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A: Fiber optics (optical fibers) are long, thin strands of very pure glass about the diameter of a human hair. They are arranged in bundles called optical cables and used to transmit light signals over long distances. They are bigger capacity pipes (called sub-marine or undersea fibre optic cables) from three suppliers, i.e. Seacom, TEAMS and EASSy. The bandwidth suppliers are selling their bandwidth capacity to resellers, called Internet Service providers (or ISPs). The ISPs then further resell the bandwidth consumers.
A: The TEAMS cable landed in Mombasa in 12th June 2009, The SEACOM cable in July 2009, The EASSy cable in 16th July 2009. Coverage in Kenya is as follows;-
A: Compared to conventional metal wire (copper wire), optical fibers are:
Less expensive – Several miles of optical cable can be made cheaper than equivalent lengths of copper wire. This saves your provider (cable TV, Internet) and you money.
Thinner – Optical fibers can be drawn to smaller diameters than copper wire.
Higher carrying capacity – Because optical fibers are thinner than copper wires, more fibers can be bundled into a given-diameter cable than copper wires. This allows more phone lines to go over the same cable or more channels to come through the cable into your cable TV box.
Less signal degradation – The loss of signal in optical fiber is less than in copper wire.
Light signals – Unlike electrical signals in copper wires, light signals from one fiber do not interfere with those of other fibers in the same cable. This means clearer phone conversations or TV reception.
Low power – Because signals in optical fibers degrade less, lower-power transmitters can be used instead of the high-voltage electrical transmitters needed for copper wires. Again, this saves your provider and you money.
Digital signals – Optical fibers are ideally suited for carrying digital information, which is especially useful in computer networks.
Non-flammable – Because no electricity is passed through optical fibers, there is no fire hazard.
Lightweight – An optical cable weighs less than a comparable copper wire cable. Fiber-optic cables take up less space in the ground.
A: Use of the fibre optic cable significantly reduces the cost of connectivity to broadband while increasing the connectivity speeds, there will be increased capacity and eventually reduces the overall cost of doing business.
“Fiber to the Building” (FTTB) refers to installing optical fiber from the telephone company central office to a specific building such as a business or apartment house.
“Fiber to the Curb” (FTTC) refers to the installation and use of optical fiber cable directly to the curbs near homes or any business environment as a replacement for “plain old telephone service” (POTS)
“Fiber to the Home” (FTTH) is a network technology that deploys fiber optic cable directly to the home or business to deliver voice, video and data services.
“Fiber to the neighborhood” (FTTN) refers to installing it generally to all curbs or buildings in a neighborhood.
A: The TEAMS cable: Was originally designed to have an initial capacity of 40 Gb/s upgradeable to 640 Gbit/s should the initial capacity be insufficient. The project has since exercised an option in the Construction & Maintenance Agreement (CMA) to increase the capacity to 1.2 Tb/s of which 120 Gbit/s will be initial capacity at project start.
EASSy: Is the highest capacity system serving sub-Saharan Africa, with a 3.84 Terabit per second (Tbit/s), 2 fibre-pair configuration. It is the first to deliver direct connectivity between East Africa and Europe / North America. It is also the only system with built-in resilience end-to-end.
A: Their use cuts across many industries such as;
A: The East Africa Marine Systems (TEAMS): This submarine project is a joint venture of the Kenyan government, Emirates Telecommunication Technology (Etisalat) and a consortium of local investors. Its overall goal was to boost internet connections and greatly reduce the cost of telecommunications, especially data transmission in the region. The 4,500 kilometre (2,790 miles) cable links Mombasa on the Kenyan coast to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy): This cable system runs from Mtunzini in South Africa to Port Sudan in Sudan, with landing points in nine countries and is connected to at least ten landlocked countries—which will no longer have to rely on Satellite Internet access to carry voice and data services. The project was initiated on January 2003. The cable entered service on 16 July 2010 with commercial service starting on 30 July 2010.
SEACOM: Is a privately funded venture which sells wholesale international capacity to global networks via India and Europe. The project’s business model is to provide affordable bandwidth via volume discounts and large bandwidth growth. It is the first to provide broadband to countries in East Africa, which previously relied entirely on expensive and slower satellite connections. The cable was commissioned for operation on 23 July 2009.