Djibouti is one of 23 countries expected to join the information and communications technology (ICT) broadband infrastructure project that is being facilitated by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). This would involve the sinking of a 9,900-km submarine cable, the Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy) cable, along the African coast from South Africa to Sudan. The EASSy network will connect the countries of eastern Africa to the rest of the world via a high-bandwidth fibre-optic cable system. The countries involved hope that it will reduce their dependence on expensive satellite systems to carry voice and data services. The project is funded by the World Bank and the Development Bank of South Africa. The process of organising the signing of the detailed protocol started in South Africa on October 17th and will continue until the end of November, after which it is hoped that a project steer-ing group will be established to fast-track the implementation of the project.