Fibre opportunities for Africa!

fibre GurusGiven the flurry of undersea cables being laid and the forthcoming AfricaConnect initiative, it has been decided to dedicate this issue of NUANCE to emerging fibre opportunities around and especially within Africa.  The photo shows three fibre gurus representing SEACOM, EASSy and TEAMS at the Brussels EU Africa Connect meeting on 24th February 2010 and, Yes, the one representing TEAMS is our own Victor Kyalo who was one of the founding Directors of UbuntuNet Alliance. Enjoy!

UbuntuNet Alliance maps out Intra-Africa optical fibre Network: www.ubuntunet.net/fibre-map

The FibremapThere have been several maps of undersea fibre that is currently being laid around the coast of Africa. Steve Song’s “Many Possibilities” map has become internationally recognised.  The gap has been the fibre in the hinterlands, both lit and dark fibre.  Some years ago, Professor Pehrson led a SARUA commissioned fibre study and compiled the Optical Fibre for Education and Research Networks in Eastern and Southern Africa.  The Alliance has undertaken a new initiative to bring current information about existence of fibre in Africa to the wider community of stakeholders, this activity being enabled by  funding from IDRC within the framework of CORENA.  NRENs have been supportive to this initiative in providing data on existing and upcoming fibre within the different countries.

The intra-Africa fibre map has been published on the UbuntuNet Alliance website to facilitate public input and comment to ensure that the planned quarterly updates of the map do not only improve accuracy but are also responsive to the needs of our stakeholders.  Recognising the bandwidth limitations that still challenge most of Africa, a downloadable pdf map has  been provided.  For better quality and in-depth detail, a .kml file is also available for viewing using Google Earth. All map formats provide for zooming in and out.

UbuntuNet Alliance particularly requests information and data that will improve the accuracy and resolution of the map and also help in filling in gaps.  The Alliance holds copyright to this map under the Creative Commons Version 3 Licence.

Donna NamujjuDonna Namujju, Engineer,ICT Policy Analyst & Researcher, Makerere University who has worked for several months to bring together the many components of the map writes: “Internetworldstats.com gives a useful snapshot of the state of Africa’s internet usage.  While Africa’s Internet Usage Growth Rate from 2000-2009 stands at an impressive 1,809.8 %, internet usage penetration as of December 31, 2009 is at a lowly 8.7%. The challenges are many; among which, the extremely high costs of internet infrastructure rank high, making progress in terrestrial coverage slow. There is currently little data on the coverage of internet infrastructure within Africa; and the little that exists had until now lacked sufficient aggregation to give a snapshot of Africa’s coverage. The intra-Africa fibre map is the first attempt to give a fuller picture of intra-Africa’s terrestrial internet coverage. It shows existing and upcoming fibre on the continent including that for telecommunications; general purpose national backbones; and utility companies. The map is useful in that it points to existing gaps in Africa’s internet infrastructure as well as possibilities for further growth”

EASSy fibre cable goes live: East and Southern Africa flooded with terabits of bandwidth

Eassy MapThe long awaited EASSy sub-marine fibre optic cable is now live along the East African coast, becoming the third cable to land on the coast after SEACOM and TEAMS. It went live on Friday, 16 July 2010 marking the successful completion of its construction programme which started in Maputo, Mozambique in December 2009. Now the East and Southern African coast has terabits of bandwidth capacity with onward connectivity to global Internet markets.

The cable was formally handed over to the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) Board on Wednesday, 21st July 2010 by the Alcatel Submarine Networks who were the contractors. The arrival of EASSy is expected to increase the Internet connection competition in the region which will eventually result in the reduction of usage rates. The cable also brings network redundancy in the region, assuring a much higher level of access availability for users: the recent outages of the SEACOM cable have brought home to users the critical need for alternative cable routes.

Mr. James Wekesa, the Chief Commercial Officer for EASSy, said that all the EASSy landing stations such as Port Sudan, Djibouti, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Moroni in Comoros Islands, Toliary in Madagascar, Maputo in Mozambique and Mtunzini in South Africa had been completed, tested and are operational. The EASSy cable has the capability to deliver 1.4Tbs capacity, making it the largest submarine cable system serving the continent. The cable lands in 9 countries and will in addition offer transit connection through backhaul networks to at least 12 landlocked countries, providing the greatest area coverage in the region.

EASSy is owned by 16 commercial telcom entities, with 92 per cent owned by African operators and 8 per cent by international operators. The investing parties include: Bharti Airtel, Botswana Telecom Corporation, British Telecom, Comoros Telecom, Etisalat, France Telecom, Mauritius Telecom, MTN International Group, Neotel, Saudi Telecom Corporation, Sudatel, TTCL, Telma, Vodacom, Telkom South Africa, WIOCC and Zambia Telecom. WIOCC is the single largest investor in Eassy with a 29 per cent shareholding.

The Internet Society (ISOC) launches the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF)

The 15th of June 2010 was a day to remember for the Internet Society (ISOC) as it announced the launch of the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Nairobi, Kenya. The forum was established with the sole purpose of helping to address the operational, regulatory, and business challenges facing the growing African Internet industry.

In partnership with the Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK), ISOC will hold the inaugural meeting of the forum, entitled “Unlocking Africa’s Regional Interconnection” in Nairobi, Kenya from the 11th to 12th August 2010 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel. The meeting is expected to attract some of Africa’s key business leaders, technical experts, policy makers, and infrastructure builders.

