WIOCC and C&W Worldwide partner for improved African connectivity

Africa’s carriers’ carrier WIOCC has entered into a strategic partnership with Cable&Wireless Worldwide, a global mission critical communications provider, to improve the reliability, performance and reach of international connectivity in and out of Africa. This initiative will enable WIOCC to provide the first truly seamless low-latency network from Africa to Europe and reinforces its position as the carriers’ choice for high-bandwidth, low-latency, EASSy capacity.

WIOCC’s African footprint & high-capacity Europe-Africa ring

Through C&W Worldwide, WIOCC has invested in two new submarine cable systems – the Europe India Gateway (EIG) and West Africa Cable System (WACS). These additional investments enable WIOCC to create a unique, diversity-rich, high-capacity ring around Africa and into Europe, delivering the highest capacity at the lowest possible cost base, thereby extending its existing end-to-end managed regional and international services the length of Africa’s western seaboard.

“This strategic investment in new high-capacity submarine cable systems strengthens our existing ‘east+west coast diversity’ proposition and provides our carrier clients with even greater network resilience and redundancy. C&W Worldwide is an ideal partner as we share a similar vision of investing in strategic telecom infrastructure to support the growth of Africa,” said WIOCC CEO Chris Wood, who was recently named as one of the 100 most powerful people in the global telecoms industry.

WIOCC already offers telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) affordable, reliable connectivity to over 400 locations across 20 southern and eastern African countries, utilising more than 50,000 km of shareholder and partner-owned terrestrial fibre. This new agreement will enable WIOCC to reach up to 10 additional countries on Africa’s west coast, extending its seamless end-to-end connectivity offering between Africa and Europe to maximise WIOCC’s EASSy investment.

C&W Worldwide Managing Director for Global Wholesale & Carrier, Diarmid Massey, added: “C&W Worldwide provisioned its first submarine cables in Africa more than 100 years ago and our commitment to this market has only increased over the years. We are committed to working with partners like WIOCC to foster the infrastructure needed for both international and local businesses to prosper in the burgeoning African market.”

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Meet WIOCC at Africa Com ’11 – 9th & 10th November

Africa Com returns to Cape Town on 9th & 10th November, 2011. The conference will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), South Africa and is the largest communications conference and exhibition in the continent, gathering together 5,000+ telecoms decision-makers.

The core of the event for WIOCC is networking, so we are looking forward to welcoming visitors/delegates to our exhibition stand (#A17 and #A26 – A27) and ensuring that you meet key representatives from our company. WIOCC’s team is led by Chris Wood (WIOCC CEO) and includes Ryan Sher (COO), Hitesh Desai (Country Manager, S. Africa), Marcel Bhatti (Sales Manager, S.Africa) and Winnie Karisa (Marketing Assistant & PA to the CEO).

Please visit the WIOCC exhibition stand  at the event to find out more about our network, our service offerings – including connectivity on EIG and WACS – and what we can do for your business.  This is a great place for you to exchange ideas with our executive team and to get your questions answered face-to-face.

To book a meeting or for more information, please email us at: info@wiocc.net

EASSy Announces System Upgrade

Mr Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC and Co-Chair of the EASSy Management Committee, today announces on behalf of the EASSy submarine fibre-optic cable Management Committee that the EASSy system will be upgraded in 2011, more than doubling the current available capacity on the system.  

Following an extremely successful initial four months of operation, during which the system has enjoyed 100% network reliability, EASSy has taken the decision to increase its “lit capacity” utilising the latest 40Gbps wavelength technology. “The decision was taken to upgrade the system following a review of the rate at which we are activating capacity. By utilising 40Gbps wavelengths, the EASSy system will be able to continue to offer the most cost-effective and reliable solution to customers in East and southern Africa,” said Mr C. Seenevassen of Mauritius Telecom.

More than 25 telecommunications operators mainly from Africa, along with a number of global operators who invested in EASSy, have activated capacity on the system since going live in July 2010. The system is the largest system serving Africa and is capable of delivering 3.84 Terabits per second.

With landing points in every coastal country from South Africa to Sudan, as well as landings in Madagascar and Comores, EASSy provides the most extensive reach on the East African coast and provides onward global connectivity through multiple interconnect points with other fibre-optic systems.

EASSy Chairman, Munir Taha of Sudatel, proudly stated that, “The system has been exceptionally successful since launch earlier this year and has shown the importance of true network resilience to customers throughout the region. As a result, we now see the need to increase available capacity to cater for increased demand from African and International operators. As the EASSy system offers customers the most resilient and lowest latency technical solution for services from Africa to Europe, it is becoming the system of choice for many African Telcos and ISPs.”

“The level of capacity sales in the first few months of operation has outstripped our initial forecasts and so we have taken the decision to bring forward the first upgrade of the system”, explained Mr Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC, the largest investor in the cable. “The system’s 100% reliability record has begun to change the game in Africa. For the first time, truly reliable services are being offered in the region, allowing ISPs and Telcos the opportunity to provide world class service for their customers. The change in focus from one purely relating to price, to that of “best value” and quality, shows that the market is maturing. The increased demand for capacity on EASSy is a clear indication that quality is key and is a message to other network operators – customers will not accept second best and demand reliability”.

