A $1.5 billion undersea cable linking the BRICS group of emerging economies to each other and the U.S., may get a green light by potential investors – including Google – before year-end. The 34,000 km cable, which would be the first of its kind to link Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is expected to come online by the end of 2014, said Andrew Mthembu, chairman of technology group i3 Africa which is promoting the project.
The Wasace Cable Company plans to develop the multibillion-dollar, 40Tbit/s cable network in phases, beginning with the Americas and Africa segments. It hopes to select a system supplier for the cable’s construction in July 2012. The David Ross Group will provide project management.
With 4 Fiber Pairs and 100 waves x 100 Gbps each a submarine cable can deliver a combined 40 Terabits/second. The 40 Tbit/sec Emerald Express cable, connecting Europe to the US, is scheduled to be ready for service by Fall, 2013.
The BRICS Cable project hopes to cut the costs of traffic by about 40 percent by avoiding hops by different carriers. It would connect with existing undersea cables, opening access to 21 African countries. The submarine cable will deploy ‘100 G’ technology and connect North America, South America, Africa and Europe. The final phase of the project would connect Florida to Virginia Beach, in the US, and across the North Atlantic to San Sebastian, in Spain.
Although Internet penetration in Africa has grown to 12.8 percent in 2010 from 2.4 percent in 2006, four-fifths of the continent’s one billion population still has no access to it, officials said.
“I’m hoping within the coming six months we will all be in a position to get all the consortium members into some sort of agreement, and then from there it’s then a 24 month period for manufacture and installation,” he said.