St Helena Government (SHG) has issued a letter of intent to connect St Helena to the Equiano subsea cable project.
This will provide the first fibre-optic connectivity from St Helena to the outside world through both Europe and South Africa.
On 28 June 2019, Executive Council made the decision to proceed after assessment of the benefits of this project in comparison with other options. Connecting to Equiano meets SHG’s timing and budgetary requirements for the European Development Fund and supports the Digital ICT Strategy for St Helena.
Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Councillor, Lawson Henry, said:
“This is an historic moment. A truly transformational project for St Helena. When you consider the start of commercial air services just under two years ago, it is incredible that in 2021 we will look back and think how far St Helena has come in just a handful of years. In a world with international fibre connectivity, imagine streaming videos in our classrooms, telemedicine services in our hospital, and entrepreneurs developing digital businesses from the comfort of their own home. Our next challenge once the cable is landed is to ensure that it is affordable to everyone on St Helena.”
SHG’s Financial Secretary, Dax Richards, added:
“We are pleased to work with Equiano on such an important project for St Helena. The cable has the potential to transform life on our Island and should create new opportunities to stimulate sustainable social and economic development. It is important that everyone is able to benefit from what improved connectivity and accessibility will bring. After all, that is one of the key conditions underlying the EU funding for this project.”
The spur between the main trunk of the Equiano cable and the Island will be 1140km long. The target is to deliver broadband to St Helena as early as August 2021, providing the cable laying and associated works to start the service proceed on time.
The marine survey of the Equiano cable route is in progress.
This cable will be capable of providing the Island with scalable connectivity, ranging from a few hundred gigabits per second up to multiple terabits as demand varies. On this basis it allows for the most cost effective growth of bandwidth needs for the Island.
In order to prepare for the arrival of the fibre optic cable, the St Helena Community College has developed a list of available IT courses for those who wish to make the most out of the enhanced connectivity.