France Telecom-Orange along with its other partners in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium yesterday Thursday announced in Banjul The Gambia that the first phase of the ACE submarine cable linking France and Sao Tome and Principe is now operational.
At a total investment around$700 million with about $250million taken up by the Group, some 12,000 km of optical fibre have been deployed to connect 13 countries from France to Sao Tome & Principe.
Of these, seven (Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania and Sao Tome & Principe) will be connected to a high-speed internet line for the first time.
Nigeria will be connected in 2013, as will landlocked, Mali and Niger, who will be connected through extensions to the terrestrial network. According to the press release “The commissioning of this first phase marks the beginning of the deployment plan for the ACE submarine cable, which will ultimately run for a total of approximately 17,000 km. Seven additional countries will be connected in the second phase.”
The release noted that “To carry out this ambitious project, France Telecom-Orange, together with its subsidiaries C?te d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel, have combined forces with other major partners to form an international consortium.”
“Through links to other submarine cables, ACE also provides an additional western route for traffic between Europe and Asia via Africa. ACE, for example, offers an alternative and secure route for communications to countries already connected to the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable linking Portugal and Malaysia. Finally, the cable also diversifies transmission arteries between Portugal and France.”
ACE relies on what is currently the most advanced technology used for submarine cables: wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). With WDM, cable capacity can be increased without additional submarine work. Overall capacity will be boosted to 5.12 Tbps using the new 40 Gbps technology, which supports ultra-high speed broadband networks.”
“This major investment furthers two strategic objectives of France Telecom-Orange: to provide widespread access to the internet in the more than twenty African countries where the Group is present and to continue to improve the quality of service provided by the network in all of its subsidiaries.”