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WIOCC lands Google's Equiano cable in South Africa

Google's Equiano submarine internet cable has landed on the South African shores.

The arrival in South Africa of Google’s state-of-the-art, 144Tbps, 12 fibre pair Equiano cable will have a direct impact on connectivity throughout the Southern Africa region, resulting in faster internet speeds, reduced internet prices and improved user experience.

WIOCC's commitment to delivering a market-leading portfolio of wholesale services, based on strategic investment in subsea and terrestrial digital infrastructure, has been further demonstrated with the arrival of the Equiano cable in South Africa.  

In April WIOCC partnered with Google to install Equiano in Lagos, they also own a full fibre pair on the system. "Having invested multiple billions of Rand to enhance our 16Tbps-ready, Optical Transport Network-enabled national hyperscale network infrastructure, we are extremely well positioned to provide businesses with access to fully upgradeable, quickly and easily scalable capacity throughout South Africa and into neighbouring countries, over one of the most future-proof networks in the country," WIOCC Group CEO Chris Wood said.

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The Equiano cable is named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist.

Equiano is the latest subsea internet cable financed by Google. Starting in Portugal and eventually ending in South Africa, with branches to Nigeria, Togo, the islands of St Helena, and Namibia, the 15,000-kilometer (9,320-mile) cable is designed to deliver high-speed broadband along the west coast of Africa. Its capacity, a whopping 144 terabits per second, is 20 times that of the previous cable serving the region and could increase internet speeds more than fivefold in some countries.

A telegeography of Equiano's global route. View the interactive map.

The cable is scheduled to start carrying traffic at the beginning of 2023, says Paratus. According to a report commissioned by Google, Equiano will cause data prices to drop between 16% and 21% in South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria, and in the latter could lead to the creation of 1.6 million jobs, driven by the expansion of the digital economy and peripheral sectors.

As a fibre pair owner, WIOCC’s Equiano capacity is upgradable fully under its own control. WIOCC owns and manages its own Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE), choosing to light and upgrade its capacity exactly as it wishes to meet the needs and demands of its clients.

WIOCC’s Equiano capacity will be extended into a new Open Access Data Centres (OADC - a WIOCC Group company) facility currently undergoing fit-out in Rondebosch, Cape Town, where clients can interconnect with terrestrial infrastructure providers, cloud networks, partners, suppliers and other ecosystem members.

The Equiano cable routes in South Africa

OADC has been extremely active in South Africa, where it recently announced it will have three new core data centres (DCs) – one in Johannesburg and two in Cape Town - live by the end of Q3 2022.

These three core DCs are integral to OADC’s unique, core-to-edge, open-access DC offering, which currently includes another core DC, OADC Durban, and 25 (growing over the next 9 months to over 100) up to 150kW OADC EDGE DCs offering colocation, rooftop access and high-speed network interconnectivity between facilities at up to 100Gbps and on multiple routes for diversity.

According to Wood, "WIOCC investment in Equiano continues our long-standing policy of making strategic investments in subsea cables. We own almost a third of the >10Tbps EASSy system, which extends from South Africa along Africa’s eastern coastline to Djibouti and Port Sudan; we deliver more capacity than any other carrier on the WACS system, which links South Africa to western Europe and lands in many countries along the west coast of Africa; and we are a member of the 2Africa cable, which will bring another high-capacity connectivity option to Africa during 2023/24."

Services available from WIOCC in South Africa include high-quality Carrier IP Transit (IPT), point-to-point national connectivity and high-performance Metro Connect, and open access colocation services in specific locations – through WIOCC Group company Open Access Data Centres. In each case, solutions can be tailored to meet clients’ specific requirements and are backed by first-class support - which includes WIOCC’s highly-responsive Client Champions who are available 24x7x365.