SEA-CHANGE: A burial plough is loaded into the waters with Ras Sedr, Egypt, in the background. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town - With Africa fast becoming a global player in the digital age, pan-African telecoms firm Seacom has invested in new technology at its Joburg and Cape Town Teraco data centres, which will enable the company to grow its network and customer base and support the growth of internet access across the continent.

This is according to Mark Tinka, the head of engineering at Seacom.

The firm announced yesterday that it had deployed 100GB per second (Gbps) ethernet technology in its IP/MPLS data centre core PoPs (points of presence) in Joburg and Cape Town as part of its ongoing investment in capacity for future expansion, one of the first deployments of this technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

By upgrading its core routers and switches to 100Gbps ethernet technology, Seacom has activated up to 400Gbps of routing and switching bandwidth at each facility, and the firm will be able to scale both PoPs to 3.2terabytes per second and beyond.

The upgrade also enables Seacom to scale up the capacity it has acquired on the West African Cable System undersea cable to provide alternative traffic paths in the case of a Seacom sub-sea cable system outage.

Tinka said the investment would enable the group to grow its network and customer base, while continuing to provide a reliable and consistent experience to African businesses, service providers and consumers.

“Africa is becoming an important global player in the digital age, and we are committed to investing in the best technology to support the growth of internet across the continent,” he said.

Tinka added the upgrade would mean that Seacom was able to scale up and support the expected and continued growth of internet traffic in Joburg and Cape Town, including traffic that transits South Africa for the rest of the Seacom footprint in other African markets.

“If other Seacom markets inside and outside South Africa continue to grow at the rate they are, we anticipate making similar upgrades there within the coming years.”

Peter Zylstra, a regional director for digital transformation for the Middle East and Africa at Orange Businesses Services, said online access among African consumers had increased because of the rise in mobile penetration and internet connections.

Zylstra said that, according to the Digital in 2017 report, about 81% of South Africans had a mobile subscription and 52% access the internet through their cellphones.

“In terms of the country’s digital landscape, this growth means that a large portion of the population that was previously unbanked was now able to access financial services through online platforms and banking technologies. With more and more challenges emerging, ‘wait and see’ is no longer a strategic choice for traditional African banks.”

Zylstra said fin-tech innovations would continue to invade and disrupt the traditionally protected banking industry, with customer experience the most important aspect this year. “The need to meet changing customer demand will force traditional financial services providers to continue to look for newer ways to render their products and services.”

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Cape Argus