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SAex (South Atlantic Express Cable)
Cable type Fibre-optic
Fate Planned
First traffic June 2013 (planned).[1]
Design capacity 24 TBit/s
Built by TE SubCom[2]
Landing points
Area served South Africa, Angola and Brazil
Owner(s) eFive Telecom (Pty) Ltd

SAex (South Atlantic Express) is a proposed submarine communications cable linking South Africa and Angola to Brazil with onward connectivity to the United States through the existing GlobeNet cable system. The project was announced in 2011 by eFive Telecoms (Pty) Ltd, who leads the project as principal. In April, 2011 the Bank of China announced that it was interested in investing 60% of the funds required for the project. The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa has also expressed interest in funding. The project is expected to cost R3 billion to complete.[3]


SAEx was conceived as a system to link the developing economies of Southern Africa and South America independently of traditional hubs and so to contribute to a link between BRICS economic regions without recourse to traditional northern hemisphere hubs. It will also form a sub-sea route from Indian Ocean network nodes in the Gulf region, India and Eastern Asia to South America and the USA while avoiding geological and geopolitical hazards present on other paths, such as the oceanic trenches of the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea and transits through potentially unstable countries and unreliable overland transit networks. Currently, internet traffic bounded from South Africa to the Americas routes through Europe. The SAex cable if constructed, will reduce latency and bandwidth costs associated with the distance that internet traffic currently has to travel by providing the shortest route possible to the Americas. The initial design capacity of the cable is 24 TBit/s and will be over 10,000 kilometres in length. It will consist of three fibre pairs, each capable of carrying 8 TBit/s of data using 100 GBit/s wavelength technology.[4] Two fibre pairs — with a combined design capacity of 16 TBit/s — will be extended to South Africa from an undersea branching unit, with another fibre pair likely to be extended to Angola. According to a memorandum of understanding closed in April 2010 Main One and SEACOM will interconnect their cables with SAex and so form a pan-African fibre-optic ring. Through SEACOM the cable could also supply India with bandwidth towards the Americas.

The cable system is expected to be operational in mid-2014 and once completed will be the highest-capacity cable to serve South Africa, and may become the second submarine cable to link Africa with South America, through the South Atlantic (the first one being ATLANTIS-2).[5][6]

Campaign to connect St. Helena[edit]

Since January 2012 a campaign called Move This Cable launched by A Human Right has been lobbying for a branch of the SAex cable to land on the remote island of St Helena in order to provide high-speed Internet access to the island's small population of 4,200 people and so to foster socio-economic development.[7][8][9]

Parallel projects[edit]

However with WASACE South another cable will become available on the same route by 2014. According to eFive CEO Mulaudzi his company wants to have the first-mover advantage since there is no need for two separate cable systems connecting Angola with Brazil.[1] On Friday, 23 March 2012, the president of Angola Cables, António Nunes and the president of Telebrás, Caio Bonilha, signed a deal to construct a cable of about 6000 km length linking Fortaleza in Brazil with the Angolan capital Luanda.[10][11] IHS Global Insight lists four concurrent projects to lay new undersea cables between South America and Africa.[12]

Landing points[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Another submarine cable headed SA’s way". South Africa: TechCentral. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "16Tbit/s SAEx cable deal signed". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Bank of China to fund Africa-America submarine cable system". 15 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "eFive Telecoms Pty Ltd. website". Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  5. ^ "Africa to get even more broadband". Media Club South Africa. 26 April 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "BRICS back R3bn Brasil-SA mega cable". Data Centre Colocation News. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  7. ^ campaign website Move This Cable!
  8. ^ Lee, Dave (3 January 2013). "Island community St Helena renews plea for internet cash from UK". BBC. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Geere, Duncan (22 February 12). "Wiring up St Helena: the campaign to connect a remote Atlantic island". Condé Nast UK. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Subsea World News - Subsea Cable to Link Brazil and Angola". Subseaworld News. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Brazil-Angola undersea cable link planned | Global Telecoms Business". London, Great Britain: Global Telecoms Business. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "BRICS Submarine Cable Planned to Connect South Africa with Brazil, India, China, US and Russia". IHS. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 

External links[edit]