Alcatel-Lucent extends WACS cable

The West Africa Cable System (WACS), under construction and lined up for launch in 2011, is gaining an extension from Portugal to the UK.

The new section of the submarine network will span over 2,000km, following successful field trials using Alcatel-Lucent’s 40Gbps technology. WACS will also link South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands.

“The African continent is still yearning for affordable connectivity,” said Kobus Stoeder, chairman of the WACS consortium management committee. “Alcatel-Lucent’s 40G solution meets our requirements for multi-vendor compatibility, network availability and traffic protection to deliver high-service reliability.”

Philippe Dumont, head of network submarine activity at Alcatel-Lucent, added: “As traffic grows, service providers need to optimise their networks in support of end-users’ bandwidth demands for broadband services. Our newest 40G technology, combined with our leading-edge protection capabilities, will accelerate the provisioning of connectivity and enhanced network resilience so that end users can enjoy the best experience possible.”

Comprised of 12 telecoms operators, including Telecom Namibia, MTN and Congo Telecom, the WACS consortium will provide submarine cable access to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and the Republic of Congo for the first time. Alcatel-Lucent struck a $600 million deal with the WACS consortium in April 2009.