Mobily, Telecom Egypt sign Saudi to Egypt subsea cable MoU

Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Telecom Egypt for the construction of the first subsea cable directly connecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The MoU was signed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Salman Al-Badran, CEO of Mobily, and Adel Hamed, managing director and CEO of Telecom Egypt. The MoU is part of Mobliy’s efforts to enhance its global infrastructure, boost the digital economy and provide digital solutions that align with the goals of the government’s Saudi Vision 2030. 

Telecom Egypt has been a key partner for subsea cable projects globally, and has recently entered into an agreement to become a landing partner for Aqua Comms’ EMIC-1 cable project. Through this agreement, both companies will explore new ways to connect international capacity in Europe through Telecom Egypt’s network, to the GCC through Mobily’s network. Both companies’ networks will be expanded and interconnected with neighbouring countries. 

EllaLink International cable launched in Cape Verde

Following a 2018 agreement between Cape Verde Telecom and EllaLink in 2018, where the two agreed to deliver connectivity from Europe and Latin America to Cape Verde, the EllaLink International cable has been launched. The partnership has been supported by the European Bank of Investments and the local Government of Cape Verde and now Praia is connected directly and neutrally to Brazil and Europe.

This new cable offers the lowest latency available on the market, as well as a capacity of 30 Tbps, providing Cape Verde with the benefit of secure and optimised connectivity. The EllaLink connection between Latin America and Europe has reduced the latency between the two continents by close to 50%, from +100 milliseconds to circa 60 milliseconds compared to traditional routes.

The EllaLink subsea cable will additionally help strengthen the Cape Verde digital economy having connected Praia to three continents with neutrality and independence. DE-CIX in March confirmed plans to provide EllaLink with access to its interconnection ecosystem in Southern Europe, through their internet exchanges in Lisbon, Madrid and Marseille. The new system also creates opportunities for the country to increase the quality of the internet service offered to the country, and can be extended to all West Africa.

XL Axiata and PPTEL launch BaSIC subsea cable

The Batam Sarawak International Cable System (BaSIC) subsea cable has been launched and will strengthen internet connections between Batam, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi in Indonesia. The 700m system connects Sarawak, Malaysia and Batam, Indonesia, which is then connected via land cable to Pontianak in West Kalimantan. 

The project started in 2020 and became operational on 1 June 2022. This cable system is an additional alternative international gateway for Indonesia to Kuching, Sarawak and Hong Kong and supports XL Axiata’s efforts to add new upstream international capacity to Indonesia.

BaSIC will deliver 6 fibre pairs offering an initial capacity 2Tbs, which will be gradually increased until it arrives at a maximum capacity of 48Tbs. The project is part of XL Axiata’s mission to provide infrastructure for better global internet access as well as to support the Indonesian government’s goal to encourage the use of digital technology.

Kacific deploys 2,500 satellite services for rural Indonesia

Singapore-based satellite company Kacific has been working with Bis Data Indonesia and Primacom Interbuana and has completed deployment of over 2,500 sites for Bakti, the Indonesian government’s Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency. 

Bakti director of infrastructure Bambang Noegroho has stated that, “With this satellite connectivity project, we take a significant step forward to our goal of the equal distribution of information and communication technology, to strengthen national unity, fuel economic growth and strengthen national resilience for disasters and emergencies.”

Indonesia’s universal service has been the source of funds for the project with one of its major aims being the provision of public internet access, through satellite services, in areas that have little or no access to affordable internet service including border areas and places that are not considered economically viable by terrestrial service providers.

Kacific’s CEO Christian Patouraux stated, “Bakti’s project aligns with Kacific’s mission to bridge the digital divide by providing access to affordable, high-speed internet in the most remote and under-served areas.” While deploying sites at remote destinations in multiple islands throughout the length of Indonesia was logistically challenging, the Kacific sites allow Bakti to secure guaranteed bandwidth at every single site with each terminal achieving speeds of over 85Mbps.

Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 and payment of €50 million in ICT grant announced

The Irish Minister of Education, Norma Foley, announced the publication of the Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027 and the payment of €50 million in grant funding for digital technology infrastructure to recognised primary and post-primary schools.
The strategic objectives are set out under three pillars to ensure that the school system is prepared for and continues to apply digital technologies in teaching, learning, and assessment. The strategy has also addressed inclusion, supporting curricular reform, online safety, and technical support.

Next wave of digital outsourcing of white collar jobs starts

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Next wave of digital outsourcing of white collar jobs starts 3

The pandemic years set the stage for the next wave of digital outsourcing, which will mostly affect white-collar jobs.

First, remote working became the “new normal.” Second, many white-collar jobs, from office administration to legal help and design, have been digitalized via Zoom and other online collaboration platforms. Third, companies and organisations have accelerated the migration of their archives and operational assets to digital clouds.

The framework for the next wave of digital outsourcing has been set. According to the Economist, it has the potential to generate a half-trillion-dollar economy.

Digital outsourcing will happen in fast-changing circumstances with less input from Ukraine and Russia, important outsourcing and software development economies. Geopolitical tensions with China and ‘de-globalisation’ trends will affect the geography of outsourcing.

India will be the main winner of the new wave of digital outsourcing. Already, outsourcing makes up 5.6% of the Indian economy. However, it won’t be plain sailing for India’s outsourcing industry due to a few problems:

  • a push for outsourcing in the same region and time zone;
  • drive in many countries to reduce cross-border data flows, especially in critical and confidential domains;
  • protectionism and push for employing the local workforce.

In these circumstances, new possibilities for digital outsourcing will open for neighbouring regions to Europe (Balkans and Mediterranean)  and the United States (Central and South America).

Emerging influencer economy

Main brands are increasingly relying on influencers to be their ambassador.

China, where influencers became more prominent earlier than in Western countries, is estimated that influencers contribute 1.4% of the country’s GDP. The Economist explains how the rapid rise in economic importance of influencers opens many businesses, regulatory and policy issues.

Influencers are becoming a strong competitor for traditional brand ambassadors (actors and sportsmen, etc.).

Influencers have a greater impact on Gen-Z who will become the major consumers in the coming years.

China will regulate influencers’ economic and Internet roles. Other regulators have plans for influencers to indicate their posts in advertisements.

On the risk side, influencers could ‘cheapen’ some brands, such as Louis Vuitton.

For advertising companies, influencers are also more difficult than traditional brand ambassadors to manage and direct

Major brands will need more influencers to help them with their advertising campaigns, despite all possible difficulties.

What lessons can we learn from the (mis)use of cryptocurrencies in the Ukraine war?

  • In times of crisis, cryptocurrencies emerge as safe ways to store wealth along with gold or the Swiss Franc. For instance, the volume sold of bitcoins jumped tenfolds in Russia since the start of the war.
  • The effectiveness of cryptocurrencies in bypassing sanctions is less than it may be thought. Namely, cryptocurrencies lose their anonymity when they must be converted into FIAT currency (euro, USD or CHF). Crypto exchanges have to implement ‘know your customer’ (KYC) principle, the basis for anti-money-laundering regulations. The majority of crypto exchanges are located in the USA and must adhere to US sanctions laws.
  • The fastest and most efficient way to raise funds is through cryptocurrencies. The Ukrainian government raised over US$100 million using crypto tokens.

Next steps: Digital Watch provides more information and analysis about the Ukraine war and cryptocurrencies.

Major Internet bandwidth provider terminated services to Russia

Cogent Communications, which is estimated to carry 1/4 of the global Internet traffic, terminated access to major Russian internet service providers.

In justification, CEO Schaeffer said that “I can’t pick good Russian traffic from bad. It’s just a big pipe.”

This move will affect streaming services such as Netflix as Cognet Communication is specialised in providing high volume Internet traffic.

More information is available here.