Alcatel-Lucent seals deal to deploy WACS cable

WACS consortium and Alcatel-Lucent to deploy new 14,000 km submarine cable network to link Africa and Europe

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By  Roger Field Published  April 12, 2009

Telecom vendor Alcatel-Lucent has signed a multi million dollar contract with a consortium of African telecom companies to deploy a submarine cable that will provide the first direct high capacity bandwidth connection between Southern Africa and Europe.

The project, which is known as the West Africa Cable System (WACS), will link countries in Southern Africa, Western Africa and Europe and is expected to provide faster and cheaper connectivity to support IP-based services such as video applications for e-education and healthcare.

The consortium working on the 14,000 km-long submarine network system comprises Angola Telecom, Broadband Infraco, Cable & Wireless, MTN, Portugal Telecom, Sotelco, Tata Communications, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA, Togo Telecom and Vodacom. Completion of the project is expected in 2011.

Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will provide connectivity between South Africa and Portugal.

With a minimum design capacity of 3.84 Terabits, the cable will connect South Africa to the UK with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, and Portugal.

The cable will also offer the first global submarine fibre connection to Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo and the Republic of Congo.

“WACS will enable these countries to improve communications and Internet services that are crucial for a social and economic development,” said Kobus Stoeder, chairperson of the consortium’s management committee.

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