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Byron Clatterbuck | CEO | Seacom

SEACOM: Providing High-Quality Communications and Cloud Solutions

The internet is everywhere! This small sentence is momentous in itself. In present times, a life without the internet seems to be a challenging one. And in the business world, every industry relies heavily on it. From the need for primary data access, support for CRM systems, and email, to linking public and private networks, it’s hard to imagine a working environment without a high-speed internet connection. However, a few years back, this was not the case in a country like South Africa.
In the early 2000s, South Africa had only one high-speed cable that physically linked it to Europe. While the internet was mostly distributed via satellite, exorbitant prices hindered businesses from reaching their full potential.
As a result, no one fully understood the untapped potential of the internet for Africa and what it could do to help develop economies and societies. Furthermore, even the limited international connectivity to the global internet was throttled because there was no domestic terrestrial data infrastructure supporting it.
Realizing the need for a new high-speed cable system to connect Southern and Eastern Africa to Europe and Asia, SEACOM Founder, Brian Herlihy put together a group of private investors and initiated a construction project to connect 17,000 km of subsea cables from South Africa, the East Coast of Africa, the Red Sea, Egypt, and Europe, as well as a connection between Africa and India.
With this project, SEACOM connected Africa to the rest of the world, which in turn, has driven innovation, business growth, and overall economic development.
Today, SEACOM is the preferred infrastructure partner for African businesses, network carriers, and service providers. It delivers a comprehensive suite of high-quality, versatile, mobile, and cloud communications technologies that allow service providers and organisations to prosper. Being privately owned and operated, SEACOM develops tailor-made offerings, and deploys new services, commercial models, and infrastructure in response to customer requirements, without the red tape or hidden charges.
Taking on the Challenges
Herlihy approached SEACOM’s founding shareholders with a vision to connect Africa with the rest of the world. Utilising his knowledge and infrastructure development, he was successful in obtaining the funding to set project SEACOM into motion.
However, the project didn’t come without certain risks. Constructing the first private cable system in Africa was a challenging task. SEACOM had to take account of all landing sites and jurisdictions required to connect the physical cable. It took two years for SEACOM to complete the whole development.
Phase one of the project focused on building the physical SEACOM subsea cable system and plugging it into all the major carriers and thereby offering wholesalers lower rates with higher capacity connectivity.
Phase two was converting this single international subsea cable system into a data network service provider. This setup routed customer data traffic on multiple terrestrial and global subsea cable systems.
In Phase three, SEACOM business was launched with the ability to sell high-speed, reliable data network capabilities directly to companies across Africa.
A Team that Delivers
SEACOM attributes its success to the team responsible for understanding the customer’s business requirements and developing personalised solutions. “I think our focus on our customers and their needs has been a major contributor to our success. Early on, we were good at identifying a gap in the market and filling it with products designed by qualified, experienced people, who share a common vision,” says SEACOM CEO, Byron Clatterbuck.
Industry Recognition
On its journey of connecting the world, SEACOM was destined to receive many industry-wide recognitions. Some of these include:

  • 2013 – Best Network Improvement runner-up awarded to SEACOM for its African Ring Product, which combines both West Coast (WACs) & East Coast (SEACOM) connectivity into a bundled offering.
  • 2013 – Winner of Best Pan-African Initiative awarded to SEACOM, and it’s IP/MPLS network.
  • 2013 – Winner of Best Connectivity Solution for Africa awarded to SEACOM for its Remote Peering Service.
  • 2019 – Solver, Inc. 2019 BI360 Customer Innovation Award winner.

Connecting the Future
As businesses will continue to rely on high-speed and reliable data connectivity, SEACOM plans to invest in certain markets. South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and many more are the focus markets for expanding into the corporate and enterprise segments. “We believe that there is plenty of growth in these markets going forward, due to the nature of their ecosystems and their hunger for using the Internet to facilitate the growth of local businesses,” says Clatterbuck.
He concludes by saying, “We continue to invest in terrestrial fiber rollouts and expanding data connectivity to the customer premises, driven by the latest infrastructure and technology. Yet, innovation not only stems from the physical infrastructure, but also from providing your customers with exceptional customer experience and digitalisation. We are still on a journey to always improve our customers’ experience – and we believe that this will secure the future growth of businesses across Africa.”
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