Algeria to have two new subsea cables by the end of the year

20 April 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

Algeria is set to be connected to two new submarine cables by the end of 2018 linking Algeria to the US and Spain.

Houda-Imane Faraoun, Algeria’s minister of post, telecommunications, technology and digital, while speaking to the member of the council of the nation said that Algeria’s existing international submarine cables “"will be reinforced, before the end of the year, by two new lines. The first connecting Algeria in Oran to Spain while the second link Annaba to an international cable linking a large number of capitals from America to Asia passing through the Mediterranean ".

As for the construction phase of work Faraoun said it “could be the most important factor as it may cause a reduction in traffic flow as well as other problems encountered during the maintenance process on either one of the two cables.” She added that “even if the maintenance work is not done in Algeria, the country will still suffer because of the lack of external cables,” but that the investment is “underway”.

The two new cables, the Alger-Oran-Valencia (Orval) and Annaba- USA, have been driven by the increased connectivity due to the growing number of subscribers and internet users in the country.  

"The Internet almost did not exist here while today Algeria has 3,166,000 subscribers, meaning 44% of citizens have fixed telephony,” continued Faraoun. "All the wilayas (provinces) in the country are covered despite the grey areas and more than 34,639,000 mobile lines existing in Algeria," adding that each Algerian has one or two chips each.

All these growing numbers rely on the country’s 81,000 km of optical fibre that was built by “Algerian companies since its creation in 2002," said Faraoun. “as well as "more than 21,000 km for the Sonelgaz and Sonatrach groups and the rail transport companies that Algerie Telecom uses in particular in the southern regions in order to open them up in the event of cuts ".

The news comes four months after Faraoun announced plans for the new subsea cable system. Back in December 2017 she was quoted as saying that the deal for the project deal "will be signed before the end of 2017".  At time she also said the new cable would terminate at the Algerian city of Annaba, alongside Sea-Me-We 4, which links Algeria to Marseille.