Pan-African SEACOM still faces challenges - CNBC Africa

Pan-African SEACOM still faces challenges

Special Report

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“First we get that capacity inland and get it to the major cities that are on coastal countries and then pushing further inland. The second is that having basically solved an issue which was how to get to content that wasn’t in Africa, how do we evolve that so that’s it not so much about going off the continent but communicating within and putting content on the continent,” Simpson, the CEO of SEACOM, said at the Infrastructure Africa conference on Wednesday.

ICT enabler, SEACOM, financed and developed the first broadband submarine cable system along the Eastern and Southern African coastlines. The system has brought a vast supply of high quality and affordable internet tot eh continent.

Simpson said that while fiber, a major component of their submarine cables, is essential, it can also lead to further challenges.

“It’s really not helpful when you start pumping multiple forms of fiber and sources of fiber into one location. Effectively you get oversupply, you also get wasted capital and it becomes difficult to recover costs. It discourages further investment,” he said.

“Telecoms is a business in which there is never any shortage of opportunities to spend money and we also have a tendency to decide that one place is a good place to spend. We can be very good at overinvesting in certain things,” added Simpson.

He did however acknowledge that the cable has addressed significant telecommunication issues on the continent.

“We’re certainly seen some good developments driven by both private and government investment. Next Tuesday marks the fourth birthday since the SEACOM cable arrived on the East Coast of Africa. That certainly addressed an immediate blockage that existed in Africa which, for a lot of countries, was the only connectivity available in satellite.”