Telecom Lead India: Emerging telecom markets such as
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – will experience the launch of
BRICS Cable, a strategic project for the social and economic benefit of the
BRICS countries, in 2014.
The BRICS Cable is a 34,000 km, 2 fibre pair, 12.8 Tbit/s
capacity, fibre optic cable system linking Russia, China, India, South Africa,
Brazil and the United States.
It will interconnect with the WACS cable on the West
coast of Africa, and the EASSY and SEACOM cables on the East coast of the
continent. This will give the BRICS countries access to 21 African countries
and give those African countries access to the BRICS economies.
The BRICS Cable has been in the planning and feasibility
stages since March 2011, a few months after the admission of South Africa into
the BRICS economic bloc.
Over the last 12 months, the outcome of the market,
traffic and feasibility studies carried out have demonstrated the project’s
commercial viability, showing a reasonable Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for
this kind of project. BRICS Governments as well as the telecommunications
operators in these economies have been canvassed to gauge their support and the
result has been positive.
Studies have shown that an appropriate investment
structure for the project is a consortium model, whereby operators come
together by way of a Construction and Management Agreement (C&MA) and make
contributions to the cost, which is commensurate with the capacity they get
from the system.
The South African promoters – Imphandze Subtel Services,
a subsidiary of Imphandze Investments, in association with i3 Africa – are in
possession of the requisite telecommunications licences in South Africa to
land, operate and maintain the undersea cable in South Africa.
They are now in the process of inviting telecom operators
and other potential investors in the BRICS countries and the USA to participate
in the project.
Axiom and Terabit Consulting, two consulting firms in the
submarine cable industry, carried out the market, traffic and commercial
feasibility, while Alcatel-Lucent carried out the technical feasibility.
We are willing to work with potential operators and
investors to review the configuration, routing, capacity and project financing
structure to take a new step in the viability of this project. The studies are
available on request to potential participants in the project,” said Andrew F B
Mthembu, chairman of i3 Africa and Imphandze Investments.