African businesses to appear in this Global Telecoms Business magazine-compiled list, which identifies the 100 most powerful people in the global telecommunications industry.

Chris is credited with masterminding impressive growth over the last 12 months at the Africa-focused international capacity wholesaler, where revenues rose by 40% and profits increased by more than 100%.

The publication highlighted that ‘Wood’s vision for improving the reach, quality and affordability of Africa’s international connectivity includes strategic investments, key partnerships, technical excellence and an absolute commitment to customer service.’

He was also acknowledged for ‘establishing WIOCC as the number one supplier of diversity-rich, high-capacity, end-to-end managed circuits into and out of Africa’.

WIOCC CEO shortlisted for AfricaCom Awards 2013

Further to his recognition by Global Telecoms Business, WIOCC’s CEO has also been shortlisted for the AfricaCom awards 2013 in the ‘Industry personality of the year’ category. Chris was nominated in October 2013 for the award based on his achievements over the past years.

Chris has led WIOCC since inception, building it quickly into a profitable, award-winning business with a unique, pan-African network footprint.

Under his stewardship, WIOCC is transforming how businesses operate and how individuals go about their daily lives in Africa. The resulting improvements in availability and affordability of broadband capabilities have been extremely beneficial in:

  • enabling African and international telecommunications service providers to roll out ever-more-advanced services into African markets
  • offering businesses opportunities to make operational savings, deliver improved capabilities and address new markets. Greater capacity and network reach are also supporting the development of a community of internet-based businesses across eastern and southern Africa.
  • allowing high-capacity links to be created between education and research establishments, helping to speed up research and shorten development times of new products and services
  • improving access to information, news, entertainment, education, social networking and a growing range of eGovernment services – improving quality of life for millions across the African continent

James Wekesa speaks at Zimbabwe’s Broadband Forum 2013

May 10, 2013

James Wekesa, WIOCC CCO

Today, 10th May 2013, James Wekesa – WIOCC’s CCO and Martin Mutiiria – Director, Africa Sales will represent WIOCC at Zimbabwe’s first Broadband Forum being held in Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Lodge in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mr. Wekesa will be among the six speakers tackling a variety of internet-related topics at the event. He will offer his expertise during his speaking slot titled ‘Opportunities availed by increased bandwidth capacity on the continent’ between 11:15 and 11:45am.

During his presentation session, James will review the commercial opportunities created by increased bandwidth capacity on the African continent and in Zimbabwe.

This first Broadband Forum aims to unlock the value locally in mass uptake of broadband internet access, providing a platform to unbox opportunities, track progress, zero in on the challenges and explore solutions on all broadband issues. It will be a day of presentation, discussion and networking with local and regional decision makers in the broadband industry.

To reach James or Martin at the Broadband Forum, please email them at or

WIOCC’s Ryan Sher: one of the 40 most influential under-40 year olds in global telecommunications

April 29, 2013

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

Ryan Sher, WIOCC COO

For the third consecutive year, Ryan Sher, Chief Operating Officer at Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC, has been acclaimed1 as one of the 40 most influential people under the age of 40 in the global telecommunications industry.

Ryan has been a key force in the development and commercialisation of WIOCC’s unique international fibre-optic network, which won the Best Pan-African Initiative Award at AfricaCom 2012 and seamlessly links 50,000km of African terrestrial fibre with multiple international submarine cables.

In his citation, Ryan was recognised for ‘his drive, energy and business skills, which have been vital in transforming WIOCC – after less than five years trading – into Africa’s carriers’ carrier. WIOCC leads the way in delivering end-to-end-managed wholesale connectivity to Africa and offers carriers diversity-rich, high-speed international connectivity to and from over 400 locations in 30 African countries.’

Ryan’s achievements include implementing the first truly seamless, diversity-rich, high-speed network between Africa and Europe – linking WIOCC’s strategic investments in EASSy, EIG and WACS – and managing the interconnection of WIOCC shareholder and partner networks to create the largest (over 50,000km) terrestrial fibre footprint in Africa.

WIOCC’s network reaches 700 cities in >70 countries

May 27, 2011

WIOCC has announced  the interconnection of its network with that of Global Crossing, a leading  global IP solutions provider, in order to meet the rapid growth in demand for  cost-effective, high-quality, end-to-end connectivity between Africa and the  rest of the world. “This strategic relationship with Global Crossing, with its  comprehensive global network reach, significantly improves our ability to  deliver end-to-end service to WIOCC customers in Africa and the rest of the  world,” said WIOCC CEO Chris Wood.

