Several optical submarine cables are being laid to serve Africa. These new transmission means will help to attenuate the digital divide on this continent and to drive economic and social development. Sofrecom is actively involved in the arrival of the «Africa Coast to Europe» (ACE) submarine cable in Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Over the last decade, Africa has been seriously lagging behind the rest of the world as regards Internet connectivity, but now its telecoms development is really starting to move. The many projects in progress notably include some new fiber-optic submarine cables.
In June 2010, France Telecom-Orange announced the laying of the «Africa Coast to Europe» (ACE) submarine cable by a consortium of the same name. This 17,000 kilometer cable linking France with South Africa will enter service before mid-year 2012. It will serve France, Spain and Portugal and twenty West-African countries, directly for coastal countries or via land lines for landlocked ones such as Niger and Mali.
To connect to the ACE cable, coastal countries must build a landing station. Local Internet access providers can then connect to this station, leasing the infrastructure they need or using their own.
In this context, Sofrecom was asked by Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone to carry out a feasibility study of landing station construction in these countries.
It started by validating the geographic locations proposed for the beach manholes and landing stations. Sofrecom network experts then wrote the technical specifications for the installations and the service level agreements (SLA), in accordance with the specification provided by the ACE consortium. They also made recommendations on the local operation of the stations.
In Gambia, Sofrecom’s work was extended to include assistance to the landing station owner in Banjul during its construction.
ACE submarine cable connection points
ACE will reduce the cost of international bandwidth in West Africa, making broadband more widely accessible. This opening to global telecommunications will reduce the digital divide and accelerate economic and social development.
During its missions in Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Sofrecom contributed its expertise in terrestrial/marine network links. Its broad telecoms infrastructure skills cover all parts of the network from the submarine cable landing point to the inland infrastructures.