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Indian Ocean Islands decide on METISS cable project

metiss_cable METISS Consortium

Six operators of the Indian Ocean - Telma, CEB FiberNet, Emtel, Canal+ Telecom, SFR and ZEOP signed an agreement for the construction and launching of METISS broadband cable. All the six operators in the telecommunications sector in Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion have signed the agreement to build and manage a new high-speed cable under the name METISS, standing for MElting poT Indianoceanic Submarine System.

The signing ceremony was held on Wednesday, December 13, in Port Louis (Mauritius) in the presence of many political figures from IOC member states and representatives of the private sector. This digital infrastructure meets the need for connectivity in the region, a need that will be all the more felt as current cables are approaching their end of life.

The METISS cable is an unprecedented project in many ways: first, it is a project that federates operators who could have kept to the competitive logic of the sector; secondly, it is an open and shared infrastructure that offers new alternatives to Internet service providers; finally, it is a typical Indian Ocean initiative that will connect the region to the high international bandwidth.

The ultimate goal of the project is to secure Internet access faster and cheaper. In short, METISS participates in the democratization of broadband Internet. This project has benefited from the support of the Indian Ocean Commission, which facilitated dialogue between operators and actively participated in its structuring.

In the context of an interconnected world, access to the Internet has become an essential component of communication, information, economic exchange, knowledge acquisition and training.

Isolated, the islands of the South West Indian Ocean risked the digital divide for lack of new infrastructures linking them to continental Africa with the capacity of growing connections.
Aware of the stakes, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) launched a regional reflection with the public authorities of its member states, regulators, private operators and international partners. IOC advocacy has demonstrated the value of regional action to make digital a real driver of growth and jobs, innovation and knowledge dissemination.

It is in this spirit that six operators in the region are now deciding to invest together in the construction of a fiber optic cable that will connect Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar to South Africa by 2019 to the high international bandwidth and the most African headquarters of the largest companies in the ICT sector.

Following the signature of the agreement, the Secretary General of the IOC and the Chair of the METISS Steering Committee, Madi Hamada, stated that the METISS cable will deeply modify the regional digital outlook and will give way to the democratization of access of the Internet to the population of the region and in particular to economic operators. In this case, it will be a real tool for the economic and social development of the region.

Patrick Pisal Hamida, director of TELMA, for his part, underlined that the METISS project will go beyond competition. It is as ambitious as it is realistic - everybody is a winner, the consumer as well as the private sector who both have high expectations as to the cost and access to the Internet.

METISS figures

Three thousand kilometer-cable for six operators from three countries- Mauritius, Reunion and Madagascar will invest forty million Euros in this digital growth driver of 24,000 gigabit.
Every 10% increase in broadband penetration in a developing country translates into a gain of 1.38 points of growth (World Bank, 2009).

The Booz & Company strategy firm notes a direct correlation with + 1.5% labor productivity for a + 10% penetration of the broadband connection.

According to a 2011 study by consulting firm McKinsey, for every job destroyed by the Internet, 2.6 new jobs are created in both the ICT sector and other industries.

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