Global Crossing's network

“Our shareholders own terrestrial networks that interconnect 20 African countries over more than 50,000km of optical fibre, serving more than 400 African locations,” added WIOCC’s COO Ryan Sher. Global Crossing’s network reaches more than 700 cities in more than 70 countries across North America, Latin America and Europe. The two networks are interconnected in London, offering both service providers improved reach from their respective markets.

“EASSy represents the majority of the international capacity available on Africa’s east coast,” said Habib Issa, Global Crossing’s head of Carrier Sales for South Europe, Middle East and Africa. “WIOCC has unparalleled reach throughout eastern and southern Africa, and will play an important role in improving Internet connectivity throughout this region.”

With African consumers and businesses increasingly demanding improved access to data-rich services and Internet content originating outside the continent, the WIOCC/Global Crossing relationship benefits African telcos and ISPs by improving their ability to deliver cost-effective, high-speed connectivity with the rest of the world. International carriers looking for better connectivity into Africa can now take advantage of Global Crossing’s network as a convenient access mechanism for exchanging traffic directly with eastern and southern Africa using the WIOCC-EASSy cable and network.

Read the full press release here

For more information, contact

Africa connectivity update

May 3, 2011

According to recent studies by Hamilton Research, Africa’s total international Internet bandwidth reached 520 Gbps in December 2010, a 78% increase compared to 2009. This was split between North Africa, which increased by 56% to reach 312 Gbps, and Sub-Saharan Africa which increased by 125% to reach 208 Gbps.

Africa transmission map

This bandwidth growth is clearly the result of the arrival of multiple, competing submarine cables last year. This has seen dramatic increases in countries connected to submarine cables for the first time: Comores Telecom for example, which was connected to EASSy in July last year, increased its Internet bandwidth from 12 Mbps in 2008 to 180 Mbps by December 2010. Meanwhile, Mauritius Telecom which was first connected to SAFE since 2002 and has also invested in the EASSy, LION, EIG, and WACS cables, initially activated four STM-1 circuits (622 Mbps) on EASSy and had increased its Internet bandwidth from 3 Gbps to 4.8 Gbps by December 2010.

Growth has also been driven by the completion of cross-border backhaul routes from landlocked countries. The volume of cross-border traffic backhauled to submarine cables doubled again for the second year running, reaching almost 20 Gbps in December 2010. There has also been significant progress in the expansion of national fibre backbones delivering greater bandwidth to cities and towns inland from the coast. In the first quarter of 2011, a total of 45,338.7-kms of network was added or edited in the Africa Telecom Transmission Map, bringing the total inventory of terrestrial transmission network to 645,938.2-km. By comparison, in July 2010 this stood at 585,471-km and in July 2009 at 465,659-km (restated).

According to Socialbakers, which publish worldwide Facebook user statistics, Africa reached some 28.59 million users by the end of April 2011. Africa reached the milestone of 25 million users in February 2011, a net increase of 5.4 million compared to three months previously (19.6 million), and 8.3 million six months previously (16.7 million).

Africa Telecom Transmission Map Updates Q1, 2011

A total of 372 changes were made to terrestrial transmission networks on the Africa Telecom Transmission map during the quarter, with fibre backbones extended in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This included 17,232.3-km of operational fibre, 14,417.5-km of fibre under construction, 6,731.6-km of fibre which was planned, and 4,417.3-km of fibre which was proposed. A further 2,540-km of microwave network was either added or edited.

As an example of the speed with which terrestrial fibre routes are being built, landlocked Zambia currently has 3,671-km of fibre under construction (Q1, 2011) and will have four separate international fibre routes to submarine cables by the end of this year. The first is the existing fibre link through Namibia, and the second is through Botswana. In April, Liquid Telecom and Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) announced that they had created a joint venture called CEC Liquid Telecommunications Ltd which will provide international wholesale services through Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, ZESCO has started work on the second phase of its national fibre backbone, including a link to Tanzania, which it plans to complete the end of the year.

