The ACE consortium has announced the start of the next phase of the ACE submarine cable system to expand broadband connectivity and digital services in Africa.
For phase II, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system is being extended to South Africa in a 5,000km extension from the island of Sao Tomé & Principe, in the Gulf of Guinea. This will further strengthen the role ACE is playing in critical infrastructure development in the continent.
Currently, the ACE cable system uses 12,000km of fibre optic cable to connect 18 countries. Among them are 13 coastal African countries – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, São Tomé & Príncipe, Senegal and Sierra Leone – and a further 2 landlocked countries connected via a terrestrial extension (Mali and Niger).
When Phase II is completed, ACE will cover a total distance of 17,000km and will allow up to 25 countries to access high speed internet. By using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), the ACE’s capacity can be increased as and when it is needed without additional submarine work being required. Overall capacity will be boosted to 12.8Tbps using 100-Gbps technology, which supports high-capacity networks.
The consortium has invested around US$700 million in the construction of the cable, which includes US$250 million from the Orange Group and its subsidiaries.