Can 2013 Togo Burkina Faso live?
This week, Main One, the first submarine cable company offering open access wholesale broadband capacity in West Africa, made a statement that is music to our ears. The company is building infrastructure to connect coastal landing stations with both interior areas and neighboring countries. Launched in 2010, the cable provides over 1 Tbps capacity to portions of West Africa – mostly Nigeria and Ghana. Many ISPs have connected to the cable, thus increasing their connectivity. Tariffs have also slowly dropped. Plus, competition with other undersea cables like SAT3, GLO-1, WACS, and the upcoming ACE help keep prices more reasonable. Broadband costs may have already lowered in these nations as a result of Main One, but an impact is yet to be felt in neighboring nations who could not secure a landing station.
BusinessDay reports that Main One, with an extra $15 million of investment, has already begun to stretch its infrastructure towards Togo with an interconnection through Ghana, and is already servicing Benin from Nigeria. Geographically, the connections make sense. Only a few hundred miles separate Lagos with the farthest parts of Benin. The same relationship holds for Accra and Togo. In fact, Togo and Benin are experiencing a banner year for fibre capacity. Lome, Togo has recently connected to the WACS cable and will be part of ACE once it goes live later in 2012. Cotonou, Benin, previously connected to the smaller SAT3 cable, will also have access to ACE later this year.
Plans also exist to connect terrestrial fibre from Nigeria and Ghana to Burkina Faso and Niger. Such a move will increase capacity exponentially in the Sahel region and will allow true broadband for countless communities.