ACE launches in 13 countries

The Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) cable is now operational in 13 countries.

Almost 12,000km of fibre-optic cable was used for the first phase of the deployment, linking between France and Sao Tomé & Principe.

Of the 13 countries, seven will receive direct submarine cable connectivity for the first time: The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tomé & Principe and Sierra Leone.

This will enable local operators to develop broadband services essential for economic and social development, according to France Telecom, the leader of the ACE consortium.

The cable also directly connects Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Cóte d’Ivoire, Gabon, France and Portugal with terrestrial links to landlocked Mali and Niger.

Further connection to Nigeria is planned for 2013, while the second phase of the deployment will connect another seven countries: Canary Islands (Spain), Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

France Telecom, the leader of the ACE cable consortium, said that the link would also improve connectivity for multinational companies operating subsidiaries in the countries and allow them to develop value-added services like unified communications.

The cable will provide an alternative western route for traffic between Europe and Asia via Africa and offer additional diversity between Portugal and France.

ACE utilises 40Gbps wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology with an overall capacity of 5.12Tbps.

Construction of the cable was financed by a $700 million investment from the consortium and $250 million from France Telecom and its subsidiaries.