By Macharia Kamau
The third undersea fibre optic cable is expected to land in Mombasa by end of this month. The East African Submarine System (EASSy) cable, expected to land between March 22 and 30, is expected to bring competition and significantly alter the market that is currently a duopoly of Seacom and the East African Systems (Teams).
The West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), which is laying the EASSy cable, said Mombasa would be its fifth landing, having already landed in Sudan, Djibouti, Mozambique and South Africa.
WIOCC Chief Executive Chris Wood said the cable is expected to make its last landing in Dar es Salaam in mid next month. It will be followed by a two-month test period and the cable would go live by end of June.
The company said it would not be constructing a landing station but rather had a commercial arrangement with Teams Ltd to share their landing base.
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"We will be using the same landing structure as the Teams cable, which will make it easier to interconnect as well as bring down the cost of operations," he said.
The company has already done 3,500km of the cable. It is expected to total 10,000km long when complete.
Two ships are laying the cable, one going South from the Red Sea while the other is going North from South Africa. The cables are expected to meet and connect off the East African coast.
Wood said bringing the cable to the region saw the company incur additional costs due to the threat of sea pirates off the Somali coast.
"We have had to hire the services of the French navy to ensure security of the Southbound ship.