Until recently, South African universities were predominately reliant on Telkom’s dual Sat3/Safe cable, a 120 gigabit per second (GB/s) capacity submarine cable financed and jointly owned by an international consortium led by the then state-owned SA Telkom, to connect with Europe. This situation has changed with the imminent commissioning of the Seacom submarine cable, which boasts a 1.2 terabits per second (Tbps) capacity.
Duncan Greaves, acting CEO of the Centre for Higher Education Transfer, said Seacom’s completion last month had profound implications for South Africa’s tertiary education institutions. TENET, a charitable company owned by South Africa’s universities and research councils, and established to secure the institutions’ internet and information technology services, has a deal with Seacom to buy a portion of the bandwidth(about 10 GB/s) it has to offer.
“Researchers and students involved in data-intensive research like radio astronomy, oceanography and physicists, who were dying to access the nuclear research taking place at CERN in Europe, will have the type of bandwidth they need. These people’s careers depend on access to high-performance computing facilities so in the past they would not base themselves in South Africa. The new level of broadband access should go some way to halting the brain drain we have been experiencing.”
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