On November 27, 2008, France Telecom-Orange signed a memorandum of understanding leading up to the installation of a submarine fibre-optic cable that will provide over 20 countries within the West African coastal region with internet access.
This 12,000 km cable, called ACE (Africa Coast to Europe), will extend from Gabon to France, and from 2011 will connect Gabon, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France. An extension to South Africa is also being studied.
For this project, France Telecom and its subsidiaries Côte d'Ivoire Telecom, Orange Bissau, Orange Cameroun, Orange Guinée, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, Orange Spain and Sonatel have teamed up with numerous international operators.
This new cable will benefit from the latest high-performance technology currently used in submarine cables, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), and will operate perfectly alongside existing systems. It will contribute to the development of telecommunications networks, a determining factor in West Africa's socio-economic development. Thanks to this new submarine cable, internet-based services will benefit from excellent international connectivity.
France Telecom, which operates in 15 African countries, is already co-owner of several submarine cables in this part of the world: Sat3-Wasc-Safe, one of the longest in the world linking Portugal to Malaysia down the West coast of Africa, and Atlantis 2 linking Portugal to Argentina via Senegal.
With this new cable, France Telecom-Orange will be helping reduce the digital divide and bring solutions to improve the daily lives of the people it reaches.