Main Street Technologies has commenced the route survey operations of its submarine cable project, MainOne cable. This first phase is expected to extend from Portugal to Nigeria and Ghana respectively and will comprise 1.92 Terabits per second of bandwidth, more than 10 times the bandwidth currently available by the only other subsisting submarine cable in the territory. It is also expected to crash internet bandwidth rates considerably.
This main route survey operation follows the completion of the 27 kilometers in-shore survey operation near Portugal. The in-shore survey which commenced in January ahead of schedule was completed successfully in February. “Kommandor Jack” the MainOne Cable survey vessel started mobilization in Lisbon, Portugal on Wednesday, March 25th and has since set sail from Portugal towards Nigeria and Ghana. Over the next two months, while en route, the vessel will survey the proposed route for the cable with multi-beam scan and profiling tests of the seabed to ensure the optimal placement of the cable. In addition to the initial landing, the vessel will also survey four additional spurs on different West African countries, en route, for proposed future landings of the cable.
An elated Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne Cable Company expressed delight at the remarkable progress that the pace-setting MainOne Project continues to record. Only last December, the company was a recipient of the first ever issued submarine cable licenses in Nigeria and Ghana respectively. She added that the company has also secured survey permits from all the 15 countries en route from Portugal to Nigeria. “We are very delighted that the MainOne Cable Project continues to progress in line with our projections,” said Opeke. “The terrestrial infrastructure is matching the progress on the submarine system, with the terminal station in Portugal already in place and new construction in Nigeria and Ghana passing through local planning and construction preparations many months ahead of the required implementation date”.
Even while the survey vessel, “Kommandor Jack” sails from Europe to Nigeria, said Opeke, manufacturing of cable and sophisticated electronics within the submerged repeaters are also proceeding ahead of plan. The various suppliers on the MainOne project, she said, are working steadily towards realizing the vital goal of on-time completion of a unique initiative that is expected to breathe a new life of vibrancy and reduced cost into the Broadband penetration regime in West Africa and subsequently, all over Africa.
Opeke added that “MainOne Cable is benefiting from the latest proven technology from world-class system suppliers, that includes utilization of low-loss fiber and the option to add and drop traffic on a number of additional landings. This route survey will demonstrate the security and viability of the route for a 25-year design life.”
Driven by a team of African entrepreneurs, the MainOne Project ranks among the most ambitious projects to emerge from Africa in recent years. Its objective is threefold: One, it will radically boost Internet access across the continent; two, it will crash tariffs providing open access to regional telecom operators and Internet Service Providers at rates that are less than twenty percent of current international bandwidth tariffs obtainable via SAT 3 or satellite service providers; and three, it will expand skills transfer and the provision of jobs across the continent. “As a business championed by Africans, Main One will encourage local content development via skills transfer of critical networking technologies”, reiterated Opeke. “We will also enhance job creation with the location of the Global Network
Operational Centre (GNOC) for the entire system, in Nigeria and a cable station in Ghana”.The Main One project will also ease the difficulties of switching traffic between African countries, eliminating the inconvenience and added costs of first routing traffic to Europe. The first phase will span 7,000 kilometers and is billed for completion in May 2010.