Seacom to put SA on world map

24 July 2009 - Huge Group

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The introduction of Seacom has been met with great excitement and expectancy. The thought of improved bandwidth, which would really put South Africa on the global map as well as lower communications cost is said to have the potential of making the country’s business community a lot more competitive. This is the view of James Herbst, CEO of Huge Telecom.

“We welcome the dawn of more competitive communications,” says Herbst. “For decades South Africa has been ranked as one of the countries with the highest communications costs and this has in some industries stifled a lot of potential.”

The Seacom bandwidth was made available for testing at the Neotel Data Centre in Midrand for the first time yesterday. The 1.28 Terabits per second, 17 000km submarine fibre optic cable system links south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe. During testing, Twitter came alive with comments from journalists and bloggers excitedly referring to very high download speeds.

“There are really two sides to the coin,” says Herbst. “The vast improvement in capacity will open up the door to technology solutions that have been near impossible to implement effectively in the past, such as Software-as-a-Service and true Cloud Computing, whilst the expected cost-reduction will mean that communications will finally become more accessible.” In addition to that the Minister of Communications’ call for service providers to focus on pervasive broadband and connecting more remote communities will mean that South Africa as a whole will benefit. “Communications is critical to the stability and growth of any country,” says Herbst. “Studies have proven time and time again that there is a direct correlation between pervasive broadband and economic growth and the access that Seacom and eventually other international cables will provide is definitely a step in the right direction,” he adds.

What remains to be seen is how long it will take for the cost of communications to come down and Herbst cautions the market to remain realistic. “We believe Seacom will eventually lead to cheaper international broadband – that much is true,” he says. “Seacom unfortunately has no impact on the cost of connecting offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.  This is a local issue, and though the marketplace has legally been liberalised, in practice this is a much different story.”  Herbst believes Telkom still controls the local loop and though there is plenty of dark fibre in the ground, only a small margin of it reaches over the pavement and onto a customer’s premises. “That said, we are definitely making great strides as a country to move towards more affordable communication and we are very excited to be part of this process,” he concludes. 

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Further Information:
Duncan Palmer
Marketing Manager
(t) +27 11 603 6000
(f) +27 86 569 3543