Direct line proposed for BRICS countries

Underwater_cable_layingA 34,000km-long undersea cable that will provide direct internet connections between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) has been proposed by the leaders of those nations

The US$1 billion undersea cable would mean the five countries would no longer rely on connectivity through hubs located in Europe and North America.

Telecommunications analyst Steve Song told The Southern Times, “It is great news for Africa, but it may not be such good news for some of the operators who may find it tough to sell enough capacity in the early days before demand on the continent ramps up.”

Experts have said that the cable could cost as much as $1.6 billion and would link five countries that account 25 per cent of global GDP and 40 per cent of the world’s population.

The BRICS nations have been stepping up cooperation in recent months and recently announced a 29 per cent increase in intra-BRICS trade.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who originally announced the initiative at March’s BRICS Summit, said the bloc was also looking to establish a development bank that would rival the World Bank and IMF.

French telecommunications giant Alcatel has already completed feasibility studies on a possible cable route, which would stretch from the Russian Pacific coast, along China, around India, down to South Africa, on to Brazil and finally onto the United States.

It would interconnect SEACOM on Africa’s east coast and with the West African Cable System (WACS).

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