TEAMS Kenya-Europe link forces rate issue

Shareholders in the East African Marine Cable (TEAMS) project have agreed to individually negotiate and pay for the cost of onward connectivity to Europe from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, a decision that is likely to result in higher-than-hoped-for tariffs.

TEAMS Chairperson Michael Joseph said last week that shareholders of the cable have individually agreed to negotiate and pay for onward connectivity from the UAE, where the TEAMS cable ends, to Europe. The alternative would have been for jointly agreed-upon rates.

Operators are instead negotiating with the owners of international communication networks from the UAE to Europe and will pay additional costs for onward connectivity in order to be able to route traffic to Europe.

This means, for example, that the cost of the Internet in Kenya will vary among end users, due to the different costs of the onward connectivity operators will be paying.

"We all expected that the cost of Internet in the East African region will greatly drop as a result of the cable. But we now have to wait longer for that to happen," said George Tapfumanei, communications officer for the African Agency for ICT Development.

At the moment, there is no connectivity between the TEAMS cable and Europe. This means that the cable will not immediately offer fiber-optic bandwidth.