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SAT-3’s Re-entry into the Broadband Space

The resuscitation of the SAT-3 sub-marine broadband cable by ntel, will no doubt boost economic and social activities in Nigeria, writes Emma Okonji: The South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable, popularly known as SAT-3 submarine cable system, which is the link to internet access from Europe to West African countries, began operations in 2002. It was launched in 2001. SAT-3 took over from SAT-2, after reaching its full capacity, having been in operations since the early 1990s. SAT-2 was a replacement for the original undersea cable SAT-1, which was constructed in the 1960s. SAT-3 became the West Africa submarine Cable system for telecommunications and internet connectivity after SAT-2, with 17 landing points in 15 countries, spread between Europe and Africa with stops along the West African sub-region from Nigeria to Senegal and south-ward to Angola and South Africa. It provided access to global markets and enabled seamless and diverse connectivity to the rest of the world. The SAT-3 cable system became Africa’s longest submarine cable, covering a distance of 28,800km, with a total capacity of about 1,000 Gbps. The cable system was funded and owned by a consortium of 35 foremost telecoms operators from different parts of the world, including the government owned Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).
While NITEL was the sole operator and financier of SAT-3 in Nigeria, the cable system, at some point in time, became the only source of internet connectivity to Nigeria, before the advent of MainOne and Glo 1 submarine cables in 2010 and the MTN West African Cable System (MTN WACS) in 2011. Prior to the advent of MainOne, Glo1 and MTN WACS, Nigerians and all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that were connected to SAT -3, suffered a great set back on internet connectivity, anytime there is a cut on the SAT-3 cable, because it was the only source of internet connectivity to Nigeria at that time.

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