Orange has launched the ACE cable in Cotonou, Benin and Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain as part of its second phase of deployment of the ACE submarine cable, which now serves 18 countries: 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 kilometres and will be extended to South Africa by the end of the second phase and later connect Cameroon, 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.
Some of the partners Orange is working with include Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel among others. Apart from the Africa-Europe route, ACE constitutes another route to the Americas and Asia for Africa and is an alternative for network traffic between Europe and Asia going through Africa and diversifies transmission arteries between Portugal and France.
ACE relies on what is currently the most advanced technology used for submarine cables: wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). With WDM, cable capacity can be increased without additional submarine work. Overall capacity will be boosted to 12.8 Tbps using 100-Gbps technology, which supports high-capacity networks.
The cable’s construction amounts to a total investment of around USD 700 million for the consortium, with around USD 250 million financed by the Group and its subsidiaries in a move to provide widespread access to the internet in the more than twenty African countries where the Group is present and to continue to improve the quality of its network service.