ACE, the Africa Coast to Europe submarine cable to be operational in the second half of 2012, landed today at the submarine cable station of Penmarc'h, Brittany. The 17,000 km cable provides broadband internet capacity in Africa, an additional layer of security for communications between Europe, Africa and Asia, and it will meet capacity requirements for years to come.
The ACE cable will provide access to the global broadband network for the first time for Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sierra Leone, making possible the launch of new services. Landlocked countries such as Mali and Niger will also be connected via the terrestrial network.
ACE will provide an alternative route for communications to countries already connected to the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable linking Portugal to Malaysia, which runs along the west coast of Africa.
Through links to other submarine cables, ACE will also provide an alternative western route for traffic between Europe and Reunion as well as the Group's subsidiaries in Africa and the Indian Ocean. ACE will also diversify transmission arteries between France and Portugal.
To carry out this ambitious project, France Telecom SA, together with its subsidiaries Côte d'Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel, have combined forces with a number of other major partners as part of an international consortium.
A key component of the Group's global broadband network
At the Penmarc'h station, ACE is connected to Sea-Me-We 3, the world's longest cable. The Group is co-owner of this cable, which links Europe to Japan and Australia via India. With interconnections to the Group's other submarine cable stations via Penmarc'h and the France Telecom-Orange national network, ACE will be in a position to offer greater connectivity, especially with the United States via the transatlantic cables.
ACE relies on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), currently the most advanced technology for submarine cables. With WDM, cable capacity can be increased without additional submarine work. The new 40 Gbps technology supporting the ultra-broadband networks will boost overall capacity to 5.12 Tbps.
The cable's construction represents an overall investment of around USD 700 million for the consortium, of which around USD 250 million will come from the Group and its subsidiaries. This major investment furthers two strategic objectives of France Telecom-Orange: to provide widespread Internet access to African countries where the Group is present and to further develop the service quality of the Group's international network. Through cables such as ACE, the Group is able to provide high-end connectivity in Africa and to offer a range of innovative services to support the continent's economic and social development.