Fibre Long Haul

African operators are continuing to build new backhaul routes to submarine cable landing points to increase diversity and resilience, and are expanding national backbones to delivering greater bandwidth to cities and towns inland from the coast. In Cameroon for example, a new fibre route was completed from Douala to Limbe, where the ACE cable will land. In the Comoros, Comores Telecom completed fibre routes prior to the entry into service of the EASSy cable, and in December last year announced plans to build an inter-island submarine cable as a domestic backbone connecting the islands of Grand Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli.

Elsewhere, in Ghana the National Communications Backbone Co Ltd (NCBC) completed a northern fibre ring from Navrongo to Sunyani and in Malawi the Malawi Telecommunications Ltd (MTL) completed a fibre route from Lilongwe (the capital) to Mangochi as it close a southern ring to Blantyre. In Tanzania TiGO and Zantel announced they have started building their own national fibre backbone primarily along railway lines, which is due for completion within 24 months. And in South Africa, FibreCo (the joint venture between Cell C, Convergence Partners and Internet Solutions) announced plans to complete the first phase of national backbone by the end of 2012. Meanwhile, the co-built network being built by Neotel, MTN and Vodacom had trenched some 472-km of the route from Pretoria to Durban by December 2010, and Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) are also building a second alternative route from Pretoria to Mtunzini via Vryheid.

Cross-Border Routes

Several additional cross-border routes were added to the map during the quarter. Swaziland has opened up a second international fibre route via Lavumisa to the submarine cables landing at Mtunzini (South Africa). In Chad, the fibre route from Ndjamena (the capital) to Kome was completed in the first quarter, and will soon be connected to the fibre cable running along the pipeline from Kome to Kribi via Yaounde. Once operational, this will provide Chad with access to submarine cables landing in Cameroon for the first time.

During April, Liquid Telecom announced that it had formed a joint venture with Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) called CEC Liquid Telecommunications, and has started building a fibre route from Chirundu on the Zimbabwe/ Zambia border to Ndola via the capital, Lusaka. Malawi Telecom Ltd (MTL) plans to complete a second international fibre route to Mozambique by the end of the year from Mangochi to Mandimba as an alternative to the existing route through Zobue. In Uganda, Kenya Data Networks (KDN) expects to complete the fibre route from Kampala to Gatuna on the border with Rwanda during the second quarter, which will close a fibre route from Mombasa (Kenya) to Kigali (Rwanda).

Submarine Cables

The Europe India Gateway (EIG) submarine cable, which provides onward connectivity for cables serving sub-Saharan Africa, entered partial service during the first quarter with the segments from the UK to Libya (Tripoli), and from India to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) entering service. The remaining segments through Egypt from Jeddah to Tripoli are due to enter service during the second quarter. In April, Globacom announced that the GLO-1 cable running from Lagos to the UK entered service from Accra (Ghana) following the launch of services from Lagos (Nigeria) last year. In addition, the WACS cable landed at Yzerfontein near Cape Town (South Africa) on 19 April, and after completion in the second half the year is expected to enter service in the first quarter of 2011.


Africa’s total Internet bandwidth increased by 78% to reach 520 Gbps in December 2010, with North Africa increasing by 56% to reach 312 Gbps and Sub-Saharan Africa by 125% to reach 208 Gbps. The volume of cross-border traffic backhauled to submarine cables doubled again for the second year running, reaching almost 20 Gbps in December 2010.

Whilst a number of key new cross-border routes were completed last year, the capacity on existing routes has been upgraded in line with demand. Burkina Faso for example increased its international Internet bandwidth on cross-border fibre routes to Senegal (via Mali), Cote d’Ivoire and Benin (via Togo) from four STM-1 circuits (622 Mbps) in 2009 to six (933 Mbps) in 2010.

This summary produced by Hamilton Research.

