African fiber infrastructure is having quite a week. Following quickly on the heels of Liquid Telecom's completed east-west route across central Africa, Orange has announced plans at AfricaCom to build out some significant fiber of its own in West Africa.
The plans call for a combination of subsea and terrestrial routes from Senegal through to Nigeria. The terrestrial component starts in Dakar (Senegal) and heads east via two diverse routes through Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and then south to the ports of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Accra (Ghana). The subsea component will leverage the recently enhanced MainOne cable system along the coast, also connecting up Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia), and Lagos (Nigeria) and providing links onward to Europe and to South Africa.
The details of what they are building and what existing infrastructure might already be in place aren't completely clear from the announcement. But the end result will be a wide range of international connectivity services, from private line to Ethernet and layer 2 VPN. Orange has local operations in 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East that generate some €5.2B in annual revenue while serving some 125M people.
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