Greg Whitaker
Greg Whitaker Executive Business Unit Head: Wholesale

By linking Africa and Europe, WACS is facilitating growth in several ways across many regions.

The West African Cable System (WACS) is a vital artery for the flow of information between two continents and is the most important conduit between Europe and Africa. As such, it’s playing a key role in driving growth by accelerating the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

What is WACS?

WACS begins in the United Kingdom with underground fibre links to London and runs down the West African coast as far as Yzerfontein in the Western Cape, covering a total distance of 14 530km. Along the way, it has landing points in Namibia, Angola, Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Canary Islands and Portugal.

WACS comprises four fibre pairs, one of which is a direct link or “express lane” connecting South Africa directly to Portugal. It offers the lowest latency of any cable route currently available with the fastest connection to Europe in particular.

Connecting a continent

Such high bandwidth availability translates into a level of confidence that is ripe for investment and hyperscaling. As digital services proliferate in African countries where limitations on connectivity were once prohibitive, businesses in these regions can increase their level of participation in the global economy and drive further investment.

Since it first went live in 2012, WACS has already enabled the rollout of 4G and LTE in the nations it served. However, bottlenecks in terrestrial infrastructure have hindered progress in many parts of Africa’s interior. Ultimately, undersea cables form only a fraction of the connectivity chain, but it’s an important one nonetheless.

Tangible benefits from WACS

Consumers and businesses in countries like Togo, Congo, Angola and Namibia gained direct international access for the first time with the activation of WACS, and it has been a game changer for them in many respects. The open-access policy has succeeded in boosting international broadband competition, allowing smaller players to acquire direct capacity instead of securing it through a larger entity at greater cost.

Lower connectivity prices have an extensive knock-on effect. They improve the quality of life through access to mobile banking platforms, the creation of new employment opportunities, facilitating access to more local media content, boosting e-commerce, e-learning and e-agriculture, among others.

ClearChannel Direct from IS

As a wholesaler of WACS capacity, IS leverages economies of scale to facilitate this highly scalable, ultra-low latency and cost-efficient bandwidth. Our ClearChannel Direct offering provides dedicated Layer 1 unmanaged bandwidth between any two landing stations along the WACS system, connecting 14 countries over two continents. This ensures redundancy for Africa’s east coast cable systems while also extending the reach of other cable networks such as Transatlantic and SAFE to the Asia-Pacific region.

Learn more about our ClearChannel Direct promotion and get access to the full benefits of WACS.

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