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Interview with Tejpal Bedi, Managing Director at SEACOM East Africa

Tejpal Bedi

SEACOM is an undersea cable company that has been providing connectivity to East Africa since 2009. Initially, SEACOM focused on wholesale business, providing connectivity from the undersea cable to end-user enterprises, as well as satellite connectivity and fiber connectivity. However, since 2015, SEACOM has also been active in the enterprise space in Kenya and Uganda, particularly in the B2B market. Their primary business has been internet connectivity, but they have recently started to expand into value-added products and services, such as security and SD1 solutions, to help customers more than just with connectivity.

SEACOM’s impact on the East African internet landscape has been significant. The internet is the enabler for most businesses, and bringing the undersea cable system to East Africa has made it possible for the region to support CDNs, hyperscalers, and cloud providers. This has made a big impact on almost all sectors of the economy, driving economic growth in the region. However, SEACOM has faced several challenges in providing internet access and connectivity to East African countries. The biggest challenge has been navigating the different licensing regimes in different countries, as well as the government policies around internet access. Additionally, there have been cable cutting issues in some regions, which can cause connectivity problems.

Despite these challenges, SEACOM is continuously expanding its network by acquiring more fiber assets, such as the 200 km of metro fiber they acquired in Nairobi and the 800-plus km they acquired in Uganda from Evercel last year. SEACOM Business, their enterprise-focused business unit, provides a range of connectivity, cloud, and value-added services to businesses in East Africa. They work with a wide range of customers, from large banks and insurance companies to technology startups. SEACOM is also working on expanding its reach to more remote and rural areas in the region, planning to roll out more fiber and wireless services in 2023 and 2024 to reach more customers.

SEACOM’s undersea cable system provides high-speed connectivity to data centers, making it possible for businesses to take advantage of cloud services and other value-added services. The growing demand for streaming services is driving the need for high-speed internet connectivity, which is where SEACOM comes in. Their undersea cable system provides the high-speed connectivity that businesses and consumers need to access these services. SEACOM is constantly expanding their network and increasing capacity to meet that demand.

SEACOM stays ahead of the competition by continuously investing in their network and expanding their reach. They also work closely with their customers to understand their needs and develop solutions that meet those needs. SEACOM has recently started to expand their offerings beyond just connectivity, to include value-added products and services. They are excited to continue to play a key role in shaping the internet landscape in East Africa.

SEACOM East Africa is an undersea cable company that provides internet connectivity and other value-added products and services in East Africa. In an interview with Tejpal Bedi, Managing Director at SEACOM East Africa, he discussed SEACOM’s role and impact on the internet landscape in East Africa, its efforts to drive economic growth, the challenges faced in providing internet access and connectivity, and how SEACOM approaches expanding its reach and increasing internet access for communities and businesses in the region.

SEACOM has been active in East Africa since 2009, primarily focusing on wholesale business by providing connectivity from the undersea cable to end-user enterprises. Since 2015, SEACOM has also been active in the enterprise space in Kenya and Uganda, particularly in the B2B market. SEACOM’s primary business has been internet connectivity, but the company has recently started to expand into value-added products and services, such as security and SD1 solutions, to help customers more than just with connectivity.

SEACOM’s role in the region has been significant in enabling businesses to take advantage of cloud services, CDNs, and other value-added services. SEACOM has faced challenges in navigating different licensing regimes in different countries, government policies around internet access, and cable cutting issues in some regions. The fiber cuts do not happen as often these days as they did many years back. 

Even with the challenges, Mr Bedi said SEACOM is continuously expanding its network by acquiring more fiber assets, such as the 200 km of metro fiber acquired in Nairobi and the 800-plus km acquired in Uganda from Africell last year. When making this announcement last year, SEACOM said, “The acquisition goes hand in hand with our five-year strategy into expanding operations in the region. As such, we are very excited about having a greater local presence.”

As for the customers, most of them understand these challenges, especially the cable cuts.  “But again, it’s a work-in-progress. We’re a lot better than where we were last year. Most of the time customers are very understanding of the practical problems. As long as you have a plan to resolve which we have been doing, “ added Mr. Bedi.

On what impact video-on-demand services have, he said, “The growing demand for streaming services is driving the need for high-speed internet connectivity, which is where SEACOM comes in. SEACOM’s undersea cable system provides the high-speed connectivity that businesses and consumers need to access these services.” 

Concluding the interview, Mr. Bedi said SEACOM is continuously investing in its network and expanding its reach to more remote and rural areas in the region. For example, SEACOM is planning to roll out services in 2023 and 2024 to reach more customers. SEACOM is also working with partners to promote the growth of data centers in the region and offering new value-added products and services to stay ahead of the competition.  “We are always exploring new opportunities to expand our services and offer new value-added products. We are excited to continue to play a key role in shaping the internet landscape in East Africa,” he said. 

SEACOM East Africa’s impact on the internet landscape in East Africa has been significant. The company has enabled businesses to take advantage of cloud services and other value-added services, and its efforts to expand its reach to more remote and rural areas will further increase internet access for communities and businesses in the region.

Read: SEACOM Appoints Alpheus Mangale as New Group CEO

About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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