Telecommunications company Seacom has finished deploying an underwater fibre-optic broadband cable linking countries on the east coast of Africa to the global broadband network.

The 17,000km-long cable links South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique to Europe and Asia. It has a capacity of 1.28 terrabytes per second and has taken two years to lay at a reported cost of $390million.

Seacom said that the cable marked the "dawn of a new era for communications" between Africa and the rest of the world. It will also usher in far cheaper internet usage fees for inhabitants of the region, who have faced extortionate rates up until now.

Business benefits

Indeed, the BBC reports that some businesses in the region that have been paying up to £2000 a month for a 1MB satellite link to the internet could now see prices drop to around the £400 mark.

However, while many countries will now see a faster connection alongside cheaper fees, not quite all of East Africa is set to benefit from the new cable.

War-torn Somalia is not connected and Seacom has also claimed that the cable-laying process was delayed by one month due to the threat of piracy off the Somali coast.