JOHANNESBURG: THE Africa Coast to Europe (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 this phase, which is the second, the submarine cable system is being extended to South Africa.
The 5 000km extension from island of Sao Tomé and Principe, in the Gulf of Guinea, to South Africa will further strengthen the role ACE is playing in critical infrastructure development in the continent. Today, nearly 12 000km of fiber optic cable are already used to connect a number of countries countries, namely France, Portugal, the Canary Islands (Spain), Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, are connected via a terrestrial extension.
When the phase is completed, ACE will cover a total distance of 17 000km. This will enable up to 25 countries to access high speed internet. ACE uses the most advanced high-speed broadband fiber optic technology; wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) allows the capacity to be increased as and when it is needed without additional submarine work being required. Overall capacity will be boosted to 12.8 Tbps using 100-Gbps technology, which supports high-capacity networks. The consortium has invested around US$700 million in the construction of the cable.