Construction agreement signed for the Africa Coast to Europe submarine cable

JUNE 8, 2010 -- The 20 members of the ACE consortium have signed an agreement for the construction and maintenance of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable, which will run between France and South Africa.

JUNE 8, 2010 -- The 20 members of the ACE consortium have signed an agreement for the construction and maintenance of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable, which will run between France and South Africa.

ACE consortium members include France Telecom, Baharicom Development Company Ltd., Benin Telecoms, Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicacoes, Expresso Telecom Group, Gamtel, International Mauritania Telecom, Cable Consortium of Liberia Inc., Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunications, Orange Cameroon, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, Portugal Telecom, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone Cable Ltd., Sonatel, and Sotelgui.

The ACE cable will reduce the cost of access to international telecommunications networks, thereby removing a major barrier to the Internet's development in Africa, says France Telecom. An official ceremony was held at the Eiffel tower on June 5 to mark the signature of the contract, chaired by Stéphane Richard, CEO of France Telecom.

In its planned configuration, the 17,000 km-long fiber-optic cable will be operational in the first half of 2012. It will connect 23 countries, either directly in the case of coastal countries or indirectly for landlocked countries. With an overall potential capacity of 5.12 Tbps, the system is designed to migrate to the new 40-Gbps technology as well.

This will be the first international submarine cable to land in Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. For Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Cameroon, which are already connected to the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable (also co-owned by France Telecom-Orange), ACE will secure communications traffic while providing the additional capacity necessary for future growth.

ACE will also provide the France Telecom-Orange's subsidiaries in eastern Africa and Réunion with an alternative for routing telecommunications traffic (voice and data) to Europe via western Africa. The northern segment of the cable will also diversify transmission arteries between France and Portugal.

The cable's construction represents an overall investment of around $700 million for the consortium, of which around $250 million will be supported by France Telecom-Orange and its subsidiaries.


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