Magazine article New African

Gambia, to Host Launching of Europe to Africa Submarine Cable

Magazine article New African

Gambia, to Host Launching of Europe to Africa Submarine Cable

Article excerpt

THE GAMBIA, A SMALL STATE on the western tip of Africa will host the launching of one of the most ambitious telecommunications projects in Africa. On [19.sup.th] December, some 500 international policy-makers, regulators, operators, vendors and service providers from across the world converged in The Gambia for the historic launching of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable.

ACE, initiated by France Telecom-Orange, is a consortium of 19 telecom operators from Africa and Europe under the initiative and leadership of France Telecom. The US$700 million, 17,000km long fibre optic submarine cable, will stretch from France to South Africa connecting 23 countries and thereby linking Europe to Africa through unprecedented connectivity.

Yves Ruggeri, the chairman of ACE and CEO of France Telecom, told New African magazine: "This is a historic development and milestone in the transformation and advancement of telecommunication in Africa. The system will use the most advanced high-speed broadband fibre optic technology and will be a vector of social development and economic growth in Africa, reducing the digital divide. The ACE submarine cable will connect 23 countries directly for coastal countries and indirectly through terrestrial links for landlocked countries like Mali and Niger. ACE connectivity will become a key driver of Africa's social and economic growth."

Mr Ruggeri Telecom explained that the system has a design capacity of 5.12 Tbps and supported by the new 40 Gbps wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology that would accommodate futures ultra-broadband networks. He said ACE deployed the latest fibre optic technology developed by Alcatel-Lucent. Fiber optic offers better high-speed broadband Internet quality than satellite and at a lower cost. The ACE cable will extend over 17,000 km from Penmarch in Brittany, France, to Cape Town in South Africa, at depths dose to 6,000 metres below sea level.

Its wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology will make it possible to increase its capacity according to various needs and to the latest technological improvements by upgrading station equipment without any submarine cable modifications. With a potential capacity of 5.12 Tbps made possible by the new 40 Gbps technology, ACE will be able to evolve with new technological developments using regular upgrades. …

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