New cable will give SA cheap Internet

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Government has given the go-ahead for a R5billion undersea cable between Cape Town and London that will link South Africa and 10 other African countries to Europe at a fraction of the current Internet cost.

"We intend to bring prices down by 65percent of current prices initially once the project has been completed," said public enterprises department spokeswoman Lulu Bam.

"Over the course of the five year business plan we intend to bring prices down by as much as 90percent but this has not yet been finalised," she said.

"It remains to be seen how pricing will be structured and what effect it will have on bandwidth costs, but one can expect a significant reduction in bandwidth costs when multiple new cable systems become operational," said MyADSL director Rudolph Muller.

The public works department has told Business Times in the past that the cable would be laid from Cape Town to South America first because the distance was shorter than to Europe and would allow for a quicker and cheaper new link to the digital backbone that extends from North America into South America.

According to the communications department, however, the plan is now to link Cape Town to London. "Our main focus right now is Europe. South America is not a priority, but it is not completely off the table," Bam said.