20 Operators Team With Alcatel-Lucent to Bring Fast, Lower-Cost Broadband Connectivity in Africa With a New 17,000 km Submarine System

With Built-in 40 Gbit/s Capability, ACE Will Link 23 Countries From South Africa to France, Providing Some of Them With Direct Access to the Global Network for the First Time

Jun 08, 2010, 08:59 ET from Alcatel-Lucent

PARIS, June 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) has signed a turnkey contract valued at over 500 million US dollars with Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), a newly formed consortium composed of 20 operators linking Cape Town in South Africa to Penmarch in France via a submarine cable network. This new submarine network system, with built-in 40 Gbit/s capability, will span over 17,000 km and will deliver super fast broadband communications to and from the African continent and Europe.

Upon expected commercial service in the first half of 2012, this network will bring broadband optical data connectivity for the first time to the people of Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. It will also provide a higher level of service and traffic protection in the region by featuring Alcatel-Lucent's technology advancements in next-generation coherent technology, including innovations from Bell Labs, to deal with transmission impairments in a cost-effective and automated manner.

Initiated and headed by France Telecom-Orange, the consortium is composed of twenty parties: Baharicom Development Company, Benin Telecoms, Cable Consortium of Liberia, Orange Cameroun, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicacoes, Cote d'Ivoire Telecom Expresso Telecom Group, France Telecom, Gambia Telecommunications Company, International Mauritania Telecom, Office Congolais des Postes et Telecommunication, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, PT Comunicacoes, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, Sierra Leone Cable, Societe des Telecommunications de Guinee and Sonatel.

With an ultimate design capacity of 5.12 Terabit/s, ACE has built-in 40 Gbit/s, providing the broadband infrastructure that will address present and future needs for connectivity and capacity. This new super high speed data network will cost-effectively support innovative broadband services such as e-education and healthcare applications. These applications will also benefit from a dedicated initiative from Baharicom in collaboration with philanthropic organizations, to establish a broadband capacity endowment to provide capacity grants for development programs and charitable institutions.

ACE's costal route will link South Africa to France - via Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Tenerife (Spain) and Portugal - and will have 21 landing points along the route.

"ACE is further proof of the need for faster and more cost-effective capacity and alternative route to provide everyone with broadband access, so crucial to social and economic development," said Yves Ruggeri, Chairman of the consortium's Management Committee. "Alcatel-Lucent combines field-proven experience, reliability and the customer focus we need for such a crucial project that will set a new milestone in the development of the African communication infrastructure."

"ACE is set to advance the African communication infrastructure with new connectivity to expand the adoption of basic and advanced broadband services at affordable rates," said Philippe Dumont, head of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network activity. "This new contract further confirms our commitment to put our newest 40Gbit/s technology at the service of information enablement to ensure that broadband access is economically spread throughout the continent, while improving service reach and stability."

More about the Alcatel-Lucent's solution for ACE

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its advance submarine line terminal (1620 Light Manager) working at up to 40Gbit/s and using phase shift keying (PSK)-based modulation formats with next-generation coherent detection to deal with transmission impairments in a cost-effective and automated manner. As part of the solution, Alcatel-Lucent will also supply its branching units and will implement its 1678 Metro Core Connect in the landing points that will be located along the route in Swakopmund (Namibia), Luanda (Angola), Muanda (Democratic Republic of Congo), Libreville (Gabon), Bata (Equatorial Guinea), Santana (Sao Tome), Kribi (Cameroon), Lagos (Nigeria), Cotonou (Benin), Accra (Ghana), Abidjan (Cote d'Ivoire), Monrovia (Liberia), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Conakry (Guinea), Banjul (The Gambia), Dakar (Senegal), Nouakchott (Mauritania), Tenerife (Spain) and Lisbon (Portugal).

About Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defence, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

SOURCE Alcatel-Lucent