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The St. Helena government of the British Overseas Territories has signed the 11th European Development Fund (EDF 11) regional distribution financing agreement, a total of 21.5 million euros to support the SHG digital strategic plan to access the international submarine cable system.
According to the plan, part of British Overseas Territory also includes Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha Islands will be connected from the planned South African-United States South Atlantic Submarine Cable System Express (SAEx), and part of the funds will also be used for Assen. Songdo and Tristan da Cunha.
Since the development of SAEx cable since 2012, Rosalind Thomas, general manager of the operating company, stated that the business had undergone a major restructuring in 2014 and new shareholders have been introduced. However, the first phase of the revised project will extend from Mtunzini (South Africa) to Virginia Beach in the United States and provide a branching path to St. Helena at an estimated cost of US$ 480 million.
In the first phase, the company will use Cape Town to deploy a submarine cable from Mtunzini to a location near Fortaleza, Brazil, and leave a branch directly to the United States. The second phase will cost US$300 million to expand the system from Mtunzini to the Peninsula of Malaysia through a four-fiber system, with a minimum design capacity of 48 Tbps.
According to the plan, the first phase of SAEx submarine cable will be ready in the second half of 2020. The company expects to sign the contract with the selected supplier soon. Once the financing is completed, the selected supplier will start implementing the project, including the marine survey.