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Liquid looks to 'cloudify' Africa

Liquid looks to 'cloudify' Africa

Pan-African telecommunications and network services provider Liquid Telecom has confirmed aggressive investment in cloud and digital services – this as the company announced the successful reopening of its bond to international markets (having issued its primary bond in August) to secure an additional US$180m for network expansion and investment.

Speaking from AfricaCom 2017, Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, said he was pleased to see that international markets are eager to support African companies and investment in infrastructure and digital services across the continent.

"We think the confidence of investors also validates the strategy which we have adopted, which is to expand and build out our fibre network across our footprint in 14 countries now, and working on expanding that geographical reach further. But the building of the network is not an end to itself, we've always built the network with the aim in mind of bringing new digital services to the continent, and in particular cloud services," said Rudnick.

This is reflected in the company's increasing relationship with Microsoft.

To this end Liquid Telecom has been appointed as a cloud services provider and one of a limited number of ExpressRoute providers, meaning it can start taking pre-orders for ExpressRoute customers linking enterprise customers directly in the Microsoft cloud, and making Azure, Office365 and a range of Microsoft service available across the continent.

The rollout of these services will be on a country-by-country basis.

The company's announcement of enhanced digital services to Africa also covers the expansion of its datacentres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Rudnick also confirmed that the company had commenced with the build out of the third phase of its datacentre operation in Kenya.

While the company acknowledged socio-political challenges in regions like Zimbabwe, it remains confident in the country and the intention is to continue to actively invest.

"For the first time cloud will start becoming a meaningful way of people accessing services. Billing for all of these services will be local and will be bundled with their connectivity, so it will become easier and easier - not just from a connectivity point of view and from a quality point of view, but also from the ability to access and pay for these services on a commercial basis," said Rudnick.

"We are investing heavily in the cloud and we now firmly of the belief that the cloud is now liquid," said Rudnick.

The company also highlighted its continental distribution agreement with on-demand media platform Kwese Media, incorporating Netflix, to bundle on-demand media services to consumers. The plan is to have services available by year-end.

Huawei partnership

Liquid Telecom has also partnered with multinational ICT solutions provider Huawei to deliver 100G upgrades to its network in South Africa.

The upgrade to 100G wavelengths will take advantage of the latest DWDM technology from Huawei, enabling Liquid Telecom to offer additional capacity, faster speeds and greater redundancy to customers across South Africa.

The first phase of the project will see Liquid Telecom deploy Huawei's OptiX OSN Solution along 1200km of its long-haul network connecting Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The 100G link will support growing demand for cloud-based services and provide customers with high-speed access to Liquid Telecom's data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which are currently undergoing major expansions to meet the needs of global cloud players and enterprise customers.

In the second and third phase of the project, the DWDM core network will be extended to the north west then north east regions of South Africa, providing more enterprise and wholesale customers in South Africa with high bandwidth connectivity.

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