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France Telecom signs agreement to build Africa Coast submarine cable

France Telecom (www.orange-ftgroup.com) has committed to deploy a 17,000 kilometer long undersea fiber optic cable between France and West Africa.  Planned to be operational in the first half of 2010, it will connect 23 countries along its length as it runs between France and South Africa.

This will be the first international submarine cable to land in Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea. For Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, which are already connected to the another cable, the ACE (African Coast to Europe) cable will secure communications traffic while providing the additional capacity necessary for future growth.  ACE will also provide FT subsidiaries in eastern Africa and Réunion with an alternative for routing telecommunications traffic to Europe via western Africa. The northern segment of the cable will also diversify transmission arteries between France and Portugal.

The ACE cable is expected to have an “overall potential capacity” of 5.12 Tbps and be able to migrate to 40 Gbps technology.

Cost for the project is around $700 million dollars.

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