The continent of Africa has gained yet another major submarine cable connection, as France Telecom-Orange and its consortium partners have officially brought the Africa Coast to Europe cable system online at a ceremony in The Gambia. The fiber itself has been in place for months, but now the whole thing is ready to roll.
ACE’s 12,000km of fiber now connects France to no less than thirteen countries along the West African coast, plus terrestrial extensions into the landlocked nations of Mali and Niger and with another hookup for Nigeria planed for next year. For seven of those countries (The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tomé & Principe and Sierra Leone), it will be the first direct connectivity to the internet they have ever had.
With 40Gbps technology it’s theoretical capacity will reach 5.12Tbps, although they’re not starting off that big right away. The construction cost about $700M, more than a third of which came from the French. Orange has many subsidiaries sprinkled across the French speaking parts of the continent, and thus a vested interest in connecting them up.
Western Africa has seen its bandwidth options grow by leaps and bounds with WACS, MainOne, and GLO-1 online, and several projects planned for spanning the South Atlantic underway. One of those projects, Angola’s 6,000km African Telecommunications cable connecting Luanda to Fortaleza, was officially launched earlier this week with completion projected for the end of 2014.
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