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Telcos Co-Share Ducts To Lay Fibre Cables
Posted on: 29-Aug-2012         Source: Daily Graphic
Telcos have now agreed to share ducts for their fibre optic cables as depicted in this report by Charles Benoni Okine

Telecom companies in Ghana have now accepted to co-share ducts to enable them to lay fibre optic cables across the country.

The move, which is a better departure from the norm where each telco dug its own trench to lay its cables as this will save the environment, cut cost of laying the cables and reduce the theft on the cables.

Already, the telcos are also co-sharing the use of their towers to mount cell sites.

The acting Chief Operating Officer of tiGO, Mr Larry Arthur, mentioned this at the second Knowledge Forum under the auspices of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications on the theme; “Cable cuts; How they hurt subscribers and the telecoms industry”.

He said the companies also took into consideration the damage the digging of ducts cause to roads and property of residents among others and expressed the hope that with these measures, some savings would be made.

However, he said in spite of the efforts put in place by the telcos to reduce the inconveniences, “we suffer a lot from cable cuts either through theft or by contractors undertaking road projects in various parts of the country.

Mr Arthur said much as the cable lanes have been clearly marked to fore-warn contractors, some of them do not heed to signs and tend to dig deep to destroy the cables.

Fibre optic cables
This is a technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data.

A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.

Fibre optics has several advantages over traditional metal communications lines as they have much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data.

Fibre optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference and much thinner and lighter than metal wires.

Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically. The main disadvantage of fiber optics is that the cables are expensive to install.

In addition, they are more fragile than wire and are difficult to splice. Fiber optics is a particularly popular technology for local-area networks. In addition, telephone companies are steadily replacing traditional telephone lines with fiber optic cables. In the future, almost all communications will employ fibre optics.

Fibre across the continent
The Main One on March 1, 2012 reported that a ship's anchor accidentally sliced an underwater Internet cable, cutting off access to six African countries.

The incident happened as the vessel stopped in the wrong area as it waited to enter a port in Mombasa, Kenya.

The ship was dragging its anchor when it broke the 3,000 mile long fibre-optic cable. It took engineers three weeks to repair the damaged fibre.

Sott.net also reported on March 3, 2012 that a series of bizarre coincidences had left several African countries experiencing significantly reduced Internet traffic.

The three cables in question were the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), the Europe India Gateway (EIG) and the South East Asia Middle East Western Europe-3 (SEA-ME-WE-3).

allAfrica, an online news portal also reported on February 28, 2012 that Internet services in the country had been severely affected after an illegally anchored ship cut two submarine cables connecting Kenya to the rest of the world. The East African Marine System (TEAMS) that carries the bulk of Kenya's traffic will take about three weeks to repair, the cables general manager Joel Tanui said.
The problem was compounded by the fact that another cable, The East Africa Submarine System (Eassy) cable also experienced a cut near Djibouti and was currently undergoing repair.

In Ghana, most of the cuts are not offshore but onshore and mostly because of road construction and other heavy landed projects across the country.

A Director at the Ministry of Communications, Mr Issah Yahya acknowledged the challenges the telcos face as a result of the numerous fibre cuts.

Consequently, he called on the public to help protect such infrastructure because “the fibre cables help them to run an effective and efficient internet and data services which we all depend on”.