The construction of the first new undersea cable aimed at providing cheaper broadband access to the Internet for South Africans is expected to start in the next few months, according to the communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.
Talking at a media briefing yesterday, the minister said that the fibre optic cable, one of three that will eventually link South Africa to the rest of the world, would be installed off the west coast of the African continent.
Matsepe-Casaburri made it clear that a decision had been taken to choose the alternative route for the cable that would link it to Europe, rather than the Americas via Brazil.
The Brazilian option would come later, she said.
At least part of the cable will be operational by the end of next year
The new cable will provide additional capacity for the communication demands of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The minister said that the state-owned signal distributor, Sentech, was on track to replace the country's old analogue television signal transmitters with digital terrestrial television transmitters.
Matsepe-Casaburri reinforced the commitment made by President Thabo Mbeki in his state of the nation speech last Friday to provide digital broadcasting to half of the country's population by the end of this year. - I-Net Bridge