November 09, 2022

What has fibre connectivity on the east coast of Africa done for the continent?

The fibre connectivity on the east coast of Africa has significantly improved internet speeds. Prices for connectivity decreased once the SEACOM cable went live in 2009, and companies benefited from improved high-speed internet. In East Africa, SEACOM is currently the go-to partner for businesses, service providers, and network carriers.

History of fibre connectivity in East Africa

Subsea fibre cable networks carry much of the high-speed internet traffic throughout Africa. This network runs the length of Africa's east coast, linking the region's key economic centres to those in the rest of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Several submarine cable systems, all of which have become operational in the last 20 years, provide for Africa's telecommunication needs. In July 2009, the first submarine fibre optic cable system that links South Africa with Europe via eastern Africa went live.

With a capacity of 1.28 Tbps, the launch of the SEACOM cable marked a milestone in the evolution of internet connectivity in Africa. This cable, which is 17 000 kilometres long, drastically improved connectivity in East Africa and Southern Africa. Additionally, it helped to bring down the cost of connectivity, making world-class fibre internet more accessible to both individuals and businesses.

In the history of fibre connectivity in Africa, SEACOM has played a significant role by laying the first broadband submarine cable system along the continent's south and east coasts. The SEACOM cable first went live in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa and Djibouti.

Cable landing stations along the eastern and southern African coasts provide the necessary infrastructure for bringing subsea fibre optic networks inland. We launched our first IP services about six months after the SEACOM cable went live, directly providing African enterprises with the best fibre connectivity available.

Fibre infrastructure boosts connectivity speeds in Africa

2011 saw the opening of SEACOM's first point of presence (PoP) in Johannesburg. A PoP is an access point where two or more networks converge to share a connection. From there, connection speeds can be distributed and bandwidth can be distributed.

SEACOM’s first PoP allowed customers in the region to connect to a central point. Multiple routes for traffic to flow along the network are offered by routers within the PoP. An essential part of fibre infrastructure, PoPs not only serve customers close to the fibre optic network but also provide a link to the so-called ‘last mile’ - those living out of range of the fibre network.

This initial PoP brought in a new age of internet connectivity, with improved speeds, lower latency and enhanced performance. Another advantage of a PoP is that network security can improve through firewalls that protect the network from internal and external threats. Regional connectivity was significantly improved between 2013 and 2018 thanks to subsequent upgrades to the SEACOM fibre optic infrastructure.

African internet received a major boost in March 2013 as a result of upgrades to the SEACOM submarine network. Later on in the same year, SEACOM established a second PoP in Cape Town and provided four innovation centres in Nairobi, Kenya, with access to 100 Mbps internet.

Internet in Uganda was boosted by a SEACOM PoP established in 2014, and again in early 2016, with SEACOM’s support of several innovation hubs in the country. Following that, in 2016 and 2017, SEACOM launched PoPs in Rwanda and Botswana, respectively. The most recent SEACOM infrastructure upgrades increased capacity to 3 Tbps.

SEACOM infrastructure supports boom in local data centres

Before cloud computing and video streaming were commonplace, ADSL technologies sufficed. This connection type offered basic emailing and web browsing. However, as the business landscape has become more digitised and reliant on high-speed, low-latency internet, the demand for robust fibre optic connectivity has emerged.

In Africa, corporations have played a significant role in the push to reduce latency. A localised solution is required for companies operating on the African continent in order to enable high internet use. Large organisations using the cloud, for instance, require a high-speed fibre connection to operate at their very best. Additionally, the issue of data sovereignty has prompted the development of locally hosted data centres.

Faster computing power and an expansion of Africa's digital economy are offered by high-performance data centres, which are supported by SEACOM infrastructure. Businesses benefit from seamless connectivity, an essential component of digitally enhanced business models. For example, this infrastructure facilitates the customer experience through enhanced cyber security and faster processing speeds for transactions, such as online payments.

Boosting enterprise connectivity in Africa

The cost of high-speed internet has decreased thanks to SEACOM's partnership with internet service providers in Africa. After launching SEACOM Business in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda, we have established ourselves as the continent's preferred provider of ICT and internet connectivity.

African corporates and small enterprises are now competitive with those operating in other parts of the world due to high speed, low latency, and secure internet connections. SEACOM Business provides a comprehensive range of cloud and cyber security solutions in addition to connectivity services, with adaptable and customisable product offerings.

Solutions that are flexible, scalable, and of the highest quality ensure that African businesses can enjoy cutting-edge connectivity and cyber security. In 2020, SEACOM Business launched SD-WAN in Kenya and South Africa, and more recently, we expanded our offerings to include SASE network architecture. These advanced networking solutions protect businesses from large-scale cyberattacks on their servers, networks, and connected devices.

Lower computing costs with SEACOM

Fibre connectivity on the east coast of Africa has lowered computing costs in a variety of ways. Firstly, a high-speed connection improves business performance which results in greater profitability. Employees can collaborate in real time and have access to critical business data. This leads to improved workflows and seamless collaboration.

In comparison to on-premises alternatives, cloud computing reduces computing costs. Instead of having to invest in their own on-site networking solutions, such as data centres and on-premises infrastructure, the cloud offers businesses a flexible and scalable networking solution where they only pay for what they need.

Businesses benefit from reduced data storage costs and faster processing power due to the cloud's shared resource model. To provide cloud services to companies in east and southern Africa, SEACOM has teamed up with Microsoft. For more information or to get a quote for our connectivity solutions, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s largest network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including fibre optic networks and subsea cables. We offer a wide range of industry-leading scalable ICT solutions for large companies that operate throughout the region.

SEACOM is privately owned - making it adaptable to the needs of the client. We are the preferred ICT and internet connectivity supplier for African enterprises. We can guarantee fast, reliable and secure internet and networking services at affordable prices.

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