Explaining submarine system terminology – Part 1

April 28, 2011

Recent discussions on fibre-optic transmission systems in Africa, particularly submarine systems,  have left me with the feeling that a good deal of confusion exists over the usage of the term ‘capacity’. This post attempts to provide some clarity…

Capacity is a measure of the traffic-carrying capability of a transmission system, and is normally quantified in multiples of bits per second (bps):

  • kbps (thousands of bits per second)
  • Mbps (millions of bits per second)
  • Gbps (billions of bits per second)
  • Tbps (trillions of bits per second)

It may be used in a variety of ways to describe transmission systems, including:

Design capacity – the maximum traffic-carrying capability of the system if it were fully equipped using today’s  technology

Lit capacitythe actual traffic-carrying capability of the system today, based on what has been equipped to date

Purchased capacity – the amount of traffic-carry capability that has been sold to customers

Used capacity – the amount of traffic actually being carried on the system

Fibre-optics and associated technologies evolve very rapidly, with manufacturers and equipment vendors continually incorporating the latest developments into their products. One reason why submarine systems are never fully equipped at launch is that this allows their owners to take advantage of the latest developments throughout the lifetime of the system (typically 25 years). Most of the fibre will remain ‘dark’ (i.e. not immediately usable), until it is ‘lit’ using appropriate equipment within the landing stations.

Submarine owners  only light sufficient capacity to meet their near-term requirements – what they will use themselves + what they have sold to other customers (the purchased capacity) + what they expect to sell in the short-term. As this initial lit capacity starts to fill up, they go back to the market to evaluate and procure the very latest technology to support the next ‘upgrade’, lighting more capacity.

At launch in July 2010, the initial design capacity of WIOCC’s EASSy system was 1.4Tbps. Since then, developments in Alcatel Lucent’s product offerings – including a migration from 10Gbps to 40Gbps technology – have resulted in the design capacity growing to 3.84Tbps then 4.72Tbps. With the rapid growth in purchased capacity, EASSy’s initial lit capacity of 30Gbps will be increased significantly with an upgrade later this year.

Part 2 in the series will explore ways to create resilience in submarine systems.

Meet WIOCC in May at ITW & Satcom Africa

April 21, 2011

Following our successful representation at East Africa Com last month, WIOCC will be participating in two events during May.

We will be sending a delegation to Washington DC, USA for ITW ’11. Chris Wood (CEO), Ryan Sher (COO), Mike Last (Director, Marketing & International Business Development) and Winnie Karisa (Marketing) will man the WIOCC stand and meet with customers, partners, etc. from 23rd – 25th May. Chris will also be participating in the Africa panel session on Tuesday 24th May (11:00 to 12:30).

The WIOCC stand will also be at Satcom Africa in Johannesburg, S. Africa later in the month (30th May to 2nd June), where it will be manned by Hitesh Desai and Marcel Bhatti from our S. Africa office.

Please come along to the stand to meet our representatives, or send a mail to to set up a meeting.

WIOCC at East Africa Com ’11

April 7, 2011

This week’s 7th annual East Africa Com congress in Nairobi, Kenya, offered an insightful picture of the many opportunities in the region’s changing telecommunications markets. A diverse gathering of telecommunications industry thought leaders shared their expertise and insights on the key opportunities in the market. The mood was enthusiastic and positive about growth opportunities for an economy that will benefit from further competition and investment going forwards.

Representatives included mobile, fixed, satellite and WiMAX operators, Carriers, ISPs, MVNOs, regulators, ministers, solutions and technology providers, investors and consultants, ensuring a truly 360 degree perspective of the market. Attendees pooled their different perspectives, ideas and experiences to set strategies around convergence, broadband, bandwidth, LTE, value added services, telecoms fraud and connecting rural areas.

Conference discussions were led by a panel of 45+ speakers representing leaders of the region’s most dynamic operators including Norman Moyo, CEO of WIOCC shareholder Zantel, who spoke on ‘strategies to leverage greater network capacity & drive access to communications’. Other WIOCC shareholders present at the event included Onatel Burundi, Botswana Telecom, Dalkom Somalia and Djibouti Telecom.

Gillian Koech (WIOCC) & Nemaisa Kiereini (Telkom Orange) greet visitors to the stand

Over the two days, the event attracted over 80 visitors to the WIOCC/TKL booth, where our enthusiastic team including Chris Wood (WIOCC CEO), Ryan Sher(WIOCC COO), James Wekesa (WIOCC CCO), Winnie Karisa (PA to CEO & Marketing), and Gillian Koech (Marketing), together with Nemaisa Kiereini from Telkom Orange, met with representatives from a variety African and international operators.

WIOCC will be attending further events over the coming months, including Satcom Africa, ITW and Submarine Networks World Africa. Please email us at with your questions, requirements or to arrange a meeting at any of these events.


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