Equiano Google cable finally lands in Swakopmund

Better connectivity
The long-awaited Equiano subsea internet cable will provide better connectivity, lower latency and higher speeds in the global transmission of data.
Leandrea Louw
The much anticipated Equiano Google cable arrived in Swakopmund on Friday morning.

Paratus Group in collaboration with Telecom Namibia embarked on a partnership to build the cable landing station (CLS) for the Equiano subsea internet cable. This cable will provide diversity due to its increased capacity and will have a direct impact on connectivity with faster internet speeds, more flexibility in the market and an improved user experience for consumers in Namibia and beyond. Once the Equiano becomes fully operational, it is expected to deliver up to 20 times more capacity than was previously available in Namibia.

Paratus Group CEO Barney Harmse explained on-site that the landing of the Equiano cable will significantly increase Namibia’s international bandwidth capacity. “It means every consumer in Namibia will have a new internet experience as soon as we have connected this cable to our landing station. Through this, we will be distributing massive internet capacity from Swakopmund to the rest of the country and our SADC neighbours. This investment gives our economy a boost and will also create more jobs. We are putting Namibia on the map.”

"The cable came from Portugal via boat, with Namibia as the second last stop for all cable drop-offs before stopping in South Africa. “Since Google made contact with us, until today it has been three years, three months and 17 days for this N$300 million investment to come to fruition,” said Harmse.

According to him the Equiano Google cable is four times greater than the West Africa Cable System (WACS). “This will not only ensure better stability of connectivity in the country but also lower latency and higher speeds in global transmission of data. Namibia has higher internet connection levels at 40.5% compared with an average of 29% for sub-Saharan African countries but has relied upon WACS for its international connectivity until now.”

Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa said that Google is committed to supporting Africa’s digital transformation. “We are excited to see the impact of the landing of Equiano in Namibia. We've worked with experts - Paratus Group and Telecom Namibia in Namibia - to guarantee that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Namibia and throughout Africa.”

Stanley Shanapinda, Telecom Namibia CEO, hailed the Equiano cable landing is a major step in the development of the national telecommunications infrastructure. “This cable will become a critical element in meeting Namibia’s current and future international connectivity demands, as the cable incorporates new technology that enables approximately 20 times more network capacity than the current WACS cable. The cable will ensure redundancy for Telecom Namibia and offers an alternative when other routes may be impaired. The volume of information moving around the world has grown exponentially, particularly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and thus, the cable will further strengthen and enhance the backbone of modern communications in Namibia.”