Somaliland may miss chance to be linked with East Africa’s largest sea cable

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020 20:00 |
East Africa's largest sea cable. Photo/Courtesy

Somaliland may be left out from the largest East Africa’s sea cable linking Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya.

Installation of the sea cable started at La Siesta Beach – Djibouti last week and is expected to land in Kenya by the end of March.

It had been expected that the cable will go through the Somaliland port city of Berbera but the government of Somaliland have stated the country will not be part of the cable.

Dr Abdiwali Sheikh Abdillahi Suufi Somaliland Postal Services and Communication minister said: “We are not aware of the said installation of the submarine cables for the DARE1 system and our government having not been consulted by our neighbour Djibouti on the issue the coast guards coming into contact with a Djiboutian ship laying the said cabled chased it away to international waters where it does not need our permission to operate.”

He added: “While access to the DARE1 system that delivers up to 30 Tbps of capacity would have been very welcome to our country we have policies in place that dictate on process of availability especially through major participation by the government in Hargeisa.

"The government of Somaliland has no advance information, neither has it granted permission to a submarine fibre optic cable to make its entry point at the Red Sea port of Berbera”

The Djibouti Africa Regional Express 1 (DARE1) submarine cable system will be managed by Djibouti Telecom, Somtel, Telkom Kenya and SubCom. 

With a design capacity of more than 36 terabits per second (Tbps) and 4,854 km long, the DARE1 cable will interconnect Kenya and Djibouti, offering a strategic alternative in the routing of traffic as well as the handling of increased continuity capacity to East Africa.

Last year, Kenya announced plans to connect to the DARE submarine fibre optic cable system at a cost of US$59-million.

Kenya’s Communications Authority and Telkom Kenya stated the investment demonstrates government’s desire to improve Kenya’s position as a regional IT hub and is in line with the country’s digital master plan launched at the 2019 Transform Africa Summit.

 “The DARE 1 Cable System will boost Kenya’s current capacity, given that it will be the largest, it will also provide an alternative redundant international connection, more important powered by newer and more reliable technology,” says Telkom Kenya’s MD for the Carrier Services Division, Kebaso Mokogi.

In addition to the installation of the trunk, the installation of the two branch legs to the system’s four landing stations has also commenced.

The landing stations, located in Djibouti (Djibouti), Bosaso (Puntland), Mogadishu (Somalia), and Mombasa (Kenya), will help enhance connectivity in the East African region, enabling more efficient communications.

There are two installation vessels executing the project with marine operations scheduled for completion in March 2020.

While the marine vessels and crew work to install the trunk and branches, installation of the terrestrial cable and terminal equipment that will be used for the DARE1 system, is also underway. 

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