TEAMS officially Launched.

Dear Friends.

Finally after years of waiting TEAMS [The East African Marine System] fibre-optic cable is finally here. It was officially launched today Friday 12th June 2009. The project has been some years in the making and it’s arrival is the realisation of a long held dream by the Kenyan government after having some problems with EASSy [East African Submarine cable System] another fibre-optic submarine cable planned for East and South Africa.

Today the Kenyan President H.E. Mwai Kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga officially launched the cable which spans a distance of approximately 5000km between the coastal town of Mombasa in Kenya to the coastal city of Fujairah [United Arab Emirates]. It has a capacity of 1.2Tb/s of bandwidth which will greatly boost the level of bandwidth in the country. 

TEAMS cable

Now Kenya can concentrate on developing the BPO [Business Process Outsourcing], E-commerce, Telemedicine, E-Learning, E-Justice and E-government. This revolutions will lead to greater efficiency in the country’s management and could also save the government and the various stakeholders huge quantities of money, time and inconvenience.

The President today instructed the ministry of information and communication to educate the youth in the use of ICT so that they can take advantage of this new communication infrastructure to become the first truly digital Kenyans. This is indeed the right strategy to take in the development of ICT. If ICT can be incorporated into the school curriculum it would have a much greater impact.

With the landing of TEAMS and SEACOM which is expected to go live in a matter of weeks the focus now shifts to terrestrial infrastructure which also is in an advanced stage. Beyond the infrastructure many IT firms and dot savvy individuals are positioning themselves to take advantage of the financial rewards likely to emerge as the internet uptake grows.

Some have questioned whether the enthusiasm for the fibre-optic cables and the hopes associated with them are simply misguided dreams. I say to such people cynicism never developed anything of value. Infact cynicism serves to discourage people from developing their full potential. Kenyans need to understand that the government cannot provide them with everything. What the government can do is to provide the enabling environment by for example putting up the necessary infrastructure, security and providing incentives.

Think of it this way the fibre-optic infrastructure is like a good highspeed highway similar to the German Autobahns. They will facilitate highspeed communication between Kenyans and the international communications network. The govt does not tell you what, when or how you should take advantage of the highway. Once the infrastructure is there it is the job of the citizenry to make use of it in the most profitable and efficient way possible.

The Kenyan populace is known to be innovative, hardworking and selfdriven. I am confident they dont need Worldbank experts or NGO’s telling them how to use the fibre just as no one tells you how you should use your cellphone. The same cynics once remarked that Africa was not ready for the cellphone. They even asked questions like how will they afford it if they cant eat? How will they charge their phones without electricity? Being illiterate will they understand how to use the phones? All this demeaning questions by cynics should be ignored with the contempt they deserve.

All I can urge Kenyans is to start seeing the positive out of every misfortune. Corruption teaches us the value of integrity and the steps being taken now to combat it will stand us in good steed years to come. Our politics can teach us to be more moderate and respectful of each others ethnicity and personal opinions. Indeed our very diversity should be viewed as a strength.

If you go to the USA you will meet people from every corner of this world. They live very harmoniously with each other and it is partly due to their diversity that the US is so powerful today. Kenya with it’s great ethnic diversity could use the various cultures within it to promote itself as a multicultural tourist destination. It is also funny that Kenyans can be so welcoming to foreigners from thousands of miles away and be so contemptuos of their own neighbours. In a real sense our ethnic divisions are incited by our politicians when they want to achieve short term objectives. This misfortunes should be seen as positive learning experiences.

I hope that the exciting telecommunications developments in Kenya will lead to greater understanding of our problems and the opportunities they offer.  TEAMS arrival is a real achievement that should unite all Kenyans and give equal opportunity to whoever is willing to take advantage of it to develope him or herself to prosperity and service to other Kenyans.





6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kenyantykoon said,

    Am using your blog to keep me updated about this seacom project and so far you havent disappointed. Keep up the good work. One question though… How long do you think it will take to complete the project?? Will the whole of East Africa benefit or its only Kenya??

  2. 2

    jellyfishcoolman said,

    Hi Kenyatykoon.

    SEACOM and TEAMS are two different projects. TEAMS is predominantely a Kenyan affair eventhough other East African countries will also benefit. Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and even Ethiopia have expressed interest. TEAMS is sponsored by the govt, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya.

    SEACOM is a privately sponsored cable which involves many more countries from South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Europe. The shareholders of SEACOM are IPS of Kenya, Venfin, Shanduka of SA and Heracles(USA).

    Both SEACOM and TEAMS have now completed construction. They are currently both testing their networks. As of today SEACOM says they are 26 days away. TEAMS has indicated it will be ready in a month so that translates to July 12.

  3. 3

    jellyfishcoolman said,

    Hi Kenyatykoon.

    Forgot to direct you to read my earlier post titled Fibre-optics 4 Kenya. It has a more indepth description of the various initiatives in the submarine fibre-optics programmes for East Africa. You can click on it on the recent posts sidebar.

  4. 4

    Peter said,

    Hi Jellyfishcoolman,

    Great blog to get latest news about the cable systems. I am a Telecom engineer from South Sudan who is very excited about the TEAMS, SEACOM and EASSY. We in South Sudan are going to benefit tremendously from it. But I do have a gigantic task ahead of me in trying to convince some nincompoops here in South Sudan as to why we need to tap into the cable systems.

    • 5

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Peter.

      Do not give up. Push hard it’s the only way Africa will lift itself out of poverty. The embracing of technology can have very important benefits for development vizualise education, health, justice and management.

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