Written by Michael Malakata 15.04.2010 | IDG News Service After several delays, the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSY) project has come closer to completion following the landing of the cable in Tanzania. EASSY is expected to provide competition to the Seacom cable upon completion in the end of June this year. EASSY will be the largest submarine cable serving sub-Saharan Africa, connecting nine countries along the east coast and unlike other cables providing onward connectivity to Europe, the America, the Middle East and Asia. The cable that was brought ashore last week is connected to the Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel) landing station in Tanzania and will interconnect with domestic and international networks. The landing of the cable further serves to raise the overall broadband capacity for the east and southern African region and is expected to bring down the cost of broadband services. The landing of the cable in Tanzania comes only two weeks after the cable landed in Kenya. The cable is also expected to connect landlocked member countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana. Until recently, the east coast of African was the longest coastline in the world without access to reliable, high-speed Internet and international connectivity via optic-fiber submarine cables. The region now has three undersea cables including the Teams and Seacom cables that provides connectivity to the Middle East and Europe. Chris Wood, CEO of the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), the largest investor in the EASSY project, said the landing of the cable will improve Tanzania's connectivity across the east Africa region and to the rest of the World. He said the cable will bring telecommunication development in Africa, positioning Africa on a par with other developed nations. "We expect that internet connection costs would drastically come down with increased competition in tandem with international standards," Wood said. Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Director General John Nkoma said the agency has put structures in place to ensure a business-friendly environment that will enable startups to enter the communications sector. EASSY is a critical element in Tanzania's strategy to improve communications and broaden access to information throughout the country as well as neighboring countries in order to support business growth. Zambia is connecting to the cable through Tanzania. Zantel, a local telecom company and EASSY shareholder that is hosting the landing station, said various mechanisms have been put in place to encourage competition, such as ensuring that the capacity of the cable is available on an "open access" basis. Wood said the project continues to run as planned, with nearly 90 percent of the cable now laid in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Testing is expected to start at the end of the month, in readiness for the System Ready for Service date of June 30.