The African continent moved a step closer to receiving more bandwidth and capacity redundancy on Monday, when the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) submarine cable landed at the submarine cable station of Penmarc’h, Brittany. Due to be operational in the second half of 2012, the 17,000km cable provides more connectivity between Europe, Africa and Asia.
The cable will provide broadband access to Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sierra Leone, while landlocked countries such as Mali and Niger will also be connected via the terrestrial network.
Also, ACE will provide an alternative route for communications to countries already connected to the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable linking Portugal to Malaysia, which runs along the west coast of Africa.
By connecting with other submarine cables, ACE will also provide an alternative western route for traffic between Europe and Reunion as well as operations in Africa and the Indian Ocean. At the Penmarc’h station, ACE is connected to Sea-Me-We 3, the world’s longest cable, which links Europe to Japan and Australia via India.
ACE relies on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), with 40Gbps technology boosting overall capacity to 5.12Tbps.
The cable owner is a consortium, comprising France Telecom, together with its subsidiaries Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel. With interconnections to the operator’s other submarine cable stations via Penmarc’h and the France Telecom-Orange national network. The cable’s construction represents an overall investment of around $700m for the consortium, of which around $250m will come from the group and its subsidiaries.