Newly created BRICS Cable has today announced a 34 000 km long submarine fibre optic cable system that will connect the developing economies of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the US.
The strategic project was given the go-ahead at the BRICS Business Forum held in the end of March in New Delhi, India.
All the governments of the countries involved have already been consulted on the project and have given their in-principle support.
The BRICS Cable is a 34 000 km, two pair, 12.8 Tbit/s capacity fibre optic cable system. It will interconnect, amongst others, with the WACS cable on the West coast of Africa, and the EASSY and SEACOM cables on the East coast of the continent, giving 21 African countries fast access to the BRICS network.
At the moment, the BRICS countries are connected to each other via telecommunications hubs in Europe and the USA resulting in high costs, and the risk of potential interception of critical financial and security information by non-BRICS entities.
Since March 2011, BRICS governments and the telecommunications operators in these countries have been developing the project and researching commercial viability, as well as the timeframe in which the project could be executed.
Following the outcome of the BRICS Summit in India, they are now in the process of formally inviting telecommunications operators and other potential investors to participate in the project.
“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 Mthembu, chairman of i3 Africa and Imphandze Investments, owners of the telecommunications licences to land, operate and maintain sections of the undersea cable in South Africa.
You can read our extended interview with Andrew here.
To date, the studies have shown that an appropriate investment structure for the project would be a consortium model, whereby operators make contributions to the cost, which will be proportionate to the capacity they get from the system. BRICS Cable will spend next six months negotiating contracts with the potential investors.
Here is the map of the proposed cable:
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