Algeria goes live with $32m Medex branch cable

19 February 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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The government of Algeria has launched its $32 million branch subsea cable called Medex, connecting the country to international data markets.

A joint project between PCCW Global and Algerie Telecom who also operate the branch cable, Algeria has connected its existing optical-fibre network to the subsea cable giving it connections to US and Asia, across the Mediterranean

Medex joins up with TE North/TGN-Eurasia/SEACOM/Alexandros, a 3,634km cable system that lands in Abu Talat, EgyptMarseille, FrancePentaskhinos, Cyprusand now Annaba, Algeria.  Medex was built and installed by Alcatel-Lucent, the branch cable has a total length of 184km.

The entire system is consortium led, owned by Telecom Egypt, Cyta, SEACOM, Tata Communications and now PCCW Global and Algerie Telecom. 

The news follows an announcement by 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”.

During the launch ceremony in Annaba Minister Faraoun said that the 8Tbps cable will enable "the country to become a continental hub and a digital portal at the African level in terms of ICT". She added that the system will "strengthen the country’s position as a hub of the ICT sectors. This will allow the national network of the Internet to be completely secure thanks to three different sea cables.”

As per minster Faraoun’s announcement made last year Medex is one of two new subsea cable systems the other called ORVAL is already well underway and due to go live later this year.

The 1,160km system will connect Algiers and Oran in Algeria to Valencia, Spain. Works on the Algerian side of the project has already been completed, while construction on the Spanish side reportedly began last week. 

The system will offer an initial bandwidth of 400Gbps that can be upgraded to 10Tbps and will cost the Algerian government close to $30 million. Minister Faraoun believes that the new system will create more competition for fixed and mobile telephony customers in the country.