Speaking at the announcement, the Regional Development Manager for Africa at the Internet Society, and recipient of the 2010 African Network Operators Group (AfNOG) Network Information Infrastructure award, Mr. Michuki Mwangi, said “To date, gradual, ongoing policy and regulatory changes have made a positive impact on the region, where we are seeing many new opportunities for regional and global connectivity.  Supporting the recent momentum in Africa by facilitating these positive discussions plays a vital role in delivering against one of the Internet Society’s key strategic initiatives; enabling access in emerging markets. Africa has also seen major investments in submarine cables, terrestrial fibre infrastructures, and mobile and wireless data technologies, all of which are addressing some of the challenges that previously restricted Internet growth in the region.”

The African Peering and Interconnection Forum hopes to create a regional community to address the key cross-border Interconnection opportunities and challenges in Africa and discuss global and regional insights on maximizing regional development. In addition to local and regional support provided by TESPOK, the event has received international sponsorship from expert organizations including the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX), the German Internet exchange, and Netnod, the Swedish Internet Exchange provider.UbuntuNet Alliance is pleased that it will be represented at the Forum by KENET by Professor Meoli Kashorda, the CEO of the Kenya NREN, KENET.

More information about the meeting, registration and details about sponsorship opportunities is available athttps://www.isoc.org/isoc/conferences/africanforum2010/

Internet2 partners with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

On 13th July 13, 2010, our north American friends, Internet2 and NOAA announced their partnership. The partnership is aimed at deploying an extremely reliable, high capacity nationwide network that will serve to significantly enhance the capabilities of NOAA’s researchers and their partners.

With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the new high capacity research network called “NWave” will be built on a set of 10-Gigabit per second dedicated waves on the national Internet2 Network. The network waves will be used to provide dedicated, high speed and high capacity connection between climate and weather researchers and NOAA’s key high performance computing sites across the nation. The network will be backed by the operational expertise of the Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Centre (GRNOC)

NWave is expected to provide critical high capacity network links that can support large climatic data flows between sites as well as provide the capabilities to allow NOAA scientists the ability to easily share computational resources with the U.S. Department of Energy and other U.S. government agencies. It is also expected that the new NWave network will support 80 Terabytes of climate research data per day.

CIO and director of high performance computing and communications at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Joe Klimavicz said “This new high speed research network will greatly increase our ability to transparently access large volumes of higher resolution and more complex climate and weather analyses, predictions and projections.“

“The Internet2 community is excited to be an enabler of NOAA’s critical climate and weather research. The Internet2 Network will connect researchers across the country to the high-performance computing resources that are an absolute requirement for the kinds of distributed, collaborative environmental observations and analyses that will unleash the next wave of discoveries about our natural world,” said Rob Vietzke, Internet2 executive director of network services (Thanks to Lauren Rotman, Internet 2)

CEO Appeals to Friends to Support the Alliance through Capacity building for NRENs

Appeal LogoAs fibre infrastructure rolls out to and within Africa, the next barrier faced by the NREN community within this beautiful continent is human capacity to design, roll out, and operate the infrastructure, and indeed to deal with the multiple challenges of running NRENs in developing economies.

The Alliance invites expert volunteers to support this need in the many young NRENs and will be putting up a request and offer system on its website soon.  The Alliance appreciates the graphic abilities of colleagues in TENET who have captured this message vividly!

Deadline Extension: Call for Papers for UbuntuNet-Connect 2010

ubuntunetconnect logoThe Organising Committee of UbuntuNet-Connect 2010 is pleased to announce the extension of the deadline for receiving of abstracts for the conference, which will be held at Kopanong Holiday Resort and Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa on 18-19th November 2010. The new deadline is 31st August 2010. Please hurry! Registration for the conference is open through the TENET DITCHE Portal. Download the updated Call for Papers and Register now at www.ubuntunet.net/uc2010.

Call for Papers: International Workshop on Science Gateways (IWSG2010)

Iwocc LogoThe International Workshop on Science Gateways will this coming September hold the International Workshop on Science Gateways (IWSG2010). The Workshop will take place in the city of Catania, Italy on 20th to 22nd of September 2010 at Sea Palace Hotel.

In view of this, the Programme Committee for the Workshop is pleased to announce the Call for Papers which will be considered for presentation during the event. Interested individuals are invited to submit articles of maximum with a maximum of 10,000 characters (six A4 size pages) reporting original, unpublished research and recent developments/theoretical considerations. The topics are, but not limited to Portal technology and portal construction methods, Usage models and portal tools for e-Science, Security aspects of portals for e-Science, Usability studies of science gateways, Workflows and service composition, Service discovery and ontologies in science gateways, Management of high-throughput data in science gateways, Tools for managing Grid and cloud portability, Integration of science gateways e-infrastructures and Demonstrations and/or success stories.

The accepted papers either for oral presentations or as posters, will be peer-reviewed and published in the conference proceedings with an ISBN by the Consorzio COMETA. The deadline for paper submission is August, 22, 2010 and successful individuals will be notified on August, 30, 2010.

This is a great opportunity to all individuals as the Workshop is aiming at providing an excellent learning opportunity, as well as a venue for the exchange of ideas among a highly interdisciplinary group of scientists.

More information is available at http://agenda.ct.infn.it/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=347.

 

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