For phase II, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system is being extended to South Africa: a 5,000km extension from island of Sao Tomé & Principe, in the Gulf of Guinea, to South Africa. Today, nearly 12,000km of fibre optic cable is already used to connect 18 countries: France, Portugal, the Canary Islands (Spain), Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé & Príncipe. Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, are connected via a terrestrial extension.
When Phase II is completed, ACE will cover a total distance of 17,000km and will allow up to 25 countries to access high speed internet.
ACE uses the most advanced high-speed broadband fibre optic technology; wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) allows the capacity to be increased as and when it is needed without additional submarine work being required. Overall capacity will be boosted to 12.8 Tbps using 100-Gbps technology, which supports high-capacity networks.
The consortium has invested around US$700 million in the construction of the cable, which includes US$250 million from the Orange Group and its subsidiaries.