The African Coast to Europe submarine communications cable, or ACE, is a cable system along the west coast of Africa between France and South Africa managed by a consortium of 17 operators headed by French telecommunications corporation Orange.
The cable is manufactured by Alcatel Submarine Networks and was laid by ships from Alcatel and France Telecom Marine. The first phase of the 17,000-kilometer (10,563-mile) fiber optic cable went into service Dec. 15, 2012, with an inauguration ceremony in Banjul, The Gambia.
The ACE Cable will eventually connect 23 countries, either directly for coastal countries or through land links for landlocked countries, such as Mali and Niger.
ACE is the first international submarine cable to land in Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe and Sierra Leone.
French telecommunications corporation Orange together with the other members of the ACE submarine communications cable consortium, announced the launch of the ACE cable in Cotonou, Benin and Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.
The connection of these two stations is part of the second phase of deployment of ACE — the African Coast to Europe submarine communications cable — which now serves 18 countries including 13 in Africa: France, Portugal, the Canary Islands (Spain), Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, are connected via a terrestrial extension. The ACE cable, which expands broadband Internet access in Africa and provides additional capacity to existing national networks, will cover 17,000 kilometers (10,563 miles) and will be extended to South Africa by the end of the second phase.
Branches are planned in order to connect Cameroon, which just signed the agreement that formalizes its entry into the ACE consortium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Namibia.
Since the first phase was launched in December 2012, seven of the connected countries – Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Sierra Leone – have had a direct connection to a submarine cable for the first time, enabling them to access the international broadband network in an optimal manner.
To carry out this ambitious project, Orange, together with its subsidiaries Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel, combined forces with other major partners to form an international consortium.
Beyond the connectivity between Africa and Europe, thanks to interconnections with other submarine cables, ACE constitutes another route to the Americas and Asia for Africa. Moreover, ACE is an alternative for network traffic between Europe and Asia going through Africa. The cable also diversifies transmission arteries between Portugal and France.
The cable’s construction amounts to a total investment of around $700 million for the consortium, with around $250 million financed by the group and its subsidiaries.
This major investment furthers two of Orange’s strategic objectives: to provide widespread access to the Internet in the more than 20 African countries where the group is present and to continue to improve the quality of its network service. Through the development of its submarine networks, Orange is contributing to the development of a high quality worldwide network to help service the ever increasing volumes of data being exchanged.
Read more at ITNewsAfrica.
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