Song, Connections, and the New Age of Cable Technologies

This week I decided to research the ICT developer to whom I was briefly introduced in the Raftree article and upon further discussion in class, Steve Song. From his bio it was apparent that he’s very active in the ICT world, like the rest of the developers we talked about. But I was curious to know exactly how, and considering his negative perspective of ICT development in Africa-the risks of depending on mobile phone usage and one producer that is working at the time, halting competition and thus new developments, cheaper price options, and newer companies-I was fascinated to read more about the projects in which he does believe and what he has to say about them in posts (of course he has a blog and a twitter), especially regarding Africa where he currently resides.

His latest post, written on March 5 and entitled Race for the South Atlantic: Which cable will be first to connect Africa with Brazil?, revealed interesting strides in the world of communication technologies with the introduction of three cable projects that I had never heard of before but are making a significant impact in the ICT world. The first of the three projects is called Express (SAEx) “which proposes to join Melkbosstrand, South Africa to Fortaleza, Brazil” with the use of an “undersea cable” subsidized by “Oi, the largest telecom company in Brazil” (Song).

The second is WASACE.  According to the blog, “WASACE is a massive project to connect the Americas with Africa and Europe…proposed to connect Melkbosstrand with Fortaleza but via Luanda and Lagos” (Song).

The last, Telebras, a Brazilian state-owned monopoly telco that was broken up in 1998, “has recently been resuscitated by the Brazilian government as the chief implementer of their National Broadband Plan” announcing the “signing of an with Angola Cables, a joint venture between the Angolan government through Angola Telecoms and a number of private operators” competing with the other two cable programs for the opportunity. (Song)

Each have their pros and cons, but what’s important to recognize is how far international development has come in that sense that instead of working in one country for development, with the use of ICTs, developers have been able to shift their focus to connect 2+ countries and continents and providing opportunities in this way. And Song has done an excellent job bringing not only the technology but these ideas to light.

Access to this post can be found here! Along with many previous posts.

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One response to “Song, Connections, and the New Age of Cable Technologies

  • mariahvb

    This is a great example of ICTs being utilized in the developing world, but I feel as though South Africa and Brazil are much farther along in terms of economics and integrating technology into the larger part of society. Also, I may be wrong, but isn’t the South Atlantic Express a result of local companies partnering with one another.. Plus China I think. If this is true, would this be considered ICT4D?

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