UbuntuNet Alliance and SEACOM partner in providing connectivity for research and education in Eastern and Southern Africa through AfricaConnect2
Lilongwe, 17 August 2016:
UbuntuNet Alliance has awarded a 15-year contract to pan-African telecom enabler SEACOM to provide point to point connectivity services to National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of Eastern and Southern Africa through the European Union co-funded AfricaConnect2 project.
This contract kicks off the procurement of connectivity services in Eastern and Southern Africa – the first of three regions of Africa taking part in the €26.6 million project that seeks to create a first of a kind high speed pan-African research and education network.
SEACOM will provide capacity between Kampala (Uganda) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania); and from Dar es Salaam to Amsterdam (Netherlands) where the UbuntuNet network peers with the European Research and Education Network, GÉANT.
The link between Kampala and Dar es Salaam will complete a ring between the NRENs of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and will provide a resilient network for research collaboration in the sub-region. The Dar es Salaam – Amsterdam link provides a diverse path between East Africa and Amsterdam.
This will ensure that more research and education institutions in Eastern and Southern Africa benefit from seamless connectivity to each other and to the Internet, thus enabling faster access to information, knowledge sharing, collaboration on projects and application of best practice with researchers from across the globe.
UbuntuNet Alliance CEO Dr. Pascal Hoba says: UbuntuNet Alliance is excited to partner with SEACOM in this project. Following an exhaustive competitive tendering exercise, SEACOM have been selected to provide capacity services to close the loop in the north eastern part of the UbuntuNet, heralding the start of a long term agreement for the two organisations to work together collaboratively.’’
Byron Clatterbuck, SEACOM CEO says: “Through this agreement, SEACOM continues to support research and educational work within Africa, with the knowledge that connectivity is a vital catalyst to spur innovation. The close collaboration between SEACOM and the UA will ensure Africa and its people benefit from the use of new innovative technologies and ideas.”
AfricaConnect2 builds on the success of the AfricaConnect project which rolled out the UbuntuNet regional network for research and education in Eastern and Southern Africa between 2011 and 2015.
About UbuntuNet Alliance:
UbuntuNet Alliance is the regional Research and Education Networking organisation for Eastern and Southern Africa. It was established in the latter half of 2005 by five established and emerging National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Eastern and Southern Africa; these are: MAREN (Malawi), MoRENet, (Mozambique), KENET (Kenya), RwEdNet (Rwanda) and TENET (South Africa). The Alliance is incorporated as a not-for-profit association in the Netherlands, registered as a Trust and has its secretariat in Lilongwe, Malawi.
UbuntuNet Alliance is driven by a vision of securing affordable high bandwidth connections (gigabits speeds) that interconnect African National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), educators, researchers and students to enable them to effectively participate in global research and education activities.
The Alliance operates UbuntuNet, the data communications network that connects member NRENs in the region and connects them to other Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) worldwide and to the general internet. The UbuntuNet network now has a 10 Points of Presence (PoPs), two of which deliver transit from Europe (London, Amsterdam) and 8 PoPs within the regional backbone which covers 7 countries in the Alliance region. The Alliance now has 15 NREN Members.
SEACOM launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009, bringing with it a vast supply of high quality and affordable Internet bandwidth.
Since then, SEACOM has moved beyond being a cable operator to become a major pan-African service provider, offering a full suite of resilient and scalable data services that allow Africa’s growing ICT community to develop and evolve.
Ranging from dedicated IPL transmission services, flexible Ethernet services, to resilient IP Transit service capabilities and accessible Internet connectivity, SEACOM can now provide tailor-made communication solutions.
Today, SEACOM is the preferred partner for African businesses, network carriers and service providers. Through its ownership of Africa’s most extensive ICT data infrastructure - including multiple subsea cables and a resilient, continent-wide IP-MPLS network – SEACOM provides flexible, scalable and high-quality communications services that enable the growth of the continent’s economy.
The SEACOM Business division leverages this infrastructure and last-mile partnerships to provide the African business market with best-in-class connectivity and Cloud services at highly competitive prices. Its offerings include fibre Internet access with options ranging from 25Mbps up to 1Gbps.
SEACOM is privately owned and operated, allowing the company the agility to rapidly deploy new services, commercial structures and infrastructure in response to customer requirements. SEACOM is also able to provide true open-access services with no red tape or hidden costs.
AfricaConnect2 is an EU-funded pan-African connectivity project that aims to support the development and consolidation of high-capacity regional internet networks for R&E across Africa and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network, creating a continental gateway for collaborative research and education across and beyond Africa.
AfricaConnect2 therefore comprises three geographical areas (or "clusters") and is a collaboration between four strong regional partners:
- The UbuntuNet Alliance which operates the UbuntuNet network in Eastern and Southern Africa.
- WACREN which is building a regional network in West and Central Africa.
- ASREN which is connecting Northern Africa, as well as being GÉANT’s partner for the Eastern Mediterranean through the EUMEDCONNECT project.
- And European networking organisation GÉANT, which will strengthen and develop new connections with all pan-African networks, bringing R&E communities between the two continents together.
Like its predecessor, AfricaConnect2 means much more than affordable high-capacity connectivity. AfricaConnect2 will also offer capacity building at a regional and continental level, supporting sustainable development and helping build a more inclusive Information Society across Africa.
AfricaConnect2 is due to finish by the end of 2018. The EU development co-operation funds contribute up to €20m, with the beneficiary partners bringing in the remaining €6.6m.
Further press information:
Communications Officer / UbuntuNet Alliance
Tel: +265 999 029 434
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