In a press release, France Telecom has announced that the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) submarine cable system, which was initially planned to stretch from France to Gabon, will now be extended to South Africa connecting all countries along the West coast of Africa, from Morocco to South Africa. This new cable will provide broadband interconnection to the global telecommunications network to more than 25 countries in Africa and Western Europe.
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The ACE consortium currently comprises seventeen telcos. Three operators, Mauritano-Tunisienne des Telecommunications, Camtel and Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicacoes recently joined the original fourteen operators (Benin Telecoms SA, Cote d’Ivoire Telecom, France Telecom, Gamtel, Maroc Telecom, Orange-Bissau, Orange Cameroun, Orange Guinee, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, Orange Spain, Portugal Telecom, Sonatel and Togo Telecom), which signed the Memorandum of Understanding approved in Dakar on 27 November 2008.
The 14,000km long ACE submarine cable system is scheduled to be switched on in 2011, offering a minimum capacity of 1.92Tbps capable of supplying the network connectivity required to meet the needs of many countries and secure international traffic. ACE will complement a number of existing submarine cables such as SAT-3/WASC/SAFE, SEA-ME-WE.3 and ATLANTIS 2.