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WIOCC, a leading provider of digital connectivity and infrastructure across Africa, is working with Ciena, to become the first operator to activate a fibre pair on the new Equiano submarine cable system

Running a total of 15,000 km from Portugal along the African west coast, Equiano will be one of the largest cables serving Africa, with 12 fibre pairs delivering a total of 144Tbps of capacity. WIOCC is a key investor in Equiano, owning a full fibre pair on the system in addition to submarine line terminal equipment (SLTE) from Ciena. Working with Ciena makes it possible for WIOCC to move rapidly in activating and then adding to its capacity to meet expanding demand for connectivity in South Africa, Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Spectrum sharing is supported across the network, allowing WIOCC to broaden its service portfolio.

Chris Wood, WIOCC group CEO, commented, “Ciena has extensive experience delivering market-leading submarine network solutions across the globe. This collaboration offers us the best lead times, a great commercial proposition and high-quality, accessible technical support – all vital as we expand our ability to support the cloud and wholesale community in Africa. Not only has this allowed us to pre-install our SLTE in Open Access Data Centres (OADC) facilities in Lagos, Nigeria, and Rondebosch, South Africa – meaning we’ll be able to light up our capacity as soon as the Equiano system goes live – but it’s also optimised budget utilisation, enabling us to invest further in other parts of our network.”

“We’re also teaming up with Ciena on the new 2Africa submarine cable, on which we own a fibre pair across the system. The cable, now in deployment and scheduled to go live in stages throughout 2023 and 2024, will land directly in the new carrier-neutral OADC facility in Durban,” added Wood. 

Ian Clarke, vice-president of Global Submarine Solutions, Ciena, said, “Having worked with us on other African cables, WIOCC is again entrusting us to maximise its network assets. Our collaboration is ensuring the systems, and regions, keep pace with bandwidth demands while reducing transport costs. Together, we’re making connectivity smarter and faster, utilising software automation and AI to bring it ever closer to end users.”

To achieve this, WIOCC is deploying Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme Solution, which leverages the 6,500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS), WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics and Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller. Ciena Services is providing turnkey planning, design and deployment services to ensure project success.

“For WIOCC, this initiative represents a significant investment in establishing and expanding Africa’s converged open access digital infrastructure, linking submarine fibre pair ownership with hyperscale terrestrial buildout and cloud expansion in key markets across sub-Saharan Africa, expediting digital transformation throughout the region,” said Wood.


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