Why Is Egypt Vital to Internet? | Access Middle East

This is where East meets West in cyber terms connecting millions of people around the
world and its all controlled from the terminals in
this room worldwide undersea cables carrying ninety-nine
percent of intercontinental Internet traffic and one of the busiest hubs is right
here in Egypt the country has two main areas where
cables come ashore the Red Sea in the east and the
Mediterranean in the north and as you would expect each landing
station is in a near secret location with tight security few people get to visit this facility and with good reason in
March 2013 Egypt’s Internet connectivity was severely disrupted after a undersea cable was severed Millions in Africa the Middle East and South Asia
experienced severe internet disruption following the incident and at the time it was feared it could
have been an act of cyberterrorism however Telecom Egypt
believes the cable was accidentally cut by a commercial
shipping vessel the company has since received twelve and a half million US dollars in
compensation from a ship known only as The Elephant There’s been substantial criticism
about the lagging internet speeds in Egypt which add to the cost of
business a Facebook page Internet Revolution
Egypt even got hundreds of thousands of likes what is
being done to improve that bandwith? so in fact this is
a very important issue and myself and my team, we listen
very closely to this and we will quickly analyze what has passed
Not because we want to dwell on it but because certainly we don’t want to repeat it
Now this is the price of taking Telecom Egypt out of
everything that’s modern which is mobile and broadband and offering data itself in the last fifteen years and what we’re doing moving forward
is we’re operating as a total telecom operator right now we
have a license for fixed data and voice and that’s why we are moving very
quickly with fibre rollout we plan to address four of the seven million homes that we
serve with fiber to the curb and fiber to the home by December 2015 so we recognized the problem we admit that there is a problem There’s also been
sporadic disruptions to some of the main data access cables which also serve as waypoints linking
Asia with Europe at some point there was talk of saboteurs cutting these undersea
cables then there was a tanker that pulled the cables out of the
ground what’s the story here and are these
cables too vulnerable? So this is an important point
and I’m happy to explain to you more
about now we have a thousand kilometers of Red Sea shoreline and a thousand kilometers of
Mediterranean Sea shoreline eighteen different discrete submarine
cable land on these shores connecting Asia to
Europe a typical country would have one or two
cables so the number of cables in Egypt is just very large because of the fact that we connect Asia to Europe in
addition to this usually countries shorelines accessed by
something someone going to or leaving from that
country in our case we’re a passageway where all
the shipyard that goes out of Asia crosses our channel
in order to reach the Mediterranean onwards to Europe so being
a passageway and having so many cables is the reason
everybody sees a lot of action In terms of? Cable accidents because since it’s a
passageway with several ships passing through and having
many cables there is always a
chance that something would happen Let’s talk a bit more about some of the
other market opportunities that are out there and I’m thinking specifically of your
stake in an Algerian telco which hasn’t quite panned out the way you would have liked – what’s
going on in Algeria and are you going to stay there are you
pulling out? It has not been successful and we know
that out completely we accumulated this loss at 100 percent couple of years ago and the operation is
non-existant so would you say it was an unsuccessful
venture then? It was not successful if there was an opportunity would that
opportunity be outside the Middle East possibly Africa
seems to be a race for Africa going on So Africa is part of our
territory certainly and we have the Nile that
connects us to Uganda and connects us to Ethiopia
and we have a tradition and a life within Africa We feel that we are part of
Africa and certainly markets in Africa are very exciting so
we share with Africa many things in addition to the shore
line with the east coast of Africa we also have a similarly young population as many of
the African states do and like I said the
waterway the Nile So if there was an opportunity it’s
more likely to be in Africa than anywhere else? Middle East Africa, Yes

Danny Hutson

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