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ACE: By 2011, A Submarine Fiber Optic Cable from France, Along Africa’s West Coast, to South Africa

December 30, 2009

 

ACE provides more benefits for countries that are expected to gain connection from it. For Countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which do not currently have any cable landing or access to a submarine cable, ACE will provide a direct access to broadband connectivity. ACE’s impact on the economies of these countries will be significant, as a direct access to broadband by those countries connected will set the foundation for their digital revolution.

TeleGeography, an undersea fiber optic research firm, reported earlier this year that there are 93 submarine cables in the world and 28 others are being planned to be implemented by 2011. Africa currently has 32 of those submarine fiber optic cables, several of which are situated along the West Coast where Liberia is situated. In addition, several more planned new installations and discussions are in the pipeline for implementation along the West African Coast.

 

The ACE Project:  Time to Prepare for Liberia’s Digital Revolution

As 2011 Brings Connection To Submarine Fiber Optic Cable
Science & Technology
By:
Darren Wilkins

We have come to end of yet another year, a year (2009), that brought many innovations and new developments in the area of Information and Communications Technologies. In the global community, we heard about Cloud computing, smart phones, mobile technologies, social networks, etc. In Liberia, we heard about the drafting of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy document, the opening of new ICT schools/ institutions, new accomplishments made by LIBTELCO, a new administration at the Liberian Telecommunications Authority (LTA), the introduction/implementation of the ATM machine, mobile technologies, and lots of new developments that have enhanced ICT penetration in Liberia. Indeed, Liberia has come a long way.

As we enter 2010, we do so with hope in anticipation of more new developments in the area of ICT. We also expect several political activities as we subsequently roll over to the year 2011, when general elections are scheduled to be held. But not only will 2011 be another historic year for Liberian politics, it will also be a historic year for Information and Communications Technologies penetration in Liberia; it is when the country is expected to be linked to a submarine fiber optic cable through the Africa Coast to Europe (to be referred to hereafter as ACE) project.

The ACE submarine communications cable is a planned cable system along the West Coast of Africa with connection between France and South Africa. Countries that to benefit from ACE include: France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Canary Islands (Spain), Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. This submarine cable system is expected to be more than 14,000 km long, and will be operational in 2011 with a minimum capacity of 1.92 Tbit/s. ACE comes with Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) which works seamlessly with existing submarine cables.

ACE has a consortium of financiers consisting of seventeen telecommunications operators. These operators include: Benin Telecoms SA, Camtel, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicações, Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, France Télécom, Gamtel, Maroc Telecom, Mauritano-Tunisienne des Télécommunications, Orange Bissau, Orange Cameroun, Orange Guinée, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, Orange Spain, Portugal Telecom, Sonatel and Togo Telecom). The ACE consortium currently serves as joint owners of the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE and the Atlantis submarine cables.

Compared to the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE , ACE provides more benefits for countries that are expected to gain connection from it. For Countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which do not currently have any cable landing or access to a submarine cable, ACE will provide a direct access to broadband connectivity. ACE’s impact on the economies of these countries will be significant, as a direct access to broadband by those countries connected will set the foundation for their digital revolution. Countries that are using the notorious SAT3/WASC/SAFE submarine cable will have ACE as an alternative route which will give them a higher level of redundancy in the event the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE fails as it did earlier in 2009.

TeleGeography, an undersea fiber optic research firm, reported earlier this year that there are 93 submarine cables in the world and 28 others are being planned to be implemented by 2011. Africa currently has 32 of those submarine fiber optic cables, several of which are situated along the West Coast where Liberia is situated. In addition, several more planned new installations and discussions are in the pipeline for implementation along the West African Coast.

As we await the ACE Project for connection to a submarine fiber optic cable, the year 2010 must be a year for ICT capacity building. It is time to start preparing for Liberia’s digital revolution!

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