France Telecom launches ACE submarine cable in 13 countries

Pascale Paoli-Lebailly | 21-12-2012

France Telecom-Orange and the other members of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium have announced that the ACE submarine cable is now operational for the first phase, linking France and Sao Tomé & Principe.

The cable, which will extend as far as South Africa for the second phase, provides connectivity to broadband Internet in Africa and will add extra capacity to existing international networks.
Nearly 12,000km of optical fibre running along the west coast of Africa has been deployed to connect 13 countries. Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, will also be connected through extensions to the terrestrial network. Finally, Nigeria will be connected to the cable in 2013.
Seven countries (The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tomé & Principe and Sierra Leone) will benefit from a direct connection to a submarine cable, enabling them to enjoy optimal access to the international broadband network.
The commissioning of this first phase marks the beginning of the deployment plan for the ACE submarine cable, which will ultimately run for approximately 17,000km. Seven additional countries will be connected in the second phase.
The telecoms operators in these countries will then be able to develop broadband services that are essential to their economic and social development.
Through links to other submarine cables, ACE also provides an additional western route for traffic between Europe and Asia via Africa.
The cable's construction amounts to a total investment of around $700 million from the consortium, with around $250 million financed by France Telecom and its African subsidiaries.