Delivering the lowest cost base to the owners and purchasers of capacity on the system has always been a key objective for the system. “EASSy has been in negotiations with potential providers of the planned upgrade for a number of months and will shortly be awarding the contract to install the necessary equipment. The process of inviting multiple potential suppliers to present proposals for the upgrade has enabled EASSy to once again deliver the best technical solution at the lowest cost”, said Mr. Jacques van der Walt, Chairman of the Procurement Group responsible for technical aspects of EASSy.

For more information, contact info@wiocc.net

What’s different about WIOCC-EASSy?

EASSy capacity is not the same as capacity on other systems… but why not?

Although I covered this in a post earlier this year, the system going live is a good excuse to revisit it.

Essentially, the EASSy system has been developed and built by carriers for carriers. It is designed to be extremely robust and reliable in order to deliver the very high levels of performance required by our shareholders and clients.

Purchasing EASSy capacity offers a number of advantages compared to buying capacity on other systems:

  • EASSy is the only east coast system based on a ‘collapsed ring’ topology end-to-end, meaning that it automatically re-routes around branch cable breaks or branch/landing station equipment failures should they occur anywhere on the EASSy system.  In such an event, traffic between unaffected landing stations may temporarily take a longer route, but the communications path will be maintained.
  • EASSy connectivity is delivered direct to Europe, following the shortest route from the east coast via the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, and thereby offering the lowest latency of any east coast system, promising sub-200ms S. Africa–London connectivity (and even better from more northerly locations).
  • Unlike other systems, our onward connectivity to Europe is delivered over diverse international cable systems, minimizing the impact of any single-cable outage and maximising the durability of the traffic path.
  • Range of speeds offered: we can deliver anything from E1 (2Mbps) up to multiple wavelengths.

Diversity is the key to improving the reliability of  international traffic into and out of Africa. The arrival of EASSy has significantly increased the  diversity options available to African and international service providers, and also offers a combination of features and design that give service providers an unprecedented degree of reassurance and new opportunities for differentiated service offerings.

For more information, contact info@wiocc.net

EASSy cable live and prices are falling

The EASSy cable went live on Friday 16th April, the first circuits are already being provisioned on the network and prices are falling.

As a result of the successful WIOCC-EASSy model, with 26 telco operators as members, there is already a large volume of traffic to load onto the network. WIOCC has sold more than 8Gbps of capacity and in total approximately two-thirds of the initial lit capacity of 30Gbps (three 10Gbps wavelengths) has been purchased.

We already have another 80+ Gbps upgrade planned within the next six to twelve months. We also have the option of lighting 40Gbps wavelengths in the future, ensuring that WIOCC will deliver the most cost-effective and reliable bandwidth to the region for many years to come.

We have already seen costs for international connectivity coming down. The impact of EASSy coming in is being felt in the market, with prices both at the end user level and the wholesale level having dropped by 50 to 60 percent over the past year. We anticipate continuing price reductions during 2010, 2011 and 2012. We are also now seeing carriers purchaing capacity on multiple systems, reducing their exposure to single-cable outages and enabling them to offer improved service reliability to their customers.

The arrival of EASSy is creating a truly competitive market for international capacity – from which everyone stands to benefit.

WIOCC-EASSy enquiries growing fast

Here at WIOCC, with the launch of the system little more than a couple of months away, we are seeing a significant increase in enquiries about purchasing capacity on EASSy.

This is particularly pertinent given the internet issues currently being experienced by users of capacity on Seacom and TEAMS, both of which depend on the same single cable for onward connectivity from their terminations – in Mumbai, India and Fujairah, UAE respectively.

With the current outage threatening to run for 5 days or more,  many service providers and ISPs throughout eastern and southern Africa are coming under pressure from subscribers to justify this extended period of poor or non-existent international internet connectivity or risk losing them. 

To defend and grow customer bases, ISPs will increasingly need to develop more robust service offerings – made possible by increasing the diversity of both national and international connectivity.

WIOCC’s EASSy cable is different. It delivers an alternate, diverse route out of east Africa, but it is so much more than than…

WIOCC’s management team has a combined 40 years of experience in submarine fibre networks – experience that has been applied to the planning and design of a network to avoid such outages, with resilience and reliability in mind right from the start. EASSy offers better levels of resilience through:
  1. being the only system in the region based on a “collapsed ring” design end-to-end which provides a high degree of robustness, high reliability and low outage time. This advanced network topology allows internal restoration routing – basically, it enables traffic to be rerouted between landing stations in the event of a failure, thereby minimising the impact of cable cuts and many of the more common equipment faults.
  2. owning terrestrial backhaul networks that reach out to 21 countries throughout the eastern half of Africa, providing alternative routes between landing stations and so offering another path for customers’ traffic in the event of a network failure.
  3. setting up connectivity agreements with a variety of global service providers, ensuring further protection for international traffic, particularly in areas where cable cuts are common. In the high-risk areas of the Red Sea and Mediterranean, for example, we will use diverse paths on the EIG and Sea-Me-We 3 cable systems to minimise the risk of cable damage affecting our customers.
The EIG cable
The Sea-Me-We 3 system

EASSy also delivers the first direct route into Europe – from Africa straight through the Red Sea into the Mediterranean Sea – absolutely no detours via the Middle East or India… This promises the fastest possible response time for customers’ applications, and offers ISPs a way to differentiate themselves in a busy market.

If you don’t want to miss out, contact us on info@wiocc.net to set up a discussion with one of our team.